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Warren Gerds/Critic at Large: Coronavirus: Chilton drive-in will host live ’60s show before movies

Coronavirus

Frank’s Tribute of Let Me Be Frank Productions

Frank Hermans performs as Elvis Presley. (Sue Pilz Photography)

CHILTON, Wis. (WFRV) – For another take on “social distancing,” two live performances at a drive-in movie theater are scheduled next week.

“Like many other companies, Let Me Be Frank Productions is finding new, safe and creative ways to perform for the public,” said Kasey Schumacher, marketing director of the Green Bay-based show troupe.

Frank’s Tribute, a spinoff group, will perform at Chilton Twilight Outdoor Theater, 1255 E. Chestnut St. in Chilton. Info: getreelcinemas.com/chilton-drive-in/.

Performances are 7 p.m. to dusk June 12 and 13, followed by screenings of the movies “Grease” and “Ferris Buehler’s Day Off.”

The live show with a 1960s theme includes troupe namesake Frank Hermans as Elvis Presley, Paul Evansen as Neil Diamond, Amy Riemer as Brenda Lee and Connie Francis, Lisa Borley as Barbra Streisand and Mike Hermans as George Jones, with Pat Hibbard performing a comedy routine as a ’60s guy.

Frank Hermans said, “In early May, Mike Radue of Radue Cinema – owner of De Pere Cinema, Chilton Cinema, Lakeshore cinema and Chilton Twilight Drive-In – called me about the possibility of showing one of our (mainstage) shows at his drive in along with the movie ‘Grease.’ We had started showing our older shows on Facebook for our fans to watch, and he had seen ‘Frank Fontaine’s Bandstand USA’ and thought it might be a good combo. 

“We went and tried it out on the big screen, and stage lighting is just not bright enough for an outdoor movie. So Mike asked if we could perform before a movie. 

“We have our own outdoor staging and will set up an 8 by 8-foot stage socially distant from all cars and people. The show will be a tracked show (versus with a live band).”

Hermans said, “The crew is so anxious to perform; $10 a person gets you in. There are no advance sales, and they can only fit 175 cars socially distanced. Our awesome sound system will be efficient enough to fill the whole area.”

While the Frank’s Tribute show is the first at a drive-in in Northeastern Wisconsin, many others have taken place in the United States and abroad.

Some artists have even made a cottage industry out of it, according to Billboard magazine.

Electronic musician Marc Ribillet scheduled an eight-city drive-in tour starting June 9 with stops in Maryland, North Carolina, Indiana, Mississippi, Colorado and Texas.

Alan Jackson has two concerts in Alabama.

Keith Urban surprised fans May 15 in Tennessee with an unannounced drive-in show, and now he’s planning a tour.

In Meadowbrook, West Virginia, The Davisson Brothers Band set a drive-in concert June 13. Tickets are $80 a car.

The first coronavirus-inspired drive-in concert may have been March 26 when local indie artists in Los Angeles performed in front of 50 cars and 900 socially distanced listeners.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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