4 out of 4 Stars
One moment, Darren Johnson is dressed in blaze orange as part of a duo of goofy hunters who've been kicked out of the house and now extol the virtues of enduring odors and fried bologna.
The next moment, it's off with the orange and on with a stunning solo falsetto to croon "Only You." Such ridiculous-to-sublime switches of troupe leader Johnson are part of Daddy D Productions' yearly, never-the-same trip to the '50s.
The variety-packed show that played to lots of cheers from a sellout house on opening night has many points of fascination and fun. Singer Shelly Emmer is something of a clotheshorse. Notable are slinky gowns that help set the sensual aura of "Fever" and "At Last."
Shawn Connelly returns to the troupe, flashing a radiant personality. Youthful zip drives his showcase Buddy Holly songs "Everyday" and "Oh, Boy." Doug Dachelet's tenor voice fits such hallmark songs as "Pretty Woman" and "Blue Velvet."
Notable in the vibrant band is David K (Dave Pilz) at the keyboard. He's right on with "You Send Me" and the general "I'm-having-fun" tone of the show.
The stage is dressed up. A banner across the top says, "Rock N Roll Diner." There's art with guitars, records and diner-like items that are painted in aquas and pinks. (Think of Zesty's diner in Allouez).
Wonderful touches spring up throughout the show. Johnson and Emmer team for a sweet, sweet duet, "Tonight You Belong to Me." Emmer's rapier lines comically cut up the stalker-like narrative of "Little Darlin'." Johnson's powerful voice feeds on the energy of "Chantilly Lace" and "Heartbreak Hotel."
It's all live on a stage with real people and in-the-moment performances and a lively crowd atmosphere. 'Tis more than good.