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Warren Gerds/Critic at Large: Coronavirus: Frank’s + Sputnik crash in Manitowoc = laughter


Let Me Be Frank Productions

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – COVID-19 is nothing to laugh about, as Let Me Be Frank Productions learned going into this weekend.

Three performances of “Sputnik Manitowoc’ by the Green Bay-based show troupe were canceled(story) Thursday through Saturday, Sept. 24-26, at the Meyer Theatre in downtown Green Bay.

A family member of one of the cast tested positive, and the performances were canceled, the troupe says on its Facebook site, “to ensure the safety of our cast and patrons.”

The problem may be temporary because the troupe continues to list coming performances.

Seen earlier, “Sputnik Manitowoc” can bring the medicine of laughter.

For real in 1962, space debris from the Soviet Union crashed on the street near the Rahr-West Art Museum in Manitowoc.

The hunk-a hunk-a burnin’ junk made international news.

True to form, Let Me Be Frank Productions made up some fractured history about what happened with Sputnik 4.

The troupe imagines that two agents have been sent over to claim the precious 20-pound fragment for Mother Russia.

The “evil geniuses” are none other than Boris and Natasha, inspired by TV’s old “Rocky and Bullwinkle” series.

Singing showcases are a big and flashy part of Frank’s productions.

This time, energetic hits from the early ’60s light up the stage along with a song from the rock ‘n’ roll archives, “Sputnik Dance.”

The thing about Frank’s shows is the performers act out their characters as songs are woven through a silly story.

In this case, Pat Hibbard and Amy Riemer pour on the spoofed Russian accents and delicious satire as Boris and Natasha.

In the midst of the coronavirus COVID19 pandemic, “Sputnik Manitowoc”(my review) is one of the few full-blown original musicals going. Performances remain until Oct. 10 at the Meyer Theatre in downtown Green Bay.

Manitowoc itself gets a chance to see “Sputnik Manitowoc” Oct. 15 and 17 in Capitol Civic Centre in downtown Manitowoc.

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