If you are up for a hysterical and beautifully sung musical about all things Wisconsin; get on over to the little theater at the corner of Spring and 4th Streets.
“Cheeseheads the Musical,” with music by Paul Libman, book and lyrics by Dave Hudson, will be performed at the Beaver Dam Area Community Theatre opening today at 7:30 p.m.
As an adopted son of Wisconsin and a lover of musical comedy, I could not pass up pitching this story to the BDACT Production Committee and Board of Directors.
For those of you who are fans of the “Don’t Hug Me” series, this show should be right up your alley. With one giant wonderful caveat. The story is authentically Wisconsin and loosely based upon the real life tale of several Sargento Cheese factory workers who won big money playing the lottery.
What I love most about our story is twofold. We are not merely presenting a silly story with silly songs about all things Wisconsin. This is a love story and we’ve assembled an all-star cast to tell it. Love of Cheese. Love of the Packers. Love of a job well done. Love of a patriarch. Plus, the boy gets the girl. What more could anyone living within the cheddar curtain ask for?
Karla Jensen at the Daily Citizen wrote; “The show, directed by Ron Wilkie and produced by Diane Rabehl, maintains the tradition of showcasing well-written comedies with zingers, interesting characters, and high entertainment value. The performance is full of musical interludes that propel the action forward. It has catchy music, a realistic plot, and yes, a chorus of Cheeseheads.”
The ensemble cast consists of a nice blend of BDACT regulars, and newcomers. This group’s voices blend wonderfully in their ensemble musical numbers with strong solo performances from veterans Christina Miller, Meg Scullin and newcomer Joelle Lillge.
Without giving too much away, our story begins in 2007. Unemployment is high and uncertainty prevails in most work places except for our setting the mythical Schnaybel’s Famous Cheese Factory, where Patriarch Nathan Schnaybel cares for his employees as if they are family. Because at Schnaybel’s Famous Cheese “family comes first.”
Until tragedy strikes and the factory is bought out by mega corporation Conglomerated. Suddenly our crew is caught up in the uncertainty that the rest of the working world is experiencing. Bring in the outsider Melanie from headquarters who is to look for inefficiencies and suggest improvements on the line, because that is “the Conglomerated way.”
Our cast of characters consists of; Dan the factory supervisor played by Rick Ramirez who makes work fun and organizes the weekly Powerball lottery buy. Bobby played by Trevor Kastein is the fun loving former football player who goes through girl friends like some people go through dental floss. Natalie played by Christina Miller who is Bobby’s best friend, they grew up next door to each other. Gizmo, our electronics fanatic is played by newcomer Nate Scheuers and may be my finest casting find ever. BDACT audiences are going to love this character and actor immensely! Doc is the cheese master who spends most of his day attempting to come up with the next big cheese taste is played by Chris Connolly. Melanie, played by Meg Scullin is from the Conglomerated Acquisitions and Mergers Department who has been sent in to look for inefficiencies and make process improvements. Rounding out our cast is the character Thursday played by Jeolle Lillge. Is unable to speak for most of the show, but manages to sing 4 solo songs before regaining her ability to talk near the happy ending.
Pit musicians are Paul Kennedy (also music director) on keyboard, Jeff Mroz, bass, and David Saniter, drums.
IF YOU GO . . .
WHAT: Cheeseheads the Musical
WHERE: Beaver Dam Area Community Theatre, 219 N. Spring St.
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. on April 17, 18, 21, 23, 24 and 25; 2 p.m. April 19 and 26
TICKETS: $10, $15, $17 available at Rechek’s Food Pride or at the door.