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Broadway Fast 5: January






It’s a new year and a supposedly “slow” month for Broadway sales but there sure is a lot of news floating around and we’ve rounded up some of our favorite stories from this month in our Fast 5!

1_1709241. New Lola with Wisconsin roots will strut his stuff in Kinky Boots

If you’re from Wisconsin, you’re used to rooting for the home team so get ready to cheer as  Wisconsin-raised Kyle Taylor Parker takes over as Lola in Kinky Boots on Broadway. Original Lola Billy Porter will take 3 months away from the role to complete other creative projects before returning to the boots in New York. At that time, Parker is scheduled to return to his previous position as the touring Lola, astounding audiences around the United States. His Broadway debut was as an Angel and Lola understudy in the Cindy Lauper/Harvey Fierstein/Jerry Mitchell fan favorite.



2. Mrs. Doubtfire project confirmed1_172274

And in other Harvey Fierstein news, confirmed that Mr. Fierstein will write the book of a new Mrs. Doubtfire musical (based on the classic Robin Williams film) and Alan Menken, composer of Aladdin, has signed on to the project as well. There is no word on the timing of the project moving forward.



1_1723053. Comings and goings

While Sting’s The Last Ship and Idina Menzel-led If/Then announced closing dates Gigi, featuring Vanessa Hudgens began performances at the Kennedy Center with a planned opening on The Great White Way in March. This month Andrew Lloyd Weber also alluded to the fact that Cats may return to Manhattan, possibly featuring former Pussy Cat Doll Nicole Scherzinger who played the role of Grizabella in the recent revival of the musical in the West End. Sounds like exciting developments are on their way to the city that never sleeps!


4. The Elephant Man will move to the West End1_172116

After the limited Broadway engagement of The Elephant Man is over, the show will live on, making its transfer to the West End. It has earned rave reviews for performance and also warm reception over the background story of Bradley Cooper’s emotional attachment to the role.



5. The next live TV musical

1_172217While NBC reportedly ponders between The Music Man and The Wiz as it’s next TV live musical, it looks like the Fox network is getting in on the game by announcing casting for its 2016 live TV production of Grease featuring Julianne Hough and Vanessa Hudgens. Either way, the biggest news this month seemed to be the announcement that Disney is working on a live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast, announcing Emma Watson as Belle.



Did you miss last month’s Broadway Fast 5? Check out December, and November.

Family First Nights make a difference for local families

DSC_0057The Broadway League’s Family First Nights® is a nationwide program that is specifically designed to encourage underprivileged families to attend theater on a regular basis. For those who participate in the program through the Fox Cities P.A.C., it is also a dynamic, interactive experience that changes the way they look at each show.

This season marks the Center’s seventh year participating in the Family First Nights program in partnership with the Boys and Girls Club of the Fox Valley. The goal of the program is not only to introduce families to the magic of Broadway but also create lasting memories with Center created resource guides and special activities to give them deeper perspective on what they will be seeing.

DSC_0047 Recently, a group from the Boys and Girls Club in Appleton continued their Family First Nights experience with a visit to Rock Garden Studios in preparation for the musical Once. The group explored and learned about the recording industry in Appleton including the history of the studio whose recording console has recorded greats such as the Beach Boys, Bob Dylan, Frankie Valli and Olivia Newton-John.


This group of Family First Night participants will close out their experience by attending Jersey Boys.

The Broadway League’s Family First Nights is supported by John and Sally Mielke.


Fox Valley welcomes it gets better residency

IGB_600x250_email_it gets better.

The youtube movement that became a traveling production will arrive at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center Feb. 16-21. Along with INCLUDE, the Center will host Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles (GMCLA) for a weeklong residency, taking their message of tackling bullying and difficult issues into the community in 10 different workshops and two public performances.

Throughout the week, GMCLA will visit Appleton East, Appleton North, Appleton West, Kaukauna, Menasha and Neenah high schools to meet with students and faculty in specially designed presentations that address common high school issues of inclusion and bullying.

On Tuesday evening, Feb. 17 the group will host an it gets better piano bar, a fun, casual and interactive fundraising event where you can enjoy popular songs while you and your friends have the opportunity to sing a song to show your support.

All money raised from the evening will help subsidize the costs for the it gets better residency as well as provide funding for future INCLUDE and Fox Cities P.A.C. initiatives.

Three public workshops will also be free of charge to those in the Fox Valley community on a first-come, first-served basis:

On Monday, Feb. 16 from 4-5:30 p.m. students ages 14-18 are invited to meet with the Goodwill LGBT Partnership group at the Boys and Girls Club of the Fox Valley Region for an activity based workshop in which they will work to create video pieces related to bullying, self image, LGBT issues and more. Students must pre-register to participate by e-mailing Deanna Tappy at

Thursday, Feb. 19 from 6-9 p.m. a World Cafe Event in the UW-Fox Valley Union will feature intimate discussion on LGBT topics affecting our community.

Friday, Feb. 20, the public is invited to UW-Fox Valley Perry Hall to participate in the it gets better journey, an exploration of how the project came to be and why it continues to make a difference from 12-1p.m.

ItGetsBetterCast: photo by Ted Sun ( week will culminate with a public performance at the Center with it gets better featuring members of GMCLA on Saturday, Feb. 21 at 7:30 p.m.  The it gets better performance takes this profound message one step further in a moving musical theater event by a 7-member cast of GMCLA. The work explores what “better” means for LGBT youth through a funny and exciting story with moments of both pain and pathos, featuring poignant narratives of growing up gay. The performance includes music, multimedia and a community choir. After the show, patrons will be invited to participate in a Q&A with the cast.

The residency has been made possible through the generous support of the following community sponsors: Ah-Ha Fund, Bemis Company, Community Health Actions Team (C.H.A.T.), Community First Credit Union, The Frohna Family, Galloway Company, Bob & Natalie Gehringer Family Fund, Godfrey & Kahn, Goodwill Industries NCW, Kimberly-Clark Corporation, The Lindgren-Galloway Family, United Way Fox Cities and U.S. Venture. In-kind services provided by A2Z Design and IMAGE Studios. Media Partner: The Post-Crescent.

The it gets better residency is also supported in part by an Arts and Culture grant from unrestricted funds within the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region.

Raise Your Voice


Here at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center we are asking local youth to raise their voices in a unique program designed to tie-in with the musical themes in Once.

Twenty-five students from Youth Go, a drop-in center located in Neenah, will have the opportunity to sign-up for the Raise Your Voice project, part of the Frank C. Shattuck Performing Arts Touch the Hearts of Students (PATHS) program, where they will learn to recognize the act of sacrificing for others and begin to weave their own story.

Rob Anthony

Rob Anthony

Through 7 interactive, hands-on workshops, students will learn how to express themselves through music and lyrics with community partners and local singer-songwriters Nicole Rae and Rob Anthony. Students will participate in hour long workshops to discuss the importance of music in their lives.

Nicole Rae

Nicole Rae

They will also meet with Once cast members after seeing a performance of the show at the Center. The students will continue their journey through a variety of workshops where Nicole Rae and Rob Anthony will work with the students on songwriting and music styles that reflect moments in students lives where someone gave selflessly to them and encouraged them to follow their dreams.

Students will also be taken to Rock Garden Studio in Appleton where owner and operator Marc Golde will lead a tour of the studio and answer questions about the recording industry and music scene in the Fox Cities.

The students will continue their exploration of music by attending Danu in March and the experience will culminate with the students creating original lyrics to a piece and seeing it performed in the community.

This unique program is just one of many throughout the year that allow the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center to serve as a gathering place for the community and to engage in education opportunities. By reaching out to students who may have limited access to experience the arts outside of this program, we are excited to bring the arts directly to them and learn together.

The “Raise Your Voice” project is supported in part by a National Education grant from the Broadway League, a grant from the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region and an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.






Want to see how the whole project ended up? Check out this awesome recap video!

BeeGees: The Story of Stayin’ Alive

As Stayin’ Alive-A BeeGees Tribute visits the Center this weekend we couldn’t help but ask ourselves the important questions like: Which came first, the song or the movie?

So we decided to share what we’ve dug up on the history of the infamous song that you are probably now singing in your head (don’t worry- we are too!)

Stayin' Alive- A BeeGees Tribute will be at the Fox Cities P.A.C. Jan. 17, 2015.

Stayin’ Alive- A BeeGees Tribute will be at the Fox Cities P.A.C. Jan. 17, 2015.

The BeeGees were a popular band in the 60s and 70s playing mostly ballads and R&B funk music that was popular at the time. Their manager, Robert Stigwood, asked them to bring their music and contribute to the soundtrack for his upcoming film project, a movie based on the night scene of New York.

The BeeGees shared their track “Stayin’ Alive” with producers, but they wanted something with a steady beat and a popular “Saturday Night” title. When they looked into steadying the beat, the drummer was absent for personal reasons so the band instead cut a two-bar beat and repeated it on loop for the entire song, later overlapping things like symbols and horns. The group later used the name Bernard Lupe as the drummer on the track as a joke (Bernard being the first name of their actual drummer, Lupe being a reference to the looped track) and Mr. Lupe, fictional, became in high demand until people discovered he did not actually exist.

Producers wanted to name the film “Saturday Night” but the BeeGees refused to change the name of their song “Night Fever” so producers ultimately combined the two to create “Saturday Night Fever.” “Staying Alive,” the movie sequel, was named after Stayin’ Alive the song became the memorable hit.

While the brothers admit that the song brought them much fame, several sources state the band felt it pigeonholed them as a disco-group, which they did not believe themselves to be.

The song has been used in several films, televisions shows and has been revisited by several artists in its lifetime. It has been named to several “best of” lists in the genres of Rock and Roll, Dance, Pop and even “all-time” best. The song has also been used in medical training as the 103 beats per minute meets recommended guidelines for CPR training.

Do you remember the first time you heard Stayin’ Alive?

It’s 2015…Now Hit the Gym! Whip Yourself Into Shape with’s Heart-Pumping Workout Mix

Be honest, things got a little rough last night, didn’t they? While watching Idina Menzel kill it on New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, you ate a few too many canapés and you drank more whiskey than one person should down in a month. It’s OK, it happens to the best of us. But don’t worry— is here to make you buff and beautiful! It’s time to hit the gym with our 2015 Workout Playlist, now streaming on Spotify. Just load the songs on your phone (or stream them on the Spotify iPhone app), take ‘em to the gym and get that heart pumping. You’ll look like this, or this, or this in no time.

This blog was originally posted by’s Lindsay Champion. You can read the original post here.

Complete your New Year’s Resolutions at Once

It’s officially the start of a new year and like millions of others we here at the Center have been discussing New Year’s Resolutions.

Many of you may have a variety of resolutions ranging from travel to bucket list items or book lists. We thought that we’d help you out by providing a few resolutions you can complete when you come to see the musical Once Jan. 27-Feb. 1.


ONCE Tour Company © Joan Marcus

1. Be a part of a Broadway show

The musical invites you to become a part of its world by creating the world of an Irish pub within the theater. It’s a Once-in-a-lifetime experience.

2. Hear new instruments

There are 30 different instruments used throughout the musical Once. From mandolin to melodica and concertina, see the instruments played by characters on stage and hear how their sounds work together.

ONCE Tour Company © Joan Marcus

ONCE Tour Company © Joan Marcus

3. Explore a new culture

Live simultaneously in the worlds of a Dublin basker, patrons of an Irish pub, a Czech woman and a girlfriend in New York, as you follow the stories of the major characters in Once.

4. Find love

It may not be your traditional love story, but its a love story never-the-less and the wonderfully woven lyrics and touching melodies mixed with the fun atmosphere of the pub and impressive talent of the live musician/actors may just have you falling in love with the musical.

5. Listen to great music

The music from Once is Academy Award®-winning, Tony-Award® winning (including Best Musical) and Grammy-Award® winning. Written by Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová, it doesn’t get much more impressive than that when your resolution was to find new great music.


What are your resolutions for 2015? Can we help you complete them?