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Broadway Fast 5: July


'Cats' (Photo: Alessandro Pinna)

‘Cats’ (Photo: Alessandro Pinna)

1.They’re back! Cats starts previews on Broadway

Those loveable Jellicle cats have returned to Broadway in the revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats, which began previews on July 14 and will open July 31. Featuring choreography by Hamilton’s Andy Blakenbuehler and pop singer Leona Lewis taking on the memorable role of Grizabella, the production has been getting a lot of buzz. You can get excited too – is featuring a behind the scenes look vlog with Rum Tum Tugger Tyler Hanes.

Rachel Tucker in Broadway's 'Wicked' (Photo: Joan Marcus)

Rachel Tucker in Broadway’s ‘Wicked’
(Photo: Joan Marcus)

2. Rejoicify! Wicked movie details are here!

It’s not much, but Stephen Schwartz did let a little slip about the upcoming Wicked film. At San Diego Comic-Con confirmed the project is a few years away but will incorporate at least three new numbers and one song that was cut from the Broadway show. We can’t wait to go dancing through life to the new songs. (Or to hear the originals performed live here next August!)



3. Darlene Love heads Off-Broadway

Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Darlene Love will join Trip of Love Off-Broadway. The show, which brings the ’60s to life with more than 25 of the decades greatest hits, will welcome love starting July 28. “What a fun show! When I saw the show, the audience was waving their arms and singing along. They had a grand time,” said Love, in a statement published on Love, whose 50+ year career has included collaborations with Frank Sinatra, Marvin Gaye and Elvis Presely (to name a few) is perhaps most well known for her number one holiday classic “Baby Please Come Home” which you might just get to hear her perform when she visits the Fox Cities P.A.C. in her Love for the Holidays tour Dec. 2.


Karen Olivo & Miguel Cervantes

Karen Olivo & Miguel Cervantes

4. The room where it happens just got closer

The Chicago production of Hamilton is getting that much closer to it’s September 27 opening. Tickets for the production went on sale and quickly performances were shifted to sold-out status. Now, we know who all of those people will be seeing in the room where it happens. The Chicago company will be led by Tony-winner Karen Olivo (Angelica) , Miguel Cervantes (Hamilton) and Alexander Gemignani (King George III). Other principal roles in Hamilton in Chicago will be played by Ari Afsar as Eliza Hamilton, Chris Lee as Marquis de Lafayette/Thomas Jefferson, Joseph Morales as Cervantes’ alternate, Jose Ramos as John Laurens/Phillip Hamilton, Wallace Smith as Hercules Mulligan/James Madison and Samantha Marie Ware as Peggy Schuyler/Maria Reynolds. Who else is excited?


Leanne Cope & Dimitri Kleioris in 'An American in Paris' (Photo: Matthew Murphy)

Leanne Cope & Dimitri Kleioris in ‘An American in Paris’
(Photo: Matthew Murphy)

5. ‘S Been Wonderful: An American in Paris, Motown, Fiddler announce closings

An American in Paris, which had announced it would close on Broadway on January 1, 2017, will now end its run on October 9. Based on the Oscar-winning film, the musical of hope, redemption and romance featured some of George and Ira Gershwin’s well known hits including “I Got Rhythm” “‘S Wonderful” and “They Can’t Take That Away.” The national tour is set to being on Oct. 14.

The tradition is over; the fifth Great White Way revival of Fiddler on the Roof, starring Danny Burstein, is set to close on December 31.

Surprising, the return of Motown The Musical, which opened on July 12, also announced it will close this month. Performances for the limited engagement were scheduled to run through Nov. 13 but the jukebox musical announced it will play its final performance on July 31, marking the end of the shows first national tour.




Partnering for Arts Integration

As students prepare to head back to class, so do teachers and part of that preparation may include planning creative ways to integrate the arts into their classroom.

The Center, striving to make the arts accessible for all generations, works to make that process easier by providing professional development opportunities throughout the year as part of their Classroom Connections teacher workshops.

The Center and Appleton Area School District are members of the Partners in Education program of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington D.C. Selected because of their demonstrated commitment to improvement of education in and through the arts, the partnership team collaborations to make the arts integral to education.

Classroom Connections teacher workshops are designed to provide professional development in the arts for teachers based on the belief that their continued learning is an essential component of any effort to increase the artistic literacy of young people.

Renee Ulman, fine arts coordinator for the Appleton Area School District works to support art, music, theater and dance education in Appleton schools by leading curriculum work, advocating for strong arts education for all students and researching ways to bring the arts to the classroom, including providing teachers with meaningful professional development.

“Our mission in AASD is “Every Child, Every Day” and the arts are an essential part of meeting the needs of all of our students and offering them a well-rounded education,” Ulman said. “This partnership is important because we get to work together on offering quality professional development opportunities for teachers in the Fox Cities.  It shows teachers that what they do for our students is valued and supported by those in the community.  We want to work together to provide all students the best education they can receive.  We believe that one way this can be achieved is through arts integration.  Our partnership helps teachers learn about and implement these practices in their classrooms.”

The team that coordinates with The Kennedy Center to put on Classroom Connections teacher workshops. From left to right Director of Programming and Community Engagement Amy Gosz, Education Coordinator Cassie Schroeder and Appleton Area School District Fine Arts Coordinator Renee Ulman.

The team that coordinates Classroom Connections teacher workshops. From left to right Director of Programming and Community Engagement Amy Gosz, Education Coordinator Cassie Schroeder and Appleton Area School District Fine Arts Coordinator Renee Ulman.

The program began in 2012 and each year Ulman and the education team at the Center (including director of programming and community engagement Amy Gosz and education coordinator Cassie Schroeder) sit down to chat about trends happening in the district and arts integration workshops that are available through the Kennedy Center Partners in Education program. They select workshops that appeal to a variety of art forms, core curriculum topics and teaching grade levels. From this they are able to provide unique arts integration development opportunities that are available to any educator or person who works with youth.

“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,” said Fox Cities P.A.C. education coordinator, Cassie Schroeder. “By offering diverse programming we hope the arts reach more classrooms and impact the lives of more students.”

Why is it so important for teachers to incorporate arts into their classroom? Aside from statistical research done by Americans for the Arts that indicates students who participate in the arts are more likely to be recognized for academic achievement, perform community service and win attendance awards, it’s what arts can teach about others and themselves.

“Students who create beautiful work through the arts are more engaged, more motivated and want to be at school. Their voices are heard by participating in meaningful and relevant projects, experiences and performances.  They are part of something larger than themselves and learn how to work with all types of people, accepting others for who they are,” Ulman explained. “Through the arts, all students learn new ways to communicate about and be in the world around them, they discover strengths and possibilities they might not have imagined, and work on the skills needed to be engaged citizens later in their lives. Once they leave school, every student will be judged on their character and quality of work, not their grades or test scores.  That is why it is important to be immersed in the arts…It’s an all-inclusive way of learning, therefore it is a way for all students to find success.”

Gather a group and come to the theater!

Part of the beauty of live theater is sharing the experience with a room full of people who are living the same moment. That, along with great benefits, is why group sales have remained a popular choice for patrons.

With a group sales team dedicated to helping you coordinate your experience, the ability to buy tickets before the general public and the discounts available to groups of 10 or more, there are many reasons to gather your friends, relatives, coworkers, neighbors and everyone you know to go catch a show!

That’s how it all started for Lisa Comber, who coordinates groups tickets for co-workers and others who are interested in specific shows.

“I was interested in seeing the The Lion King and found out that with a group of 15 or more, I would be able to secure seats ahead of the public sale.   It took off from there,” Comber explained.


The group sales team includes (from left to right) Andrea Zinkgraf, Sherry Rougeux and Chelsea Crevcoure.

While the most difficult part is communicating with ticket buyers and making the ticket/payment exchange, the rest of the process for Comber and her group is a breeze.

“The easiest part for me is getting all the initial information together to send out to the group,” Comber explained. “The group sales team is phenomenal in helping us get the seats we want and having the tickets and envelopes ready for me.”

Group leader Debbie Griffith, who coordinates bus trips for seniors, agrees.

“The Fox Cities P.A.C. makes it very easy.  The gals in the group sales department are the best and try to accommodate almost any request at any time,” Griffith said.

Broadway is always a popular option for groups but both leaders have also taken advantage of group sales for Arts Alive! series performances such as Fantasia, Ballroom with a Twist, Masters of Illuision and recently, The Band of the Royal Marines.

“That was one of the best programs for our group,” Griffith said of the band’s performance. “Price wise, interest, and entertainment!”

Griffith said her group is anxiously awaiting Cabaret and The Bodyguard in the 2016-17 Season, while Comber says Beautiful – The Carole King Musical, Finding Neverland and The Sound of Music top her list.

You can make your group reservations for our 2016-17 shows today and secure your seats before the general public! Visit the group sales page on our website for more information.

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Welcome new board members!

It’s a new fiscal year at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center and that means some fresh faces on our Board of Directors.

Please join us in welcoming Shaleen Devgun, Susan May, Scott Murphy and Kim Ritzow who fill vacancies created by retiring board members Darwin Copeman, Mame Heaney, Jim Johnson, Karen Laws and Robert Di Renzo.

Photo by Shane Van Boxtel, Image Studios LLC

Photo by Shane Van Boxtel, Image Studios LLC

“A group of top business and civic leaders, our Board of Directors also represents a group passionate about the power of the live performing arts,” said Fox Cities P.A.C. Board Chair Beth Flaherty. “We know the 2016-17 Board of Directors will continue to be wonderful assets to the Center, stewards to the community and strong advocates for the arts.”

Flaherty will continue on to her second year as board chair.

Angelo Ninivaggi will serve as vice chair. Ninivaggi is currently the senior vice president, general counsel and secretary of Plexus Corp. where he has been employed since 2002. Ninivaggi first joined the board at the Center in 2012.

John Krause, a current board member, has also been re-elected to the role of secretary-treasurer. Krause is a partner with Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, LLP. Krause first joined the board at the Center in 2012.

John Hogerty will continue to serve as immediate past chair. Hogerty is the executive vice president, general counsel and secretary of Bergstrom Corporation. He first joined the board at the Center in 2008 and served as chairman from 2012-2015.

Learn more about our new board members below:

Shaleen Devgun is the executive vice president and chief information officer at Schneider. Prior to joining Schneider in 2009, he spent 12 years in management consulting with Diamondcluster International and Deloitte. Shaleen and his family reside in Appleton and are actively involved with INDUS Fox Valley.

Susan May has served as the president and CEO of Fox Valley Technical College since 2008, having joined the organization in 1983 and working in several leadership capacities for the college over the years. She received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Wisconsin – Stout and her doctorate from Nova Southeastern University. Susan is an active board member or partner with many organizations in the region.

Scott Murphy joined Jewelers Mutual in 2015 as president and CEO. Prior to joining the company, Scott was an executive partner and principal in the insurance industry consulting group Triad Analytic Solutions. Scott is a graduate of the University of Tennessee.

Kim Kolbe Ritzow is a community advocate and volunteer. For the past several years she has served on the Fox Cities P.A.C. Advocacy Committee, has served on the fundraising committees for Friends of the Appleton Public Library and for WisconSibs. She is a frequent docent for the Trout Museum of Art and serves as a Cabinet Member of Ambassadors for Catalpa Health.

Please help us wish them all a warm welcome to the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center!