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Broadway Fast 5: May


Photo by Joan Marcus

Photo by Joan Marcus

1.Broadway shows begin closing

After the majority of theater awards are announced, so to are the closing dates. Unfortunately this month, Tuck Everlasting and American Psycho, which both  just opened at the end of April, announced their closing dates.



Leona Lewis Photo by Angela Weiss/ Getty Images

Leona Lewis
Photo by Angela Weiss/ Getty Images

2. It’s not just a memory! CATS will return to Broadway, announces casting

They’re back! Andrew Lloyd Webber’s classic musical will return to the Great White Way led by an all star glamour cat. Leona Lewis, known for pop songs like “Bleeding Love”, will take on the role of Grizabella in the production which is set to open August 2. The announcement comes after Nicole Scherzinger (of the Pussycat Dolls) decided to not take the opportunity to reprise her critically acclaimed performance from the West End production, instead opting to remain a judge on Simon Cowell’s X Factor. While Webber called the move “crazy”, we’re excited to see Lewis along with a fantastic cast in the new production!


82288-93. Disney is making some moves

There was plenty of Disney news this month! With the release of the first trailer for the live action Beauty and the Beast, the rumor that Disney is in the early stages of developing a live action version of The Little Mermaid, and the announcement that the Frozen lab features stars from Bullets Over Broadway, Lysistrata Jones and Hamilton, there’s a lot to be excited for in the months ahead.


Joan Marcus

Photo by Joan Marcus

4. Christian Borle is going to be busy

The funny-man who stars in Something Rotten! has already announced he will headline the Broadway revival of Falsettos this fall but this month he also announced he will run from that show, set to play a limited engagement, right into another leading role. Borle has signed on to take the role of Willy Wonka in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory when it begins previews in March 2017.



82320-75. The final sprint to the Tony Awards!

It’s the final sprint to the Tony Awards, airing on CBS June 12! is taking you behind the scenes for all of the pre-Tony activities you didn’t even know existed in this great video series. James Cordon, this year’s host, is warming up his skills with some crosswalk musical performances that will make you excited to see what he comes up with for the big night. And of course, actors and actresses are making the rounds, inevitably appearing on your television each day. Take Tony-nominated leading actress Cynthia Erivo, for example, who recently blew audiences away at The Late Show with Stephen Colbert with her nightly-standing-ovation-receiving rendition of I’m Here from The Color Purple. Just two days before that, she ran a half marathon and went on to perform two shows in the same day. Can you say superwoman? Get ready for the big night and get your printable ballot here!


Center Stage High School Musical Theater Awards hosts first workshop


Part of the Center’s recently announced Center Stage High School Musical Theater Awards is recognizing productions and the amazing talent in high school performances in Northeast Wisconsin.

The other part, however, is a unique opportunity for participating schools to attend workshops led by traveling artists. In the first of these workshops, held by the recent touring cast of Chicago, students learned everything from a professional audition dance combination (set to All That Jazz), to tips for auditions, how to stay healthy as a performer and how to continue their education in the arts.

IMG_1511Actress Lauren Gemelli explained that she wasn’t accepted to some schools she auditioned for, but  made the most of her program and training and worked hard to get where she is today. She explained the different options involved in picking a school to pursue the performing arts and encouraged students that it’s important to find the right fit for themselves no matter what field they choose to pursue.

Actor Seth Danner explained to the group that as a performer they are their own biggest investment and it’s important to remember to take care of themselves by getting enough rest, staying involved in school and continuously learning and improving through classes and workshops; he also explained the importance of learning to say no to activities or people that might hinder each of them from being their best self.

IMG_4027The two also offered up advice they solicited from the entire Chicago cast in preparation from the workshop which came to this:

“There will always be someone who can sing higher, dance better, do something you can’t but be your best self…there is no other you in this world.”

Check out the photos below from the dance portion of the evening in which students were taught the same dance combination Gemelli and Danner learned for their Chicago auditions!

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Staff Spotlight: Laura Lenhart


Have you heard that the Fox Cities P.A.C. is a nonprofit and wondered “So what does that mean?” or purchased a ticket and thought “I wonder how much a performer makes.” Laura Lenhart, the Vice President of Finance and Operations, is the one in charge of making sure all of those numbers work together so the Center can accomplish its mission in the community, provide world-class entertainment and operate successfully as a business. Laura, who has been with the Center for 14 years, leads the finance and operations teams, guiding and supporting them to live the Center’s mission and vision in their daily work.

1. What have been a few of your favorite shows?  The Tempest by London’s AandBC Theatre Company and Les Miserables. Next year  I am very excited for Beautiful and Itzhak Perlman with the Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra.

2. Why is it important for people to understand that the Center is a nonprofit? It’s important that people understand the Center is a nonprofit because of the indispensable value it brings to the Fox Cities community. The arts are able to bring diverse groups together for shared and transformative experiences, strengthening our community. The cost to bring live performing arts across the country or from overseas to the Fox Cities can be expensive and the price of a ticket often is not enough to cover the costs which is why the government allows for organizations like ours to raise contributions to support these important initiatives. For example, a Broadway ticket may cost on average $86. The first $78 of that ticket goes back to the producers of the show to pay the artist, the crew to run the show, the cost of props and all the costumes, as well as the cost to pack up everything in trucks and drive to the Fox Cities. The remaining $8 allows the Center to pay for costs such as the utility bill, building maintenance and security.

3. What does being a nonprofit mean to the community? Being a nonprofit means that the community can invest in the arts with tax deductible funds to support our mission. Their generous support allows us to further our mission and provide specifically designed programs that do everything from reaching underserved populations to enhancing appreciation of the arts, encouraging community conversation and bringing people together with fun and engaging shared experiences. It really comes down to being deeply rooted in the community and working to make a difference.

4. What is your favorite part of your job? Working with a great team to fulfill an amazing mission!

Next time you see Laura around the Center, be sure to say hello!


One family, the Center and one really big field trip

When Joe Walsh and his wife Marian of Kaukauna decided to take some of their money and do “something good for somebody”, neither one really had any idea what that would look like at first. Marian, a teacher for 27 years, 20 in the Kaukauna School District, knew she wanted to give back to her community when she retired.  Neither had particular training in or experiences performing in the arts, Joe said, but they appreciated them and would often attend performances.

IMG_3857“We talked about a scholarship, but that usually only affects one person at a time or so,” Walsh explained. “Marian wanted to do more. She wanted to affect younger kids, right in that 3-5 grade time. She thought if you could get them interested in something like the arts, that would be the age to do it.”

The Walsh’s set up a fund within the Community Foundation in 1999 and decided to bring the arts to exactly those students. In 2000 they sponsored their first performance, bringing arts experiences to 3-5 graders in the Kaukauna School District through the Walsh Family Fund.


“There is an inner core in each of us that responds to the beauty of the arts. Exposure to the arts at an early age encourages creativity and an appreciation of the beauty in our world. The arts help us to be more tolerant, kinder and gentler, more loving. My husband Joe and I imagined being able to provide another avenue for young people of our community to be introduced to some of the great art our culture offers.”

Marian wrote about the program.

As the years went by, however, acts got more expensive and their touring schedules meant they sometimes couldn’t come back through Wisconsin just to perform for the school district.

“In 2010 we had an act locked in for almost a year. They were scheduled to come in early April and in February they called us and said they couldn’t come. They didn’t have any other stops around here, so I thought, ‘well what do we do now?'” Joe explained.

Joe Walsh (center, dark sweater) attends Ballet Folklorico with a group of more than 1,000 from the Kaukauna Area School District in April 2016

Joe Walsh (center, dark sweater) attends Ballet Folklorico with a group of more than 1,000 from the Kaukauna Area School District in April 2016

That’s when they got in touch with the Fox Cities P.A.C. Group Sales Department. The Walsh’s worked with Sherry Rougeux, group sales manager, to coordinate a visit to The Velveteen Rabbit, a performance that was part of the education series. Thanks to support of the community, these tickets are able to be subsidized and have remained at $5-$7 since the series’ inception in 2002.

The Walsh’s worked to secure tickets to the show and school buses to bring more than 1,000 students to the production.

“The first time we were so nervous,” Joe said. “900 kids at the Center, what’s going to happen? The biggest problem was a kid forgot his jacket on his seat and had to run back inside to get it. That was our biggest problem and I think the only problem we’ve ever had. Now if you put 900 adults on 17 buses to watch a show and had to get them back on time (like we have to with the students) we’d have so many complaints. However, this went so smoothly.”

Since then, the Walsh Family Fund group has visited the Center three additional times, bringing more than 4,000 kids to experience the arts.

Joe Walsh (center) and his group stay to watch the performance with the group of 3-5 students

Joe Walsh (center) and his group stay to watch the performance with the group of 3-5 grade students

“Kids need to learn to be an audience and their experience (at the Center) has been outstanding. To see the kids faces and know there are a good number of kids in the Kaukauna system who have never been here. Coming to the P.A.C. itself is an educational experience,” Joe said. “We just look forward to all of this. The kids have so much energy and enjoy coming to the shows. What we hope is that now we can do one every three years or every other and as long as we can come to the P.A.C. it will be a snap.”

The group often fills the majority of a single performance during the education series, this year enjoying Ballet Folklorico.

Since the Walsh’s started funding a yearly performances for the Kaukauna Area School District, Joe estimates that they have been able to impact about 14,000 kids overall. Marian has since passed away and Joe said he hopes that the fund’s continued promotion of the arts and education will remain part of her legacy.

The Fox Cities P.A.C. is proud to be just a small part of helping that legacy continue and this wonderful program.

Tapping into the power of arts integration


By: Cassie Schroeder, Education Coordinator

The arts have long been considered an important component of one’s evolution through his or her educational career and serve as an integral part in the development of human nature. The arts are what make us most human and can touch us to our very core by generating avenues of creativity, engagement and growth.

Statistical research, done by Americans for the Arts, indicates that students who participate in the arts are more likely to be recognized for academic achievement, perform community service, participate in math and science fairs, win writing awards and are more likely to win school attendance awards. Through research such as this, we can see the important role that the arts have in academics.

The way that we most commonly think of art being used in the academic setting is through classes such as band, orchestra or dance. If a school offers these types of courses during the school day, their approach to teaching would be considered “Arts as Curriculum.” This allows students to develop skills in a particular art form.

We all probably remember belting out our ABCs to help remember the alphabetical sequence or learning the “Nifty-Fifty” song to recall all the states. This approach is referred to as “Arts-Enhanced Curriculum.” Students are motivated to learn through an art form such as singing, but are not expected to learn about melody, song structure or develop correct vocal techniques.

The third way we can see arts in the classroom is through an approach called “Arts Integration.” Arts integration within the curriculum is designed to give all students — not just those who have expressed an interest or gift in the arts — an opportunity to express creativity, learn critical-thinking strategies and develop innovation skills. Arts-integrated lessons are created using equal portions of core subjects and an art form to learn concepts of both areas. For example, students may learn about the water cycle through movement, explore classic literature through drama, or they might study the Underground Railroad by the creation and performance of their own freedom songs.

When students are taught through arts integration, they are engaged in lessons that actively allow them to demonstrate what they are learning. Students become engaged learners and demonstrators as they work with each other to make decisions on how to present what they know through an authentic medium. Learning becomes dynamic and assists in teaching critical thinking, collaboration, communication and creativity skills — all of which are necessary for students being successful later in life. Classroom benefits also include increased student engagement and achievement.

In 2012, the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center and Appleton Area School District were selected to participate in the Partners in Education program of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Through this partnership the center and AASD annually offer professional development in arts integration to support the work being done by local educators.

In whatever form art appears in a classroom, it is obvious that the arts hold the power to transform a passive learning experience into one of discovery. An arts-integrated environment provides students with experiences that challenge and transform the learner.

Miles Wilkin & the National Endowment for the Arts to Receive 2016 Special Tony Awards

Miles Wilkin & the National Endowment for the Arts to Receive 2016 Special Tony Awards

Miles Wilkin (Photo: Caitlin McNaney) Wilkin is the COO and Executive Vice President of Key Brand Entertainment.

Six-time Tony Winner Miles Wilkin and the National Endowment for the Arts will both be honored with the 2016 Special Tony Awards. The 70th Annual Tony Awards, hosted by James Corden, is scheduled to take place on June 12.

Wilkin is the COO and Executive Vice President of Key Brand Entertainment, the parent company of and Broadway Across America. At Key Brand, he provides the vision for theater and e-commerce, building on Broadway Across America’s significant touring network and’s vast e-commerce network. Wilkin, an original founder of Broadway Across America, is more broadly recognized as one of the founders of North American Touring Theater. During his most recent stint at Broadway Across America, he revitalized its North American Presenting and Theater operation. Prior to that, he was an executive with Clear Channel Entertainment and its predecessors (SFX Entertainment, PACE Entertainment and PACE Theatrical) responsible for company-wide operations and company-wide divisions, including, North American Music, North American Theater, Motorsports, Sports, International Music, International Theatre and Sports and Properties including Corporate Sponsorship and TV. Wilkin is the recipient of numerous awards including: six Tony Awards (Spamalot, Hairspray, The Producers, Fiddler on the Roof, Gypsy and Jerome Robbins’ Broadway), and a Theatre Lifetime Achievement Award from the Broadway League.

“Miles paved ‘the road’ for the modern Broadway touring system, and his accomplishments have been monumental and central to the success and economic growth of our industry,” said Charlotte St. Martin, President of The Broadway League, and Heather Hitchens, President of the American Theatre Wing, in a statement. “Because of his innovative and groundbreaking touring systems, theatre fans across the country have been able to experience the magic of Broadway.”

Celebrating its 50th Anniversary, the NEA is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the NEA supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America.

“The National Endowment for the Arts’s contribution to the theater community is incalculable,” added Hitchens and St. Martin. “Over the past 50 years, since its inception, the agency has funded 18 Tony Award-winning plays and 15 Tony award-winning musicals, not to mention offering vital support to hundreds of theatre professionals. They are invaluable to our industry, and to our nation’s cultural legacy!”


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The 2016 Tony Award Nominations have been announced!

Satisfied?! Hamilton broke the previous record held by The Producers and Billy Elliot by one, picking up 16 Tony nominations for the 70th annual Tony Awards on May 3. Announced by Andrew Rannells and Tony winner Nikki M. James, Eclipsed and The Humans garnered the most nods of new plays with six. Other standouts included a Best Musical category of five: Bright Star, Hamilton, School of Rock, Shuffle Along and Waitress. Notable snubs included American Psycho and Shuffle Along’s six-time Tony winner Audra McDonald.

Broadway’s biggest night is scheduled for June 12, hosted by James Corden.

Here is the complete list of 2016 Tony Award nominees:


Best Musical
Bright Star
School of Rock
Shuffle Along

Best Play
Eclipsed by Danai Gurira
King Charles III by Mike Bartlett
The Father by Florian Zeller
The Humans by Stephen Karam

Best Revival of a Musical
Fiddler on the Roof
She Loves Me
Spring Awakening
The Color Purple

Best Revival of a Play
A View From the Bridge
Long Day’s Journey Into Night
Noises Off
The Crucible

Best Leading Actor in a Musical
Alex Brightman, School of Rock
Danny Burstein, Fiddler on the Roof
Zachary Levi, She Loves Me
Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton
Leslie Odom Jr., Hamilton

Best Leading Actress in a Musical
Laura Benanti, She Loves Me
Carmen Cusack, Bright Star
Cynthia Erivo, The Color Purple
Jessie Mueller, Waitress
Phillipa Soo, Hamilton

Best Leading Actor in a Play
Gabriel Byrne, Long Day’s Journey Into Night
Jeff Daniels, Blackbird
Frank Langella, The Father
Tim Pigott-Smith, King Charles III
Mark Strong, A View From the Bridge

Best Leading Actress in a Play
Jessica Lange, Long Day’s Journey Into Night
Laurie Metcalf, Misery
Lupita Nyong’o, Eclipsed
Sophie Okonedo, The Crucible
Michelle Williams, Blackbird

Best Featured Actor in a Musical
Daveed Diggs, Hamilton
Brandon Victor Dixon, Shuffle Along
Christopher Fitzgerald, Waitress
Jonathan Groff, Hamilton
Christopher Jackson, Hamilton

Best Featured Actress in a Musical
Danielle Brooks, The Color Purple
Renée Elise Goldsberry, Hamilton
Jane Krakowski, She Loves Me
Jennifer Simard, Disaster!
Adrienne Warren, Shuffle Along

Best Featured Actor in a Play
Reed Birney, The Humans
Bill Camp, The Crucible
David Furr, Noises Off
Richard Goulding, King Charles III
Michael Shannon, Long Day’s Journey Into Night

Best Featured Actress in a Play
Pascale Armand, Eclipsed
Megan Hilty, Noises Off
Jayne Houdyshell, The Humans
Andrea Martin, Noises Off
Saycon Sengbloh, Eclipsed

Best Direction of a Musical
Michael Arden, Spring Awakening
John Doyle, The Color Purple
Scott Ellis, She Loves Me
Thomas Kail, Hamilton
George C. Wolfe, Shuffle Along

Best Direction of a Play
Rupert Goold, King Charles III
Jonathan Kent, Long Day’s Journey Into Night
Joe Mantello, The Humans
Liesl Tommy, Eclipsed
Ivo van Hove, A View From the Bridge

Best Score
Sara Bareilles, Waitress
Steve Martin and Edie Brickell, Bright Star
Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton
Andrew Lloyd Webber and Glenn Slater, School of Rock

Best Book of a Musical
Julian Fellowes, School of Rock
Steve Martin, Bright Star
Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton
George C. Wolfe, Shuffle Along

Best Orchestrations
August Eriksmoen, Bright Star
Larry Hochman, She Loves Me
Alex Lacamoire, Hamilton
Daryl Waters, Shuffle Along

Best Choreography
Andy Blankenbuehler, Hamilton
Savion Glover, Shuffle Along
Hofesh Shechter, Fiddler on the Roof
Randy Skinner, Dames at Sea
Sergio Trujillo, On Your Feet!

Best Scenic Design of a Musical
Es Devlin and Finn Ross, American Psycho
David Korins, Hamilton
Santo Loquasto, Shuffle Along
David Rockwell, She Loves Me

Best Scenic Design of a Play
Beowulf Boritt, Thérèse Raquin
Christopher Oram, Hughie
Jan Versweyveld, A View From the Bridge
David Zinn, The Humans

Best Costume Design of a Musical
Gregg Barnes, Tuck Everlasting
Jeff Mahshie, She Loves Me
Ann Roth, Shuffle Along
Paul Tazewell, Hamilton

Best Costume Design of a Play
Jane Greenwood, Long Day’s Journey Into Night
Michael Krass, Noises Off
Clint Ramos, Eclipsed
Tom Scutt, King Charles III

Best Lighting Design of a Musical
Howell Binkley, Hamilton
Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhauer, Shuffle Along
Ben Stanton, Spring Awakening
Justin Townsend, American Psycho

Best Lighting Design of a Play
Natasha Katz, Long Day’s Journey Into Night
Justin Townsend, The Humans
Jan Versweyveld, A View From the Bridge
Jan Versweyveld, The Crucible

Recipients of Awards and Honors in Non-competitive Categories

Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre
Sheldon Harnick
Marshall W. Mason

Special Tony Award
National Endowment for the Arts
Miles Wilkin

Regional Theatre Tony Award
Paper Mill Playhouse

Isabelle Stevenson Tony Award
Brian Stokes Mitchell

Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre
Seth Gelblum Joan Lader Sally Ann Parsons


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