CHILTON, Wis. (WFRV) – The question of the night was, “What’s it like singing at a drive-in?”
The swift answer: “I get to check it off my bucket list.”
To a recorded soundtrack, Kasey Schumacher had just sung the Karen Carpenter song “Top of the World,” dressed in a sleek dress and stiletto heels… on asphalt… in front of lines of vehicles… with listeners seated on lawn chairs or in the back ends their SUVs.
The only things “regular” about the show Friday night were the performers and the applause.
The coronavirus COVID-19 has led to such hybrids as Let Me Be Frank Productions show troupe based in Green Bay teaming with Chilton Twilight Drive-In Theater to present the Frank’s Tribute act prior to screenings of movies.
The patrons get a twofer – a live show and movies, in this case the new “Unhinged” and the classic “Jaws.”
How’s the show?
Not glamorous. But…
The Let Me Be Frank Productions singers have sung so much in front of so many audiences they simply get up and sing, like nuthin’. Like second nature. And well.
Plus a great desire to perform is in the air.
The setup for this gig is hits from stars of the ’60s and ’70s. Like this:
+ Frank Hermans as Elvis Presley in “Stuck on You,” “All Shook Up,” “Bossa Nova,” “Mystery Train,” “That’s All Right.”
+ Kasey Schumacher as Karen Carpenter in “Close to You,” “Top of the World,” “We’ve Only Just Begun,” “Hurting Each Other,” “Superstar.”
+ Lisa Borley as Barbra Streisand in “Stormy End,” “Evergreen,” “Don’t Rain on My Parade,” “People,” “The Main Event.”
+ Amy Riemer as Dusty Springfield in “Wishing and ‘Hoping,” “The Look of Love,” “I Only Want To Be with You,” “Son of a Preacher Man,” “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me.”
+ Paul Evansen as Neil Diamond in “Coming to America,” “Cracklin’ Rosie,” “Cherry, Cherry,” “Solitary Man,” “Sweet Caroline.”
Friday was a return of Frank’s Tribute to the drive-in. A slightly different lineup performed there in June. The show will be repeated today, Saturday, Aug. 22, at 7 p.m. (to approximately 8:20).
The troupe performs with a sound/light setup in front of the movie projection house.
When at their cars, people in the audience Friday didn’t wear masks. When going to the food stand, individuals wore masks.
The drive-in is interesting in itself. It is at a converted supermarket. Traditional drive-ins had gravel lots. This one has an asphalt lot, with marked parking spots. There are no sound stands with microphone systems to place in windows. Sound is transmitted by radio – 106.1 FM. A corner of the old supermarket building is converted into a food stand (hot food, too) with restrooms inside.
That inventiveness has nothing to do with the coronavirus.
The show-in-a-parking-lot does.
And there is inventiveness in the show, like Paul Evansen’s wordplay with songs of Neil Diamond. Like this: He said, “Thanks to the coronavirus I’ve been a…” he sang “Solitary Man.” And this: In the middle of “Sweet Caroline,” instead of “touching me, touching you,” he sings “not touching me, not touching you.”
What’s it like singing in a drive-in?
Ahead: Another hybrid show is coming up Sept. 4-5 at the De Pere Cinema as Lisa Borley sings 12 songs as Barbra Streisand before the screening of the Barbra Streisand-starring movie “The Way We Were.”