Back in the swing

The Brat Pack brings the cool back

Chadd Micheals, Lindsey Kraner and Todd Frymier, photography by Ellie Bogue

Todd Frymier and Chadd Micheals have known each other most of their lives, having grown up in Kendallville and attended high school together. Both have been active in local theater. Micheals took almost a decade off from theater, but he decided it was time to start performing again after getting married.

“I decided I wanted to put a band together, a five-piece group to play here in Fort Wayne,” Micheals said. “I put a couple songs together, and I knew that I wanted to work with Todd. I’d looked up to him when I was young and wanted to do something with him. We started putting a show together with songs from Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Harry Connick Jr. I knew Todd had been doing a lot of theater and had done some productions in Chicago, so it was surreal to be singing with him in this little group.”

Modeling themselves on the famed Rat Pack, which featured Sinatra, Martin and Sammy Davis Jr., the pair played around with names for the group, finally settling on The Brat Pack.

“It was an odd deal because we started out as the Singing Messengers,” said Frymier. “But since we came out of Kendallville as, not exactly troublemakers, but Kendallville brats – and since we were performing in the style of Frank, Dean and Sammy – we decided to call ourselves The Brat Pack.”

Just as The Rat Pack added Shirley MacLaine to the mix, so The Brat Pack added a woman to the group, fellow Kendallville native Lindsey Kraner. City Councilman Tom Didier also joins when he can as a “special guest.” After forming in 2008, the group played Saturdays for a year at Wrigley Field Bar & Grill, and now, while they still occasionally play in bars around town, they have become a popular feature at weddings, corporate events and fundraisers, including the Big Brothers/Big Sisters Gala in September.

Calling their show “Singin’, Swingin’, Drinkin’ Under the Influence,” The Brat Pack hopes to recapture the fun the original Rat Pack showed.

“What I get from the Rat Pack is that those guys were just up there having a good time,” Frymier said. “Everyone wanted to be part of that fun. Those guys weren’t really worried about the audience. They were just having fun with friends. The audience got to come along with them, like being in someone’s living room and having a good time. That’s what we try to do with our show. We’re always talking with the audience and trying to take that feeling from The Rat Pack. It’s just laid back, trying to have fun for a couple of hours. That’s what makes it so timeless.”

First appeared in the June 2015 issue of Fort Wayne Magazine.


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