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Broadway Fast 5: February


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New shows, new casts and new things to look forward to all this month in your Fast Five!

2364-11. Spring brings new shows

Spring is coming and so is a whole new group of fabulous Broadway shows. The buzz around a new Broadway line-up has been mounting this month as Broadway fans everywhere take advantage of the cold weather to read up on each one and schedule visits to see their favorites. On The Twentieth Century, a revival featuring Peter Gallagher and Kristin Chenoweth began previews this month and will officially open in March. Other top shows that start previews in March include Finding Neverland starring Matthew Morrison and Kelsey Grammer, The Visit starring Chita Rivera, An American in Paris based on the Academy Award winning film, It Shoulda Been You featuring Tyne Daly and David Burtka, and finally, Something Rotten starring Christian Borle, Brian d’Arcy James, John Cariani and more. It will certainly be a busy season!

 

 

Emma Watson

Emma Watson

2. Live-action Beauty and the Beast announced

Emma Watson, of Harry Potter fame, has announced that she will play Belle in an upcoming live-action recreation of the beloved Disney film. The film will be helmed by Dreamgirls and Side Show’s Bill Condon and is set to begin production in 2015. No release date has yet been scheduled. Broadway.com reported British actress Emma Thompson is in talks to play Mrs. Potts.

 

 

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John Cameron Mitchell as Hedwig

3. Glee star fills big shoes on Broadway

After John Cameron Mitchell, who originated the character of Hedwig, injured his knee performing the role earlier this month, Michael C. Hall (Dexter) stepped back in for temporary relief. But Mitchell, who extended his run through April 26, returned this week knowing who will wear the wig next! Darren Criss (Glee) was announced as the next man to play the transgender rock goddess and we can hardly wait!

 

 

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4. Frozen looks to 2017 for Broadway

It looks like Frozen may be settling into a 2017 goal for the Great White Way. Rumor has it new songs will be included in the production that will be directed by Alex Timbers. Disney Theatrical even released a statement confirming the project with Robert Lopez and Kristin Anderson-Lopez, the original song writers, returning along with Jennifer Lee, codirect and screenwriter for the film.

 

 

 

Jesse Mueller who plays Carole King in Beautiful.

Jessie Mueller who plays Carole King in Beautiful.

5. Some kind of wonderful! Beautiful wins 2015 Grammy for Best Musical Theater Album

Beautiful: The Carole King Musical took home the trophy for Best Musical Theater Album. The musical beat out the albums of Aladdin, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, Hedwig and the Angry Inch and the San Francisco Symphony’s West Side Story. The Beautiful win is shared by the Tony-winning leading lady Jessie Mueller and producers Jason Howland, Steve Sidwell and Billy Jay Stein.

 

 

Get caught up with Broadway Fast 5’s for January and December.

Artist Q&A: Company Manager of Mamma Mia!

Wisconsin native William Ferry may not be someone you recognize on the Broadway stage, but he’s a huge part in making sure the show you’re seeing goes off without a hitch. Ferry is currently the company manager for Mamma Mia! on tour. In this role he coordinates travel arrangements, personnel details and other business aspects of the production.

We asked Bill a few questions about his role with the show and his life on tour. Here’s what he had to say:

MM!USTourCast2013_08We hear you’re from Wauwatosa! How does someone from Wisconsin become someone who tours around the world with Broadway shows?  Supportive parents who paid for me to go to school to study dance and then earn a Master’s Degree in arts administration.  I actually started working in the dance world before getting into theatre.

Is being a company manager always what you wanted to do?  No, my undergraduate degree is in dance performance and education from the University of Utah.  I sort of fell into the management area after moving to New York.

What’s your favorite part about touring? Going to all the different places we go, seeing the different theatres and experiencing local eateries.

Your least favorite part?  Selecting hotels.

Finish this sentence: I can’t travel without my…. cork screw or Swiss Army knife.

Is it hard to be away from Wisconsin family and friends?  One of the advantages of doing what I do is that it allows me to see family when I’m in town.  I’ve been able to see a lot of family over the years throughout the U.S. because of my travels.

You’ve been to the Fox Cities once before, touring with Billy Elliot. Is there something you are excited to see or do being back in Appleton?  Vince Lombardi’s Steakhouse at the Radisson has the best roasted brussel sprouts.

Your personal favorite part of Mamma Mia! is…from “Take a Chance on Me” through the end of the show.

Thanks, Bill! We look forward to seeing you and the rest of the cast Feb. 27-March 1!

it gets better Residency takes the Fox Cities

The it gets better residency is in full swing here in the Fox Valley and for community members, students at several high schools and those who had the opportunity to meet at the Boys and Girls Club it has already proven to be a moving and educational week.

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On Monday, several students worked with the it gets better cast to create an empowering music video. Here, students braved the cold to shoot some scenes outside.

 

 

IMG_6128Staying warm inside was our local community choir who has been working over the past several weeks to learn music as part of the it gets better Saturday night performance.  Whether they are straight allys, out themselves or using their love of music to simply support the cause, they each have an individual reason why they chose to participate in the choir. Katelyn Richards of Freedom said “I am a strong believer that it does get better.  Sexual orientation doesn’t define a person!”

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Tuesday, the it gets better cast started their local high school visits throughout the Fox Valley. While students posed difficult but honest questions Tuesday, the cast opened up about their personal experiences about how life really does get better. Here, the cast took a moment to pose with students from Menasha High School after their program.

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On Tuesday night members of the community came together for a piano bar fundraiser. After a number from the cast, community members gave it their all singing their favorite show-stopping tunes to help raise awareness, funds and support for what it gets better is doing in the community this week but also for future INCLUDE and Fox Cities P.A.C. projects.

 

You still have plenty of opportunities to get involved and hear the inspiring message of how it truly does get better. While Thursday brings more school visits, it also brings a unique opportunity for the public as the it gets better cast facilitates a World Café discussion where the community will have the opportunity to discuss, learn and work together to understand how to be a stronger more inclusive community. The event takes place from 6-9 p.m. at UW-Fox Valley in the Union.

Friday, the public is invited to understand what the it gets better initiative truly is in the it gets better Journey program at UW-Fox Valley in Perry Hall. This program explores how the initiative has been making an impact in surrounding communities in a multimedia presentation. Can’t make it in person? The event will be live streamed by UW-Fox Valley and you can watch it by following this link.

The entire experience will culminate Saturday, Feb. 21 at 7:30 p.m. when it gets better, a musical theater response to bullying, is presented at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center. This performance 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 our wonderful community choir.

For more information on the it gets better residency activities or performance visit our website.

Engaging with the Community

At the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center we strive to provide exceptional live experiences, but those experiences aren’t limited to what you see on stage.

Patrons coming to see Step Afrika! get a lesson in the history of step before the show.

Patrons coming to see Step Afrika! get a lesson in the history of step before the show.

“In addition to bringing live performances to the stage here at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center we feel its very important to make sure that we are providing opportunities for the community to connect to the art form on a deeper level,” said President Maria Van Laanen. “That’s why we have our Community First Community Engagement Activities.”

Some of our favorite events to plan are Community First Community Engagement Activities. These events, designed specifically to enhance your experience of a specific show, typically happen prior to the performance either off site at a local business or right in our Kimberly-Clark Theater before show time.

From community conversations to family friendly activities, interactive workshops to Q&A opportunities with the cast, these Community Engagement Activities are educational, inspirational and just plain fun. Most events are completely free with a ticket to the show and some are free to the public.

Students from Heart of the Valley YMCA give a tumbling demonstration prior to Cirque Peking.

Students from Heart of the Valley YMCA give a tumbling demonstration prior to Cirque Peking.

Broadway and Arts Alive! Season Ticket Holder Martha McKendrick explained why she, along with her husband Glenn, enjoy participating in the Community Engagement Activities.

“We came to the one before the Chinese Acrobats where they had some local girls that came and did a tumbling demonstration for us and it was really fun to watch them and they explained all the different things they could do and then to see what the Chinese Acrobats could do really put things in perspective,” McKendrick said. “It meant more because we understood what was going on better.”

All Community First Community Engagement Activities are announced on our website, so check early and check often for opportunities to enhance your experience!

A Q&A with the cast of Once at Heid Music.

A Q&A with the cast of Once at Heid Music.

Broadway Couples that make us swoon

Love is in the air! Whether you are cuddling up next to your significant other, your pet or your favorite pillow, love is on the brain with visions of red hearts and chocolates dancing in our heads! What better way to mark the holiday than to take a look at our most inspiring Broadway couples who, whether it works out or not, always find a way to teach us something about love through a powerful story and usually, a great production number. Here are five of our favorite fantasy couples:

 

Paige Faure as Ella & Joe Carroll as Prince Topher in Cinderella. Production Images of Cinderella by Carol Rosegg

Paige Faure as Ella & Joe Carroll as Prince Topher in Cinderella. Production Images of Cinderella by Carol Rosegg.

1. Ella and Prince Charming

A fancy dress, a kiss at midnight and a long search for the one you love, it doesn’t get more quintessential than this fairy-tale-based favorite, Cinderella.

 

 

 

 

 

Courtney Reed as Jasmine & Adam Jacobs in Aladdin. Character portraits of Aladdin by Cylla von Tiedemann.

Courtney Reed as Jasmine & Adam Jacobs in Aladdin. Character portraits of Aladdin by Cylla von Tiedemann.

 

2. Aladdin and Jasmine

This childhood cartoon comes to life onstage but the love story is all the same. Boy meets girl, magic carpet ride, Genie and then happily ever after. A lot can happen when you are exposed to “A Whole New World.”

 

 

 

 

 

Samuel Pergande (Johnny) and Jillian Mueller (Baby) in the North American tour of DIRTY DANCING – THE CLASSIC STORY ON STAGE. (Photo by Matthew Murphy)

Samuel Pergande (Johnny) and Jillian Mueller (Baby) in the North American tour of DIRTY DANCING – THE CLASSIC STORY ON STAGE. (Photo by Matthew Murphy).

 

3. Johnny and Baby

This classic story of summer love has us swooning for warmer weather. And who doesn’t love a guy who can dance? We love that Johnny and Baby teach each other important lessons about life and love in Dirty Dancing.

 

 

 

 

 

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4. Sophie and Sky

Supporting each other all the way through Mamma Mia, Sophie and Sky make an adorable engaged couple, don’t they?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jeremy Hays as Raoul & Sierra Boggess as Christine in The Phantom of the Opera. Photo by Matthew Murphy

Jeremy Hays as Raoul & Sierra Boggess as Christine in The Phantom of the Opera. Photo by Matthew Murphy.

 

 

5. Christine & Raoul

A love story wouldn’t be complete without a little tragedy and what better Broadway couple than Christine and Raoul to look to for going the extra mile for the one you love.

 

 

 

 

 

Who is your favorite Broadway couple?

The Perfect Match: Ballroom with a Twist edition!

We’re so excited to have Ballroom with a Twist taking the stage Tuesday night! Dancing with the Stars pros Anna Trebunskaya, Cheryl Burke, Tony Dovolani and Dmitry Chaplin will also be part of an exclusive Meet ‘N Greet after the show! So who can you ask them about? Play our perfect match game to find out.

1. This pro had famous partners Jerry Rice, Carson Kressley and Evan Lysacek.

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Photos from ABC’s Dancing with the Stars

2. This pro had famous partners Melissa Rycroft, Kate Gosslin and Nene Leaks.

Photos from ABC's Dancing with the Stars

Photos from ABC’s Dancing with the Stars

3. This pro had famous partners Emmit Smith, Drew Carey and Rob Kardashian.

Photos from ABC's Dancing with the Stars

Photos from ABC’s Dancing with the Stars

4. This pro had famous partners Mya, Holly Madison and Petra Nemcova.

Photos from ABC's Dancing with the Stars

Photos from ABC’s Dancing with the Stars

Do you think you know the famous faces? Are you ready to find out which pro danced with your favorite star?

1. Anna Trebunskaya danced with Rice (season 2), Kressley (season 13), and Lysacek (season 10). Anna_bwat 2. Tony Dovolani danced with Rycroft (season 8, winner season 15),  Gosslin (season 10), Leaks (season 18). ABC's "Dancing With the Stars" - Season 17 - Gallery 3. Cheryl Burke danced with Smith (winner season 3), Carey (season 18) and Kardashian (season 13). ABC's "Dancing With the Stars" - Season 10 - Gallery 4. Dmitry Chaplin danced with Mya (season 9), Madison (season 8) and Nemcova (season 12). ABC's "Dancing With the Stars" - Season 12 - Gallery So who are you most excited to see take the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center stage?    

What’s your love story?

We LOVE love stories and over the past week we’ve gotten the opportunity to talk to patrons about their loves stories as they attended Once. Participating in an interactive smartboard activity, patrons shared their heart-warming tales and we had so much fun listening. Thank you to everyone who stopped by! Here are a few that made our hearts smile: oncemain

once3once4once5once8once9once10once11once13once14

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So let’s hear it! What’s your love story?