Book, Music & Lyrics by
Richard Carsey & Stephen Kovacs
Richard Carsey, Corrie Beula Kovacs & Stephen Kovacs
2021 World Premiere
Two actors. One monster. No stage.
Together, Chris and Alex have been planning a lavish musical version of Frankenstein. But when rehearsals are suddenly shut down, Chris and Alex are forced to perform a two-person, online version of the show instead. A madcap romp of a story about two actors whose visions of musical grandeur are hilariously thwarted by reality.
This show was written to be performed either on live on Zoom or in person, so we’re doing both! In fact, you can buy your ticket to the virtual opening now (part of our Raise the Curtain: Take a Leap event)!
The five virtual performances will take place *live* every night–meaning, anything could happen! (This is not a pre-recorded on-demand situation.) The actors, Alex Campea and Doug Clemons, will be ensconced with director Nadja Simmonds at Chase Stoeger and Molly Rhode’s condo in Milwaukee, and every night at showtime, they’ll bring you *that night’s* version of the show. And when we do the show in person–well, of course, that will be live, too.
RICHARD CARSEY (Composer-Playwright–Lyricist)
Richard Carsey enjoys a diverse international career as music director, conductor, pianist, actor
and writer. He is currently Conductor for DISNEY ON CLASSIC, a concert tour featuring eight
American singers and The Orchestra Japan, presenting more than 60 concerts a year in major
cities throughout Japan. In February 2020, he conducted the score to the 1991 animated film
classic BEAUTY AND THE BEAST in concert at the 10,000-seat Yokohama Arena, featuring a
60-piece symphony orchestra accompanying Japanese film stars performing the songs live to
He is a Conductor for the longest-running musical in Broadway history, THE PHANTOM OF
THE OPERA, as well as the 2018 revival of CAROUSEL featuring Joshua Henry, Jessie
Mueller, and Renée Fleming. National tours include Cameron Mackintosh’s new production of
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, and the revival of LA CAGE AUX FOLLES starring George
Hamilton. Also on Broadway, he was Music Supervisor of THE HOUSE OF BLUE LEAVES
starring Ben Stiller and Edie Falco, and Musical Director for Joshua Schmidt’s musical A
MINISTER’S WIFE at Lincoln Center Theater.
Richard enjoyed a long association with the Skylight Opera Theatre in Milwaukee, WI as
Principal Conductor, and for nine seasons was Artistic Director of the company. As conductor,
he led more than 80 productions at the Skylight, ranging from opera and operetta to musicals.
Highlights include the world premiere and television broadcast of Richard Wargo’s opera
BALLYMORE; a PBS broadcast of THE MIKADO; and the world premiere of the opera THE
RIVALS by Kirke Mechem. He has provided musical direction for regional productions
throughout the U.S. including the Marriott Theater (Chicago), Utah Shakespeare Festival,
Florida State Opera, and the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis. Internationally, he has performed
in such exotic locales as Lima, Athens, Barcelona, Islamabad, and Kuwait.
Richard has been guest conductor with the symphony orchestras of Kansas City, Indianapolis,
Hartford, Sacramento, and St. Louis, among others. He is a frequent conductor for Windborne
Music, which presents classic rock-and-roll with orchestra.
As an actor, he has appeared in over 400 performances of the play 2 PIANOS 4 HANDS at
regional theaters across the US and Canada, including Dallas Theater Center, Actor’s Theater
of Louisville, The Globe (Saskatchewan), Laguna Beach Playhouse, and Hartford Stage
(Connecticut Critic’s Circle Award). Other acting highlights include THE BOYS IN THE BAND
(Harold); TWELFTH NIGHT (Malvolio); SOUVENIR (Cosme) and OLD WICKED SONGS
STEPHEN KOVACS (Composer-Playwright–Lyricist)
Stephen Kovacs is thrilled for the world premiere of Not Even Remotely. A former music teacher, Stephen co-owns and operates Show How, LLC with his wife, Corrie. Together they provide performing arts training and services in the Fox Cities. Previous credits include co-author, composer and lyricist of 2019’s NST world premiere We Like It Where?, Play-by-Play Theatre’s production of Baby: The Musical (Nick), Guys on Ice (Marvin) and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Panch). Thanks to Corrie for her support, Molly and Jeff for their guidance, Alex, Doug and Nadja for their enthusiasm, and Richard for sharing your creative gifts.
Northern Sky Theater’s Not Even Remotely Ushers in Live Performances
When I first saw Not Even Remotely back in June, I was seated on my couch in front of my computer. The show, which was performed live via YouTube, was a distinctly remote production.
The play is about a lavish musical production of Frankenstein that’s cut short, presumably (though never stated) by COVID-19, so it must be performed over the internet from the living room of a Milwaukee condo. Many of the jokes hinge on the audience viewing this production online because the director constantly cuts in to describe what the production would look like if it were being performed on an actual stage.
Now, Not Even Remotely is being performed indoors at Northern Sky’s Gould Theater in Fish Creek, and the question at the top of my mind was how the show’s premise would translate to an in-person performance.
The answer? It transitioned incredibly well.
Minor script updates were made at the top of the show to more clearly explain the premise to the audience, but those were not the only updates. Prop-focused sequences that were once confined to the small screen are now blown up by several orders of magnitude, and they are all the more entertaining for it.
My favorite moment involves several “characters” in a pub deciding what to do about Frankenstein’s monster. Doug Clemons plays the director, and the director plays every other character besides Alex Campea’s Victor Frankenstein. In the YouTube production, Clemons does this with finger puppets, but in the live show, he uses large, light-up Christmas decorations to play each character. This show is very good at introducing a simple idea, then exploring it to its fullest comedic potential.
Any questions I had regarding the show’s ability to transition from a small screen to a full stage melted away a short while into the production as the actors used their new, larger play space to full effect, with performances that my laptop screen would no longer be able to contain.
The final iteration of this production will again be digital because a recording of the Gould production will be available for one week after the in-person run. For those keeping track, that will be a recording of a live performance of a remote play about a recording of a remote production.
Warren Gerds/Critic at Large: Review: ‘Not Even Remotely’ stoked with adrenaline in Fish Creek
by: Warren Gerds, WFRV-TV, Channel 5. Posted:
The Creature was the product of Dr. Frankenstein.
“Not Even Remotely” is a product of Dr. Pandemic.
“Not Even Remotely” is an original musical comedy that was created for Northern Sky Theater in the midst of the COVID-19 blur to have two lives. The first life was online as a virtual presentation in June. The second life is as a live, in-person presentation in Northern Sky Theater’s indoor venue, the Gould Theater.
Watching online, the bizarre energy leapt from the screen. I got it: A couple of theatrical whizzes created “Frankenstein: The New Modern and Musical Prometheus” for an extravagant production, only to get stuck doing it via their computer in their apartment. I laughed out loud at times to myself.
Watching the show live, in-person Monday night with real people, I, of course, knew what was happening. At first, the audience gave off a palpable aura: “What is this?” The show is so different for Northern Sky Theater. It’s like Monty Python. A long way into the performance, a chuckle arose. One. More trickled in along the way. The clincher was when one of the guys on stage flipped into one of his 10-12 characters as a tavern operator who sings with bar patrons who are “portrayed” by plastic figures who light up when the guy speaks/sings for them by touching the figure or pressing hidden switches. It’s an impressive display. The audience finally got it. Also, the show is end to end impressive displays of adrenaline-driven imagination. Audiences get that. The show ended with a standing ovation – a turnabout from the start when ???????????’s filled the air.
The show is still what I wrote in my review in June: “Not Even Remotely” is totally out of character and totally off the wall for the professional Northern Sky Theater.
In some songs, the authors subtly inject what’s been heard around us for 16 months with such lines as “Nothing good can come from science” and “Play it safe, just stay home.”
The show is being presented to Aug. 7 with the Gould Theater at limited capacity and social distancing for COVID-19 reasons.
Not Even Remotely Is Self-Aware Virtual Theater
By Andrew Kleidon,
The question on discerning theatergoers’ minds recently has been about theatrical authenticity. During a time with little in-person theater, what does a virtual production look like, and how far on the spectrum from theater to film are theater companies willing to push their works?
Northern Sky Theater’s first show of the 2021 season walks that line in two interesting ways.
First, the production, Not Even Remotely: Live Online, was presented on YouTube, but each performance was done live. Rather than film the show to release as a video on demand, every night of the show’s four-night run was livestreamed from a condo in Milwaukee. Nothing was filmed prior to each performance, and so the actors, Alex Campea and Doug Clemons, performed their parts as they would on stage.
Second, this show was written to be performed either virtually or in person, so Northern Sky will present it in its new Gould Theater next month.
The premise is this: A lavish musical rendition of Frankenstein has been derailed by COVID-19, and now the remaining two company members have decided the show must go online. The play begins with an “accidental” look at the pre-show routine of the two actors before they realize the stream has begun early. From there, a comedic musical begins, with humorous cut-ins from the actors to explain what the set, lighting and choreography would have looked like if the show had gone on normally.
By writing a show with streaming in mind, Richard Carsey and Stephen Kovacs are able to play with the short-lived theatrical medium in interesting ways. It’s a virtual show that knows what it is and uses its limitations to the fullest extent. Actors switch out theatrical props for everyday items that they find around the house; they stage technical difficulties as the production goes awry; and they constantly break the fourth wall to keep the audience imagining what the show should look like. It’s truly a production that looks and feels as though it was thrown together at the last minute – as it should, given the premise.
What remains to be seen is how audiences will react to the show in person later this summer. By placing it in a cramped condo living room and having the actors talk to and interact with the camera, the show uses its format to tell its story. But what does the same show look like when it’s separated from the reality in which it was originally performed?
Audiences will find out when Not Even Remotely: Live in Person premieres July 12. Tickets are available at northernskytheater.com.
Warren Gerds/Critic at Large: Review: ‘Not Even Remotely Virtual’ a crazy-camp show
by: Warren Gerds, WFRV-TV, Channel 5. Posted:
Totally out of character, totally off the wall, totally comedic energy – whatever – “Not Even Remotely Virtual” is a product of COVID-19 for Northern Sky Theater.
The professional troupe based in Door County normally creates original musicals with strong Wisconsin themes.
But this is not a normal time, and the company has loosened the reins for a collection of Wisconsin creators to have at the “Frankenstein” story and let imaginations fly.
Much turns around the pandemic.
A goal is to have us coming out of that creature laughing. It works for me in quirky ways.
The premise is the fictional Little Theater in the Park has a $250,000 grant to produce an elaborate musical, “Frankenstein: The New Modern & Musical Prometheus.” The cast is to be 40, and the set and all to be huge with the top-notch technology. The problem is COVID-19 has come along, and the two guys who dreamed up the show have to beam their baby from an apartment room playing all the characters with makeshift props and set work.
That is to say, “Not Even Remotely Virtual” is purposely awful/comically awful.
The performance level of Alex Campea and Doug Clemons is nuclear – the acting, singing, dancing and story/costuming/props mayhem. Everything fits the definitions of “camp” and “over the top.”
The show is being done live online nightly to June 3. Access is via northernskytheater.com.
The story-in-a-story-in-a-story follows Dr. Frankenstein’s quest to build a perfect man through his mad science and the assistance of Igor, a hunchback. Alex Campea portrays Victor Frankenstein, and Doug Clemons is Igor and everybody else – notably marriagable Elizabeth and the villagers.
Side trip: The villagers are finger puppets, with Doug Clemons able to do something special that I can’t. He can wiggle his ring finger fully by itself without getting any action from the little or middle finger. (Watching a show closeup on a computer has some advantages).
The “Frankenstein” story – the castle, a laboratory, a cemetery, “crowd” scenes, etc. – is stuffed in a room that has a bit of interest, too. The apartment seems to be of the 1910s, if not earlier.
Direction is by Nadja Simmons. My impression of that work: She has fired off a shotgun with Alex Campea and Doug Clemons as the bb’s – KABOOM! – wow, look at that, and it’s top caliber.
All kinds of side stuff is part of the show. First, the characters go about preparations not knowing the camera is on. One is on his cellphone trying to find out whether his father is watching, and he ends the call blurting, “Oh, this is Alex,” which is a way-out bit of humor.
The creative committee led by Richard Carsey, Stephen Kovacs and Corrie Beula Kovacs maneuvers in the not only the desperation of the characters to pull off their show but added touches about their personalities. A kind of reality is mashed in when the two actors argue and one professes, “Vanity? This is artistry.”
And there is knowing self-teasing near the end when the character played by Doug Clemons says, “We did something like a performance.”
Sight gags, verbal gags, grandiose singing, malaprops, costuming fakery, double-takes, duet dancing, breathless pacing – they’re all there, in spades.
One of the songs is “We’ll Take a Leap.”