Warren Gerds/Critic at Large: Review: Daddy D troupe goes big for ‘Broadway’

Warren Gerds/Critic at Large: Review: Daddy D troupe goes big for ‘Broadway’

Dancers add to singers’ story songs.

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – Daddy D Productions singers dug down deep in many songs in the eighth annual edition of the Green Bay show troupe’s “Broadway” Friday night at the historic Riverside Ballroom. Drama ruled. Many of the numbers were dressed with visual effects from dancers from The Dance Company, up to about 40 dancers at times. The result was quite entertaining (4½ stars out of 5) – a bit sophisticated without losing the Daddy D’s homey feel.

***

Performers: Doug Dachelet, Shelly Emmer, Maddie Forrest, Darren Johnson, Molly LeCaptain, Keri Salscheider, Maria Sausen. With Bob Balsley, guitar; Barb Hinnendael, keyboard; Jeff Hinnendael, drums; Ryan Sette, bass. Plus 40 dancers from The Dance Company of Green Bay.

Songs

Act I

“Greased Lightnin’” – Darren Johnson, Doug Dachelet

“There are Worse Things I Could Do” – Shelly Emmer

“We Go Together” – Ensemble, dancers

“A Way Back to Then” – Molly LeCaptain, dancers

“When You Wish Upon a Star” – Doug Dachelet, dancers

“A Whole New World” – Darren Johnson, Shelly Emmer

“There is Nothing Like a (Packers) Game” from “There is Nothing Like a Dame” – Doug Dachelet, Darren Johnson

“Let It Go” – Shelly Emmer

“Find Your Grail” – Maria Sausen

“True Colors” – Maddie Forrest, dancers

“If I Were King of the Forest” – Darren Johnson

“Loathing” – Maria Sausen, Maddie Forrest

“Defying Gravity” – Molly LeCaptain

“Ease on Down the Road” – Darren Johnson, Ensemble, dancers

Act II

“You’ve Got a Friend in Me” – Dance feature to Randy Newman recorded song

“You’ll Never Walk Alone” – Doug Dachelet

“Seasons of Love” – Ensemble, dancers

“Without You” – Keri Salscheider

“Hold On” – Maddie Forrest

“My Old Liver” from “Old Man River” – Darren Johnson, Doug Dachelet

“How Could I Ever Know” – Maria Sausen

“My Girl” – Doug Dachelet, Darren Johnson, dancers

“I Am Telling You” – Molly LeCaptain

“The Rose” – Shelly Emmer

Miserable Lester the Magnificent comedy bit – Darren Johnson

“I Dreamed a Dream” – Shelly Emmer

“Stars” – Doug Dachelet

“On My Own” – Maddie Forest, Molly LeCaptain, Maria Sausen

“Bring Him Home” (military tribute) – Darren Johnson

“One Day More” – Company, dancers

***

Songs that seemed like the proverbial “tough act to follow” were followed by other strong performances. One sample: Molly LeCaptain fired up the gospel heat of “I Am Telling You,” with intensity smoldering as she left the stage. (Molly LeCaptain in essence was reporting back on her progress, having gone on to the professional theater ranks in the Chicago area). On came Shelly Emmer, embracing the softer tones of “The Rose” and bringing comfort. On came Doug Dachelet and Darren Johnson for their classic, fall-down-funny “My Old River,” using “Old Man River” as their lament about broken-down body parts. Strength followed strength.

Other outstanding segments:

- Darren Johnson as The Cowardly Lion of “The Wizard of Oz” doing up “If I Were King of the Forest” with a treasure trove of visual and vocal nuances, laced with comical finesse.

- Doug Dachelet as Javert, the obsessed pursuer of “Les Miserables,” swearing by the stars that he will get his quarry. Headlong determination pulsed through Dachelet’s voice, which earlier delivered a sweet note to end “When You Wish Upon a Star.” What a huge difference in the significance of the stars.

- Company members not being flustered by technical troubles. When the battery on the headset of Maddie Forrest started to fail early into a song, audio meister Dan Collins rushed to the stage with a hand-held microphone, and Maddie Forrest continued through “Hold On” seemingly unaffected. Along the way, other young singers Maria Sausen and Keri Salscheider made do with sharing a microphone.

Daddy D’s use of young, vibrant singers adds a fresh element to songs, and “Broadway” had more youth power in The Dance Company presence – one highlight being eight little girls in sweet costumes of pastels dancing to “True Colors.” By the way, Daddy D presented a check to the troupe for $2,000 for its fundraiser appearance.

The performance may have been for one night only, but it will have lasting impact.

AHEAD: “Radio Days (’40s, ’50s, ’60s),” Sept. 5,  11-13; “Shake Rattle & Riverside (’50s),” Oct. 23-24, 30-31 and Nov. 1; “A Christmas Carol,” Nov. 19-22; “Daddy D Christmas, Dec. 10-13 and (Stadium View), Dec. 17-20.

THE VENUE: The spacious Riverside Ballroom Crystal Ballroom is the heart of the 1936 Art Moderne building on Green Bay’s east side. Many performances are on a raised stage on which rock ‘n’ roll legends Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper performed a famed concert. For this Daddy D’s “Broadway” show, another stage was placed on the dance floor in front of the main stage. The Daddy D troupe performed on the added stage, and dance segments with The Dance Company took place on the main stage. Seating was at round tables on the ballroom floor, with the full floor filled. The ballroom features high, sweeping, laminated wood beams with streamlined, curved decoration at the base of each beam. Hanging from the ceiling are Czechoslovakian crystal chandeliers. The building is on the National Register of Historic Places. Imagine the Green Bay Packers holding practice inside the ballroom. That happened a few times, according to a Packers Heritage Trail plaque outside.

You may email me at warren.gerds@wearegreenbay.com. Watch for my on-air features on WFRV between 6 and 8 a.m. Sundays.

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