25 Things: ‘The Freedom Train’

Kasey Schumacher

kasey schumacher | social cues | aug. 2018

These behind-the-scenes facts I've been doing for the 2018 Let Me Be Frank Productions season have become a bit of a hit! I wasn't sure if I was going to do one for our Freedom Train show because I took this show off to become a mom! I was a little less involved than I normally am with this show, but I still was able to get an inside scoop. Enjoy a few things you may not have known about “The Freedom Train '1976.'”

25. There were only 20 days between the closing of “Franksmoke” and the opening of “Freedom Train”!

24. Because there was such a short turnaround between shows, we actually started rehearsing for “Freedom Train” while we were still performing “Franksmoke.” Weekdays were spent working on one script at our rehearsal space and weekends were spent at the Meyer Theatre performing the other show!

23. Even though I read the script and saw the character names, it had to be explained to me that the story was partially inspired by the Little Rascals. Oops?

22. In addition to rehearsing “Freedom Train,” we were also rehearsing for other, smaller, sideshows. Some nights would include two or more separate rehearsals, back to back. Summers are busy for us!

21. Most of the of the songs in this show were from 1976 or earlier — we tried not to venture into 1977 and beyond.

20. A majority of the songs had some type of connection or wordplay with trains, travel or train tracks.

19. Sometimes we suggest songs to do and they're put on a back burner until the right show comes along. I suggested “Tracks of My Tears” for Lisa over a year ago because I thought she'd sound amazing doing it (but she'd sound amazing with any song, right?!). It made its way into this show! I loved watching her sing it!

18. Contrary to what some people might think, the title and genre of our shows are usually chosen a year in advance, but the script and song selection are usually done during the previous show! So, when we were doing “Franksmoke,” the song choices and storyline were being created for “Freedom Train.”

17. Despite having the year 1976 in the title, the plot of the show took place in 1975 because that's when the Freedom Train came to Green Bay.

16. Amy got to go back to some musical theater roots with her performance of, “I Don't Know How to Love Him” which is recognized in the musical “Jesus Christ Superstar.” I was so excited to hear her sing it.

15. We were pleased to welcome Talor Sohr to the cast! It's always nice to bring new folks into the LMBF family.

14. We usually take promo photos at the Meyer Theatre the week of our opening. Our extremely talented photographer, Sue Pilz, was on vacation during that week, therefore we took promo photos early and at our rehearsal facility.

13. Our keyboardist, Tony Pilz, always takes this show of the season off to spend time with his family. Jeff Arnold, another very talented musician, has filled in for the past several years. We're fortunate to have Jeff do the summer show.

12. If you loved the music from this show, we'll be sharing these tunes again at Fridays on the Fox (at CityDeck in downtown Green Bay) on Friday, August 10.

11. “Love Train” was choreographed by Lisa.

10. “You Make Me Feel Like Dancing” was choreographed by Amy.

9. The opening number, “Freedom Train” was choreographed by Tom.

8. While we were rehearsing, Frank was sent a packet of copied documents that were on the Freedom Train. It contained descriptions of items and information. We love it when people share their connections with our shows.

7. We actually ordered a pair of 21-sized shoes!

6. Frank had the idea for this show in his head for years and it finally made its way into our 2018 season. Sometimes show ideas pop up and are executed very quickly and sometimes they sit on a shelf until just the right time.

5. Does anyone remember the last time we had a show that used helium and balloons? It was “De Pere Detention Club” in February of 2016.

4. Frank was not actually playing the accordion BUT, he was placing his hands on the correct chords for the song!

3. Did the green benches look familiar? We just recently used those prop pieces in our “Something Stinks in Kaukauna” show this past April.

2. Also, Frank's blue pants he wore as Waldo were also his Scooby Doo (well, Fred) pants in our “Something Stinks in Kaukauna” show.

1. Amy mentioned one of her favorite songs EVER to sing backups to is “That's the Way (I Like It)” — Michael's first song in this show. I can definitely see why! What a fun song to do!

Kasey Schumacher is the marketing director for Let Me Be Frank Productions by day and a performer for the troupe by night. When she isn't updating Facebook or singing a 1970s classic, she enjoys running, cooking, questioning final rose picks on 'The Bachelor” and planning overly extravagant trips to Disney.

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