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Get Ready for 3 Nights of Cold Hard Cash!

Posted on January 20, 2015 at 7:02 PM Comments comments (0)
...at the Menominee Nation Casino!  This Thursday, Friday and Saturday, the newly constructed lounge and gaming floor will feature one of the Green Bay Area's most sought-after party bands, Cold Hard Cash!  The fun starts at 8:00pm.  BE THERE!!

Cold Hard Cash Band Nothin' but a party Sonic M.D., Green Bay, Sound and Lighting Companies, Daniel Collins

Brown County Tavern League features Daddy D Productions

Posted on January 19, 2015 at 6:17 PM Comments comments (0)
Mid winter festival with a night of socializing, raffles, food, drinks, dancing, and Daddy D musical comedy at Duck Creek Pub/VFW Hall in Howard!

Brown County Tavern League features Daddy D Comedy, Country, Sound and lighting by Dan Collins of Sonic M.D. Green Bay Wisconsin

Review: Daddy D Productions Shake, Rattle and Riverside

Posted on October 24, 2014 at 5:29 PM Comments comments (0)
Daddy D Productions: "Shake, Rattle & Riverside"

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – Daddy D Productions’ “Shake, Rattle & Riverside” is a bundle of fun packed into 30 songs of the ’50s era, spiced with wild-eye humor. Troupe leader Darren Johnson’s imagination runneth over.

Program
Act I
“American Bandstand” – band: Barb Hinnendael, keyboard; Bob Balsley, guitar; Ryan Sette, bass; Jeff Hinnendael, drums; Kevin Van Ess, saxophone.
“Sh-Boom Sh-Boom” Darren Johnson, Doug Dachelet, Shelly Emmer, Maria Sausen
“Shake, Rattle and Roll” – Darren Johnson, Doug Dachelet, Shelly Emmer, Maria Sausen
“Lonely Teardrops” – Darren Johnson
“Only the Lonely” – Doug Dachelet
“Born Too Late” – Maria Sausen
Deer Hunters – Darren Johnson, Doug Dachelet
“Que Sera Sera”/ “Get Someone Like Your Ma” – Darren Johnson, Doug Dachelet
“I Got a Woman” – Darren Johnson
“Green Door” – Doug Dachelet
Buddy Hackett – Darren Johnson
“Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat” – Darren Johnson
“The Nearness of You” – Maria Sausen
Elvis Presley songs: “Wear Your Ring Around My Neck” – Darren Johnson; “Teddy Bear” – Doug Dachelet; “Don’t Be Cruel” – Shelly Emmer; “Don’t Be Cruel” – Maria Sausen
“Personality” – Doug Dachelet
Deer Hunters II – Shelly Emmer, Maria Sausen
“Que Sera Sera”/ “Get Someone Like Your Pa” – Shelly Emmer, Maria Sausen
“Blue Moon” – Shelly Emmer and Band

Act II
“Train, Train” – Bob Balsley, Band
“Rock and Roll Music” – Darren Johnson, Doug Dachelet, Shelly Emmer, Maria Sausen
“Diana” – Doug Dachelet
“Five-Foot-Two” – Kevin Van Ess, clarinet a la Pete Fountain
Jethro the Peshtigo Gigolo
“I’m Just a Gigolo” – Darren Johnson
“Silhouettes on the Shade” – Darren Johnson
“Earth Angel” – Doug Dachelet
“Sincerely” – Shelly Emmer, Maria Sausen, Barb Hinnendael
“Runaway” – Doug Dachelet
Swamp People – Darren Johnson, Doug Dachelet
“Shout” (“Gout!”) – Darren Johnson, Doug Dachelet
“Who’s Sorry Now” – Maria Sausen
“Come Softly, Darling” – Darren Johnson, Doug Dachelet, Shelly Emmer, Maria Sausen
Military Salute: “Moments to Remember” – Maria Sausen, Shelly Emmer, Darren Johnson, Doug Dachelet
“Rock ‘n’ Roll is Here to Stay” – All

One of Johnson’s new characters is Jethro the Peshtigo Gigolo. He comes out pitching his love packages. One is the O.J. Simpson Package, which includes a leisurely ride in a white Bronco with a police escort. Whoa. Much more around-the-bend stuff is sprinkled throughout the show, which has performances continuing through Nov. 1 at the Riverside Ballroom.


Ear-catching songs include a stack with the same chord progression, with each eventually sung together: “Silhouettes on the Shade,” “Earth Angel” and “Sincerely.” That’s prime musicality.
Brightness leaps from songs early in the show, including “Shake, Rattle and Roll.”
The live band is top notch. For instance, as Doug Dachelet sings the romping “Personality,” the band kicks out musical personality along with him. It does that in other Dachelet songs, too.
Never-heard-before renditions pop up. There’s a Wisconsin hunters’ version of “Blue Moon” with Shelly Emmer singing prettily to such backup sounds as clacking antlers, duck calls and the racking of a gun. Sounds weird, but it’s wonderful. Amazing.
Also totally original are versions of “Que Sera Sera” (whatever will be will be). Each includes blaze-orange-clad hunters as bumpkins philosophizing over marriage – first Darren Johnson and Doug Dachelet, then Shelly Emmer and Maria Sausen and then everybody together in clever lyrics made up by Johnson.
Kevin Van Ess has the doggonedest bit playing clarinet to a jazzy version of “Five-Foot-Two” in the limber way of Pete Fountain. A comic caper has him playing the instrument in ever-shortening lengths until he is only playing the reed. Again, this is unlike anything you see or hear anywhere else around here.
Look at the song list – lots of good songs, which come with lots of solid singing.
The show has Darren Johnson’s fingerprints all over it taking command of a vast array of comical and musical creativity.

THE VENUE: The spacious Riverside Ballroom Crystal Ballroom is the heart of the 1936 Art Moderne building on Green Bay’s east side. Performances are on a raised stage on which rock ‘n’ roll legends Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper performed a famed concert. Seating is at round tables on the ballroom floor. The ballroom features high, sweeping, laminated wood beams with streamlined, curved decoration at the base of each beam. Hanging from the ceiling are Czechoslovakian crystal chandeliers. The building is on the National Register of Historic Places. Imagine the Green Bay Packers holding practice inside the ballroom. That happened a few times, according to a Packers Heritage Trail plaque outside. Nearby flows the East River, thus the Riverside Ballroom.

Because I review a broadening range of performances, professional and amateur, and because of the tremendous range of production budgets, I have decided to forego putting star ratings on performances. You may email me at [email protected]. Watch for my on-air segments on WFRV between 6 and 8 a.m. Sundays.

Daddy D Productions performs at the Dells

Posted on June 5, 2014 at 4:04 AM Comments comments (0)
Here are a couple of shots of the Daddy D group performing at a coporate event at the Chula Vista Resort in Wisconsin Dells on June 4, 2014. 





Daddy D's Country Classics - Review

Posted on May 14, 2014 at 9:38 PM Comments comments (0)

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – The thing about Daddy D Productions shows is they’re the same but different. Take “Country Classics,” running through May 16 at the Riverside Ballroom in Green Bay; info: www.daddyds.com.

If you’ve been into country music a long time, you’ve heard just about all the songs in the show many times over the years because they’re – ta-da – country classics.

The different part of the show comes from what the individual performers add.


Also, Daddy D (Darren Johnson) has a knack for featuring new, young talent. Songs don’t seem old and dusty when sung by singers barely into their 20s, if that in some cases. And then there are the characters that invade the Daddy D shows. Ah, the characters. There’s always fun play-acting. Some highlights from this show:

- Darren Johnson wheels through an array of larger-than-life oddballs. In one song, he’s a mop-top swamp guy losing an arm and a sheriff. In another, he’s a white-whiskered Kenny Rogers. In another, he’s a songwriter who meets a hangman (no future in that, you know). And then there’s his totally over the top Skip Church, bursting with barnyard animal sounds as he wok wok, squawk squawk tells a buk buk buk joke about a donkey hee haw in a well. Amazing.

- Shelly Emmer dresses up often for songs – a long zebra-stripped hip-hugging dress, a strapless party gown, cowgirl hat and jeans, etc. Looks nice. And then here she comes – gray wig, frumpy housecoat and slippers – to spoof “Stand By Your Man.” Stand by your man? Ha! “Hog Tie Your Man” she sings.

- Doug Dachelet comes out as Grandpa Jones, offering pearls of wisdom about knowing when you’re retired. And he’s a cowpoke on the streets of Laredo. And, among other guys, he’s Elmer Fudd, hunting gun in hand, singing a tongue-in-cheek version of Eddie Rabbit’s “I Love a Rainy Night” that comes out “I Wuv a Wabbit Night.”

- Manditori – the singing duo of Nashville hopefuls Mandi Sagal and Tori Occhino – adds a youth element. Along with covering some golden hits, the two sing their own “Never Love Him Less,” brim with the country fashion of turning phrases (on loving a guy despite his flaws). The two have a good sound, with harmonics. Darren Johnson gives them a bit more stage time from their stand-alone appearances in cheesehead jokes (good ones) and the finale, “How Great Thou Art.” The hymn features the two joining with Shelly Emmer for a glowing a cappella opening. My preference would be for the young singers to not move their arms for emphasis in this song but, like Shelly Emmer, stand still and let all meaning come through the voice. It’s the song, not the singer(s) in this case.

- With its male lineup, Daddy D can do a compelling rendition of “Highwayman” – Jeff Hinnendael, Bob Balsley, Doug Dachelet and Darren Johnson as different, striking characters through history.

- Among songwriters of the show’s country classics, even Stephen Foster gets a turn. No, not “Sewanee” or “Camptown Races,” but “Hard Times Come Again No More,” with Bob Balsley embracing the deep-digging lyrics.

The show is certainly packed with variety. (4 ½ stars out of 5)
The troupe’s traditional salute to the military is near the end. This time, Darren Johnson sings a song of separation, “You Were Always on My Mind.” It’s one of those Darren Johnson performances that people come to see Daddy D shows for – the big voice rising to all-out power. Jerry Pansier’s steel guitar playing adds a soulfulness in the middle. And then Darren Johnson powers some more.
***
Performers: Singers: Darren Johnson, Shelly Emmer, Doug Dachelet, Mandi Sagal, Tori Occhino, Jeff Hinnendael. Band: Bob Balsley, guitar; Jerry Pansier, steel guitar; Ryan Sette, bass; Jeff Hinnendael, drums.

Warren Gerds/Critic at Large: Review: Daddy D re-invents ‘Sixties’ again

Posted on March 20, 2014 at 1:43 PM Comments comments (0)
GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – “Stuck in the Sixties” is the eighth time Daddy D Productions has put on a ’60s theme show, but the Green Bay entertainment group is nowhere near stuck in a rut. New material and new faces take care of that. Performances (4½ stars out of 5) of “Stuck in the Sixties” started Thursday, March 13, at the Riverside Ballroom and continue there through March 21, with an additional date March 29 at Fox Hills Resort in Mishicot.


The people at my table kidded that they wanted to read this review to find out whether they enjoyed the show. Hey, folks, you enjoyed the show quite a lot. The singing is often splashy, the costuming of the women flashy and the comedy sometimes outrageously funny. It’s a lively night out with a bundle of memorable songs, and more.
***
The company: Darren Johnson, Shelly Emmer, Doug Dachelet, Maria Sausen and Maddie Forrest, with Barb Hinnendael, keyboard; Bob Balsley, guitar; Woody Mankowski, saxophone and flute; Ryan Sette, bass; and Dan Collins, sound and lights.

Show lineup:
  • “California Dreamin’,” all, with Bob Balsley guitar intro
  • “In My Room,” Doug Dachelet with chorus
  • “Every Little Bit Hurts,” Maddie Forrest
  • “For Once in My Life,” Woody Mankowski
  • “Son of a Preacher Man,” Shelly Emmer
  • “My Old Man,” Darren Johnson, Doug Dachelet as the Others Brothers, a takeoff on the Smothers Brothers
  • “Cara Mia,” Doug Dachelet
  • “Georgia,” Maria Sausen
  • “I Got Flu, Babe” a takeoff on “I Got You, Babe,” Doug Dachelet and Shelly Emmer as Sonny and Cher
  • “Downtown,” Maria Sausen
  • “We’ve Only Just Begun,” Shelly Emmer
  • Sportscaster Jim Swett, Darren Johnson
  • “I Want You Back,” Shelly Emmer, Maria Sausen, Maddie Forrest
  • “The Times They are a-Changin’,” Jeff Hinnendael
  • “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” Jeff Hinnendael, Darren Johnson
  • “When Somebody Loves You,” Shelly Emmer, Darren Johnson
  • “Age of Aquarius/Let the Sunshine,” Maddie Forrest, Shelly Emmer, Maria Sausen, Darren Johnson
  • “My Girl,” Woody Mankowski
  • The Great Flydini, Doug Dachelet
  • “To Sir with Love,” Maria Sausen
  • “Whiter Shade of Pale,” Doug Dachelet
  • “House of the Rising Sun,” Bob Balsley
  • The Creepy ’60s Guy, Darren Johnson
  • “River Deep Mountain High,” Shelly Emmer
  • “Town Without Pity,” Doug Dachelet
  • “One Tin Soldier,” Maddie Forrest
  • Veterans’ tribute
  • “My Way,” Darren Johnson
***
The show opens with singers nailing songs (getting them right) one after another. It’s a nice sequence of blues and soul songs that sets the tone of quality for the rest of the show.

Darren Johnson and Daddy D Productions have a knack for finding young talent. New in this show is Maddie Forrest, a 17-year-old junior at Bay Port High School, who has a smooth, comfortable stage presence. Maria Sausen, a Green Bay Notre Dame Academy student, returns as a veteran. They add a youthful perspective, with familiar songs sung young – for instance, “Georgia” (Sausen) and “One Tin Soldier” (Forrest).

For this show, Woody Mankowski is aboard to wrapping his voice into blues/soul songs and apply moody shadings to many songs (his and others’) with his saxophone.

The beaming Shelly Emmer, booming Darren Johnson deliver the vocal goods all over the place, as usual. Doug Dachelet has outstanding performances in “Whiter Shade of Pale” and “Town Without Pity,” to name just two of his featured songs.
Dachelet’s comedy routine as the Great Flydini is outrageously funny. Items magically appear from a part of his clothing referred to in his name. Darren Johnson’s routines range from clever to oh my goodness. But they’re fun.

Sound man Dan Collins’ use of soundtracks enhances the show, starting with the show opening John F. Kennedy’s “Ask not what you’re country can do for you…”

There’s lots of good stuff in this production – the women being clothes horses, for instance – but I want to focus on three sequences.

One. A soundtrack for a Speedy Alka Seltzer commercial leads into a hilarious section with Doug Dachelet and Shelly Emmer dressed and bewigged as Sonny and Cher, who are under the weather. The hit song, “I Got You, Babe,” becomes “I Got Flu, Babe,” with all the lyrics fitting in with how bad off they are.

Two. Playing guitar and singing, Jeff Hinnendael’s take on Bob Dylan’s “The Times They are a-Changin’” takes on added meaning with sound bites from the era – Martin Luther King’s “I had a dream,” Walter Cronkite’s “Kennedy is dead” and Neil Armstrong’s “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” The whole of the song is fabulous.

Three. Jeff Hinnendael is featured in the next song, “My Guitar Gently Weeps.” He plays and sings with a certain intensity, while Darren Johnson joins on guitar only at first and Bob Balsley lays soulful lines on a third guitar. Jeff Hinnendael ends at the drums, and Darren Johnson takes over the vocals and powers his voice to overdrive.

REST OF SEASON: “USO Tribute Show,” April 26; “Country Classics,” May 8-10; 15-16; “Broadway,” Aug. 8; “Radio Days (’40s, ’50s, ’60s),” Sept. 4-5,11-12; “Shake Rattle & Riverside (’50s),” Oct. 23-24;30-31 and Nov. 1; “A Christmas Carol,” Nov. 19-22; “Daddy D Christmas, Dec. 10-13 and (Stadium View), Dec. 17-20.

THE VENUE: This production was put on in a space to the north of the spacious Crystal Ballroom in the Riverside Ballroom, the 1936 Art Moderne building on Green Bay’s east side. Daddy D uses this space for its more intimate productions. A raised stage is put up in front of room dividers. Above is a low-slung acoustic-board ceiling, with a few Art Deco-type boxed light fixtures placed below the building’s trademark arched roof. Dinner seating is at tables of eight.

The Riverside as a whole brims with history, from the dance band stars of the ’30s and ’40s to a famed concert with rock ‘n’ roll legends Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper. The building is on the National Register of Historic Places. Years ago, according to the Packers Heritage Trail plaque outside, the Green Bay Packers held some practices inside the ballroom. Isn’t the Packers lore great?

You may email me at [email protected]. Watch for my on-air features on WFRV between 6 and 8 a.m. Sundays.

Copyright 2014 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved.

2014 Off to a Strong Start

Posted on January 9, 2014 at 8:53 AM Comments comments (0)
Warren Gerds/Critic at Large:
Review: Frigo Bridge Jokes a Daddy D Show Highlight

GREEN BAY, Wis., (WFRV) – According to two sketchy guys who “worked” on the Leo Frigo Bridge restoration project, the question now is: How is the Green Bay community going to pay for the multi-million-dollar fix-up?

Today, Sunday, Jan. 5, is the day the once-wavy I-43 span across the Fox River is to reopen, so the question is timely.

The guys, dressed in DayGlo green safety jackets, offered up their thoughts Saturday night as part of a Daddy D Productions show at the Riverside Ballroom.
The second choice for the “workers” is to rename the bridge the Vince Lombardi Trophy and sell it to the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings wouldn’t know the bridge isn’t the trophy because, of course, the Vikings don’t know what the trophy looks like because they never won a Super Bowl.

The first choice of the “workers” is to paint a huge “G” on the bridge and rename it the Green Bay Packers Bridge and sell worthless stock for it. Ahem.
In the show, the “workers” then broke into song. They took the melody of “Let It Snow” and maneuvered the words to be about the story of the Leo Frigo Bridge in seriously comical ways. The song puts the Packers in the Super Bowl, by the way.

The skit was reprised and updated from a previous Daddy D show, and the zingy humor hit the mark. Here’s a beauty of a line from a “worker” about the $750,000 bonus to be paid to the company for getting the fix-up done early: “I didn’t get no bonus, but I sure hope that duct tape holds.”

The show was billed as “Holiday Party,” and it went like this:

Program
Personnel: Vocals/comedy: Darren Johnson, Doug Dachelet, Shelly Emmer. Band: Barb Hinnendael, keyboard; Bob Balsley, guitar; Kevin Van Ess, saxophone and clarinet; Jeff Hinnendael, drums. Sound and lights: Dan Collins

“Gonna Have Some Fun Tonight,” Bob Balsley

“Walk Like a Man” and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You,” Doug Dachelet

Polka sequence, including the made-up “AC/DC Polka,” Darren Johnson and the band

“At Last,” Shelly Emmer (silver lamé top)

Carnac the Magnificent, skit with Doug Dachelet and Darren Johnson

“Yakety Sax,” Kevin Van Ess (in mask and flashy vest costume)

“I’ll Be Seeing You,” Shelly Emmer

Letters to Dougie, skit with Doug Dachelet and Darren Johnson, who ad libbed wild-eyed introductions

“(These are a Few of) My Favorite Things,” Shelly Emmer

Sergeant O’Cheese, skit with Darren Johnson in helmet and military camo

“I Can’t Help Falling in Love with You,” Darren Johnson, in the manner of Elvis
Presley with a big voice

“We’ve Got to Get Out of This Place,” Doug Dachelet

“On a Wing and a Prayer”/ “When the Saints Go Marching In,” Darren Johnson, Doug Dachelet and, on New Orleans/Pete Fountain style clarinet, Kevin Van Ess

“Ho Ho Ho and a Bottle of Rum,” Bob Balsley, vocals and guitar

Random Acts of Kindness promo by Darren Johnson, for a singular charity project in 2014

“Stop Children What’s That Sound,” Darren Johnson, with guitar

“(Rock Me Mama Like a) Wagon Wheel,” Jeff Hinnendael, vocals and guitar, with Darren Johnson and Bob Balsley, support vocals and guitars

“I Will Survive,” Shelly Emmer (low cut, black evening gown)

Leo Frigo Bridge/“Let It Snow” takeoff

“Hotel California” adapted to the Christmas Story, Bob Balsley (his adaptation), vocals and guitar, with his trademark layering of guitar sounds

“All I Want for Christmas Is You,” Shelly Emmer (red evening gown)

Ice fisherman skit and rap, Darren Johnson and Doug Dachelet (revolving on floor in dance)

“Santa Baby,” Shelly Emmer (black sparkly gown), moving through audience

Finale, including the traditional military salute, leading to “Halleluiah Chorus,” Darren Johnson, Doug Dachelet, Shelly Emmer

The show was like a loose cabaret in which performers get up, do a favorite song/piece and then get off. The singers seemed to enjoy singing songs that showcase their individual voices – Shelly Emmer’s brightness, Doug Dachelet’s high register versatility, Darren Johnson’s booming gutsiness. “Wagon Wheel” featuring Jeff Hinnendael in pure country style was special. 
The production (4½ stars out of 5) was lots of good stuff and a good mood.

Sound systems these days are wonderful. A show can be put on in an unlikely show spot – like a secondary space at the Riverside as for this production – and the singing and playing sound is a quality blend. Soundman Dan Collins does an excellent job finessing the Daddy D shows.

A REMEMBRANCE: Daddy D company member Andy Bain died Dec. 25 at age 55 due to cancer. Among his many entertainment activities, Andy Bain was featured in Daddy D country style and oldies shows. He joined in comedy bits, such as playing one of the Blues Brothers. He liked the crooning style of singing and once was showcased in “What a Wonderful World,” which he sang in the gravelly Louis Armstrong style and also as a clear-voiced balladeer. In Saturday’s show, Darren Johnson said Daddy D Productions is dedicating its entire year to Andy Bain. Johnson closed with, “God bless you, Andy.”

REST OF YEAR: “Cabin Fever,” Jan. 25, Heritage Farm, Kewaunee; “Random Acts of Kindness Concert,” Feb. 27, Riverside; “Stuck in the Sixties,” March 13-15, 20-21, Riverside, March 29, Fox Hills Resort, Mishicot; “Country Classics,” May 8-9, 15-16, Riverside; “Radio Days,” Sept. 4-5, 11-12, Riverside; “Shake, Rattle & Riverside,” 23-24, 30-Nov. 1, Riverside; “Daddy D Christmas,” Dec. 10-13, Riverside, Dec. 17-20, Stadium View, Ashwaubenon.

THE VENUE: This production was put on in a space to the north of the spacious Crystal Ballroom in the Riverside Ballroom, the 1936 Art Moderne building on Green Bay’s east side. Daddy D uses this space for its more intimate productions. A raised stage is put up in front of room dividers. Above is a low-slung acoustic-board ceiling, with a few Art Deco-type boxed light fixtures placed below the building’s trademark arched roof. Dinner seating is at tables of eight. The Riverside as a whole brims with history, from the dance band stars of the ’30s and ’40s to a famed concert with rock ‘n’ roll legends Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper. The building is on the National Register of Historic Places. Years ago, according to the Packers Heritage Trail plaque outside, the Green Bay Packers held some practices inside the ballroom. Isn’t the Packers lore great?

You may email me at [email protected]. Watch for my on-air features on WFRV at 6:45 p.m. Thursdays and every other Sunday between 6 and 8 a.m. (usually around 7:45 a.m.)

Warren Gerds: Daddy D Hits Right Notes in Veterans Salute

Posted on August 16, 2013 at 11:41 AM Comments comments (0)
Doug Dachelet, Barb Hinnendael, Shelly Emmer, Darren Johnson, Bob Balsley, Daddy D Productions, Daniel T Collins Green Bay WIPHOTO: Among the cast of Daddy D Productions are, from left, Doug Dachelet, Barb Hinnendael, Shelly Emmer, Darren Johnson and Bob Balsley.

GREEN BAY, WISC. (WFRV) – There’s something captivating about an unadorned, straight up version of “The Star-Spangled Banner” sung solo by a strong, sure voice. It’s refreshing to hear our national anthem that way, as a gesture of appreciation and a center of attention. Daddy D Productions’ “Salute to Our Veterans” opens with “The Star-Spangled Banner” sung right on by Doug Dachelet, and the rest of the show that follows (four and one-half stars out of five) is loaded with appeal. Info: www.daddyds.com.

On opening night Thursday, Aug. 15, troupe leader Darren Johnson told the audience at Green Bay’s Riverside Ballroom that of all the shows his troupe puts on, this is the one he is most proud of. Johnson has good reason.
Songs are meaningful. Each in some way is about military service to our country, from tender and melancholy to comic and teasing.

The Daddy D performers embrace the material, and “Salute to Our Veterans” becomes something that reaches past the title and is simply enjoyable entertainment. It’s hard to explain – you gotta be there.

If the word “old” comes to mind when thinking of “Salute to Our Veterans” music, think again. Johnson has two talented high school girls who blend into the show who bring a young perspective to songs.
Take “What’ll I Do.” It’s from 1923. The song is of separation, the kind millions of Americans feel in times of war when loved ones are gone. When Maria Sausen sings the song and in expression and movement becomes a young woman, alone, the words dig deep:

"What’ll I do
When you are far away
And I am blue
What’ll I do?"

And that’s just one song in the experience of this show. Here are glimpses of other moments:

- Johnson unleashes his powerful voice in “Bring Him Home” from “Les Miserables.” There’s added significance because of so much has been poured into the night.

- Johnson tells the stories behind uniforms adorning the stage. He kids that from his Army days, only his boots fit. He notes that one uniform is that of his sister, Joy, a first lieutenant, serving today in Georgia. Another uniform is that of his late father, James. He displays a Green Bay Press-Gazette that his father and mother, Marilyn, used to help store the uniform when they put it away on Feb. 29, 1960. This is Johnson’s introduction for Keri Salscheider, like Sausen, a senior at Notre Dame Academy, to play guitar and sing, dressed in ’60s Flower Power clothing, the Bob Dylan song, “Hard Rain.” Again, youthfulness freshens the song – plus you can understand the words that Dylan chewed.

- Shelly Emmer radiates in “Midnight Train to Georgia.”

- Randi Fay stirs up a rousing “God Bless America.”

- Kevin Van Ess, on clarinet, uses “Sing, Sing, Sing” as a launching pad for dazzling improvisation.

- Bob Balsley adds layer upon layer of guitar sounds to the super-lively “Nagasaki.”

- Whatever the tune, Barb Hinnendael, keyboards; Kurt Risch, drums; Ryan Sette, bass; Dan Collins, sound and lights; Van Ess, and Balsley are there to make the result a team effort.

- Johnson and Dachelet add comedy routines as crazy characters who drop laughable lines, as Dachelet as a deer hunter: “I sleep better at deer camp than I do in church.”

Many costumes are part of this show. The women wear a stylized Navy uniform for some songs and a variety of gowns in others.
The soundscape of this show includes “We Gotta Get Out of This Place,” “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,” “Over There,” “Old Black Magic” and “Proud to Be an American” – just to give you an idea of the variety.

Four more performances are scheduled through Aug. 24.

THE VENUE:
The spacious Riverside Ballroom Crystal Ballroom is the heart of the 1936 Art Moderne building on Green Bay’s east side. Performances are on a raised stage on which rock ‘n’ roll legends Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper performed a famed concert. Seating is at round tables on the ballroom floor. The ballroom features high, sweeping, laminated wood beams with streamlined, curved decoration at the base of each beam. Hanging from the ceiling are Czechoslovakian crystal chandeliers. The building is on the National Register of Historic Places. Imagine the Green Bay Packers holding practice inside the ballroom. That happened a few times, according to a Packers Heritage Trail plaque outside.

Upcoming Shows you will not want to miss:
-“Forever ‘50s,” Sept. 26-Oct. 4;
-“A Christmas Carol” (with Stu Smith), Nov. 21-23;
-“2013 Christmas Show,” Dec. 12-21 (two locations).

Please email me at [email protected].

Daddy D Productions Salute to Veterans

Posted on August 12, 2013 at 4:41 PM Comments comments (0)
Where:  Riverside Ballroom in Green Bay, WI
When: August 15, 16, 22, 23 and 24
How to get Tickets: Call Daddy D @ 920-544-4244


Randi Fay, Bob Balsley and Mick Maloney at Ledgestone Vineyard

Posted on July 17, 2013 at 1:20 PM Comments comments (0)
June 20, 2013
Bob Balsley, Randi Fay, Mick Maloney, Daniel T Collins Green Bay WI, Ledgestone Vineyard

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