Warren Gerds/Critic at Large: Review: ‘All Together Now!’ s-u-p-e-r-c-a-l-i… lively in Tisch Mills

Critic At Large

The Forst Inn Arts Collective

Forst Inn “All Together Now!” cast, from left, Tessa Komorowski-Jindra, Phillip Jindra, Chloe Johanek, Erin LaFond, Shannon Paige and Heather Love. (Warren Gerds)

TISCH MILLS, Wis. (WFRV) – To be part of a global thing motivated singers to join “All Together Now!” on the stage of the Forst Inn over the weekend.

They performed on the set – the interior of a middle-class suburban home – of the play “The Smell of the Kill” as a pre-show show.

The group selected 15 songs from choices offered for free by the licensing company Music Theatre International – something 2,500 other groups did in all 50 states and beyond.

A highlight was “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” with school-age Chloe Johanek leading a visual effect – spelling each letter with her arm, hand and body motions. It was f-u-n.

The adult cast members are experienced singers/actors/directors, etc., so a lot of good sounds rose from the stage. It was a casual presentation. For “production numbers,” they talked about the dancing.

The singers were missing one of their regular members, Kevin James Sievert. He’s rehearsing for this week’s opening of Milwaukee’s Skylight Music Theatre production of “Little Shop of Horrors,” playing the leading role of Seymour.

The Forst Inn cast included another notable member: Heather Love, who acts in “The Smell of the Kill.” Out of all the “All Together Now!” shows done in so many places, that double duty was likely unique.

Here, perhaps, is an “Oh!” of why “All Together Now!” came to be: The head of Music Theatre International is Cameron Mackintosh, producer of “The Phantom of the Opera,” “Les Miserables,” “Cats,” “Miss Saigon” and “Mary Poppins,” etc.

I once interviewed Cameron Mackintosh by telephone – me in Green Bay and he in London – and asked, “Where does the fun lie?”

He said, “It’s working with people who you like or respect and who get the same sort of enjoyment of putting on a show as I do because at the end of the day only an idiot would go into theater just to make money. It’s very hard to make money in the theater, and you’ve got to absolutely love it and not want to do anything else in the world. I think people who treat the theater as a business usually come a cropper. That is not to say that the theater shouldn’t be run very business-like, but the business should be there to support the art, not vice versa.”

In Tisch Mills, the “enjoyment of putting on a show” was there.

***

Cast

Chloe Johanek

Phillip Jindra

Tessa Komorowski-Jindra

Erin LaFond

Heather Love

Shannon Paige

***

Musical selections

+ “Be Our Guest” from “Beauty and the Beast” – All

+ “Matchmaker” from “Fiddler on the Roof” – Tessa Komorowski-Jindra, Erin LaFond, Shannon Paige

+ “Meadowlark” from “The Baker’s Wife” – Erin LaFond

+ “Life is So Peculiar” from “Five Guys Named Moe” – Phillip Jindra, Tessa Komorowski-Jindra, Erin LaFond, Heather Love, Shannon Paige

+ “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables” from “Les Miserablés” – Phillip Jindra

+ “The New World” from “Songs for a New World” – Phillip Jindra, Tessa Komorowski-Jindra, Erin LaFond, Shannon Paige

+ “Somewhere That’s Green” from “Little Shop of Horrors” – Shannon Paige

+ “Seize the Day” – Phillip Jindra, Tessa Komorowski-Jindra, Erin LaFond, Heather Love, Shannon Paige

+ “Stop the World” from “Come From Away” – Erin LaFond, Phillip Jindra

+ “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly” from “My Fair Lady” – Phillip Jindra, Tessa Komorowski-Jindra, Erin LaFond, Heather Love, Shannon Paige

+ “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” from “Mary Poppins” – Chloe Johanek, Phillip Jindra, Tessa Komorowski-Jindra, Erin LaFond, Heather Love, Shannon Paige

+ “Good Riddance (The Time of Your Life)” from “American Idiot” – Phillip Jindra, Tessa Komorowski-Jindra, Erin LaFond, Heather Love, Shannon Paige

+ “Seasons of Love” from “Rent” – All

***

THE VENUE: The historic Forst Inn is located at the corner of Kewaunee County roads B and BB. The building dates to 1868, with assorted lives over the years. For a notable period – 1990 into the 2000s – the place was popular for productions of Little Sandwich Theatre, which Manitowoc attorney Ron Kaminski (deceased 2018) nurtured with a caring hand as artistic director/performer/do-all for a wide array of productions. The present venture is of that spirit. The stage is wide and narrow. The space is intimate. Seating is at small tables on two levels in a slight arc in front of the slightly raised stage. To the audience’s rear is the stage director’s space, with light and sound controls. The space is essentially a black box in theater style in the front – with additions: two chandeliers above the audience, a street lamp the seating area and the ambiance of 1920s style elements to the rear in a service area.  A seating/serving area is in the middle of the building, along with a ticketing counter. The bar area out front includes the bar, table seating, more 1920s ambiance and a passage to an art gallery (rotating artists) that is now part of the offerings of The Forst Inn Arts Collective overseen by Michael Sheeks, who also teaches at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay campus in Manitowoc.

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