PHOTO: Chase Stoeger and Eva Nimmer are love birds at a barbeque fest in Northern Sky Theater’s production of the new “No Bones About It.” Len Villano photo
Ronny and Julie are in feuding families – Capp (Capulet) and Montague (Montague) – whose dispute is carried out at The 2015 Verona International Ribfest, with Verona being in Wisconsin rather than Italy. Promoting the professional barbeque cook-off is a spice king, Larry Friar; think Friar Laurence from “Romeo and Juliet.”
Unlike in the original, Ronny and Julie don’t die in the end. There’s no swordplay along the way. Heck, there aren’t even eating utensils as folks attack barbequed pork ribs with their fingers. One bone of contention is the style of rib-making – sauce vs. dry rub – in this story, which is that of:
“No Bones About It,” a world premiere musical comedy presentation of Northern Sky Theater, with performances continuing through Aug. 28 in the amphitheater of Peninsula State Park north of Fish Creek.
Creative: Book and lyrics – Dave Hudson; music – Paul Libman; additional musical arrangements – Colin Welford; directors/choreographers – Jeffrey Herbst, Pam Kriger; music director – Tim Lenihan; stage manager – Neen Rock; scenic designer – Lisa Schlenker; assistant scenic artist – Adam Stoner; lighting designer – David Alley; sound designer – Nic Trapani; costume designer – Karen Brown-Larimore; props designer – Kathleen Rock.
Cast: Adam Capp, owner of Cappy’s Happy Pig – Doug Mancheski; Larry Friar, owner of Friar’s Spices – Bill Theisen; Karen Montague, owner of Monty’s Jurassic Pork – Rhonda Rae Busch; Ronny, Karen’s son – Chase Stoeger; Julie, Adam’s daughter – Eva Nimmer; Kelly, a foodie – Kelly Doherty; Ken, a foodie – Alex Campea; Young Larry – Jordan Horne.
Running Time: One hour, 15 minutes, no intermission.
“Prologue” – Company
“Ribfest” – Company
“No Bones About It” – Adam, Karen
“Move On” – Karen, Adam, Ronny, Julie
“We Love Food” – Kelly, Ken, Larry
“Variety is the Spice of Life” – Larry, Adam, Julie, Ronny, Karen
“Better Keep Away” – Ronny, Julie
“Gods of Smoke” – Company
“A Light Through Yonder Window” – Ronny, Julie
“Countdown Part 1” – Adam, Karen, Ronny, Julie
“Better Keep Away” (Reprise) – Adam, Karen
“Countdown Part 2” – Company
“Better Keep Away” (Reprise2) – Company
“No Bones About It” (Reprise) – Company
Creators Dave Hudson and Paul Libman transform what can be the stilt of Shakespeare into a limber tale of today – so much today that hash tags, selfies, text messages, food blogs and other electronic-y gizmomotrometry are part of the story.
The music in songs fits the situations – bluesy, showbizzy, rocky, spiritual, lyrical and even disco – with the title song being catchy enough to take home with you, humming.
For the frisky cast, “No Bones About It” is a frolic.
The story is built around pairs, with Larry Friar (Bill Theisen) the go between: Competing restaurateurs, dry-rub proponent Adam Capp (Doug Mancheski) and sauce-favoring Karen Montague (Rhonda Rae Busch) and their children, Julie (Eva Nimmer) and Ronny (Chase Stoeger), with competing food bloggers as judges (Kelly Doherty and Alex Campea).
Typical of a Northern Sky Theater show, the audience learns a lot about the subject at hand. The show walks through the elements and processes of barbequing pork, from ingredients, to styles, to steps in a competition, to the methods of some judges in a modern world. Much is told through song; this is not a blackboard-and-book primer. Meantime, the pairs operate in stories of their own that overlap into the whole – just like Shakespeare would maneuver characters and stories.
“No Bones About It” includes a grand surprise. Hudson and Libman take a giant leap with dramatic license and end up lighting up the show in more ways than one. The show has been tooling along okay when, suddenly, it takes off with even brighter imagination and humor. (No spoilers here).
Now that Northern Sky Theater has completed its offering of two new shows for this season, it becomes clearer what the name change from American Folklore Theatre means. While shows still have an element of
ALSO RUNNING: “When Butter Churns to Gold” and “Strings Attached.”
THE VENUE: Northern Sky Theater (the former American Folklore Theatre) performs in a scenic, 800-seat amphitheater in
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