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Posts from the ‘Arts Alive!’ Category

Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra brings literal meaning to starting their season

The Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra, our resident partner, is getting ready to begin another season of inspiring music featuring special performers and the simple theme of season concerts.


Photo courtesy of Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra

The season begins at the Oct. 3 concert, aptly titled “Opening Night” which will feature Neenah native Austin Larson, a 24 year-old who has made a name for himself as a horn player both at the collegiate and professional competitions. Larson, who played with the Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra for five years, told the Post-Crescent the homecoming is a dream come true.

The Autumn Concert, which takes place Nov. 14 features Marcia Henry Liebenow, the concert master of the Peoria Symphony Orchestra and professor of violin and viola. Zach Harmon, a Wisconsin native, will be joining for a piece playing tabla, an instrument he has been studying under Abhiman Kushal.

The Winter Concert on Jan. 23 features guest artist Masha Lakisova, a 13 year-old violinist  who has played with many orchestras and in places such as Carnegie Hall in her short career. Masha plays a 1676 Francesco Ruggieri violin and will join the symphony in a piece by Tchaikovsky.

The Spring Concert on March 19 will feature Raffi Besalyan, playing piano for a Beethoven piece. Besalyan won the Artists International Competition and in recent years has dazzled audiences in North and South America, Europe, Russia and Asia.  He is a former faculty member of the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.

Photo By: Clay Patrick McBride

Photo By: Clay Patrick McBride

The Grand Finale is a collaboration with our Boldt Arts Alive! series presentation of Rosanne Cash along with guitarist John Leventhan and Cash’s band. Taking place May 7, this collaboration brings the legendary singer-songwriter presenting her newest works along with the stunning orchestral performance of the symphony.



Don’t miss these amazing opportunities to hear beautiful music featuring interesting, talented musicians from across the country. For more information visit the Fox Valley Symphony website.

Pilobolus means what?!…and other fun facts

With the upcoming performance of Pilobolus we’ve had several people ask us how to pronounce the name of the award-winning modern dance group. Pill-ob-o-lus.

But it was an investigation into the meaning of their name, their extensive history (dating back to 1971) and their stunning performance that made us want to share these 8 fun facts:

Pilobolus_posterart1. Pilobolus is actually the name of a barnyard fungus that propels its spores with extraordinary speed, accuracy and strength. The group picked it because, at the time, the group of Dartmouth College students included Jonahtan Wolken whose father was studying the fungus in a lab.

2. Pilobolus has performed more than 100 choreographic works in 64 countries.

3. The group has performed on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Sesame Street and Late Night with Conan O’Brien.

4. After performing on the 79th Annual Academy Awards using shadowplay, the group went on to produce an evening-length movement-theater piece which utilized head-writer for the hit Nickelodeon show “SpongeBob Squarepants” Steven Banks, and David Poe who wrote the score.AllIsNotLost_Nadirah Zakariya-1-2

5. Pilobolus is made up of three branches. In addition to the touring company, they also have an education program and a creative services program.

6. Pilobolus filmed “All Is Not Lost” with band OK GO. The video was released as a Google Chrome Experiment made with Google and was nominated for a 2012 Grammy Award for Best Short Form Music Video.

7. Pilobolus holds the 2011 Guinness World Record for fitting the most people into a Mini Cooper (26).

8. When it visits the Center, Pilobolus will perform [esc] a piece created by Penn & Teller.

Don’t miss Pilobolus when it comes to the Fox Cities next week!

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.


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?    

Casting additions, changes for Ballroom with a Twist


We are excited to welcome the following cast for Ballroom with a Twist!

It includes:

  • “American Idol” season 6 finalist Gina Glocksen.
  • “American Idol” season 8 contestant Von Smith.
  •  “So You Think You Can Dance” performers Serge Onik (season 11), Jonathan Platero (season 5), Randi Lynn Strong (season 5), and Legacy (season 6).
  •  “Dancing With The Stars” pros include two-time Mirror Ball winner Cheryl Burke, Anna Trebunskaya, Dmitry Chaplin and previously announced Mirror Ball winner Tony Dovolani.

Unfortunately, due to other “DWTS” commitments, previously announced Sharna Burgess, Val Chmerkovskiy, Emma Slater and Peta Murgatroyd will be unable to perform at the Fox Cities P.A.C. engagement.

We’re so excited to have this great show come to the Fox Cities! Who are you most excited to see?

Community and Arts Partners come together to create

It’s one of our very favorite times of the year. The time where our mission of being a gathering place for the community leads to fantastic art being made on our stage!

live-in-concert-fantasiaOn Nov. 8 the Center will co-produce  Disney FANTASIA-Live In Concert with the Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra.

Sponsorships and grants allow us not only to put on the piece, but also to keep ticket prices reasonable so that as many people as possible can come from the community to enjoy the art. Tickets for Disney FANTASIA-Live in Concert start at $29.

“It gives us a chance to really celebrate the great arts we have in the Fox Cities,” said Amy Gosz, the Director of Programming and Community Engagement at the Center. “We can’t do it without (community) support. That support allows us to make these events happen and makes them accessible.”

Jamie LaFreniere of the Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra said taking on this large of a project would not be possible without a great amount of support.

“We always look forward to partnering with other area arts organizations to see what we can accomplish together. There is no doubt it opens up possibilities that each organization, on its own, wouldn’t be able to consider,” LaFreniere said. “The Fantasia concert is a huge project and neither organization could have made this happen without a partnership. Together we are able to bring a tremendous experience to local audiences by sharing the responsibilities. We look forward to partnering again on other large projects and continuing to give our audience incredible concerts and family events.”

Markoff Youth Ballet in the Nutcracker

Markoff Youth Ballet in the Nutcracker

The Nutcracker, which hits the stage Dec. 6 and 7 is another example of the Center collaborating with local arts partners

in the community. The Makaroff Youth Ballet dancers team up with the Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra and the Lawrence Academy Girl Choir to put on the holiday classic.

For Senior Dancer Blake Bormes, the experience is an exciting one.

“Performing The Nutcracker as a Makaroff Youth Ballet company member at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center is a thrill and a privilege. Growing up being in the audience at PAC shows has been an exciting opportunity,” Bormes said. “I am honored to once again be performing  on the P.A.C. stage and hope everyone will enjoy the spirit and excitement of The Nutcracker.”

Tickets for both performances are on sale now.

Artist Q&A: Cheyenne Jackson


Whether you know him from appearances on “30 Rock,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and as Vocal Adrenaline’s coach on “Glee,” or from Broadway credits that include Finian’s Rainbow, All Shook Up and Xanadu, or even from the big screen in films like “United 93,” Cheyenne Jackson is a familiar face with an outstanding voice.

The 39 year-old has recently released an album “I’m Blue, Skies” and we’re excited to have him here for two intimate cabaret performances Nov. 13-14. But before he does, we caught up with him on the road for the latest Artist Q&A.

1. Tell us a little about yourself.cheyenne_posterart

I was 9 lbs when I was born, I have blue eyes, pop culture junkie, and I can not cook.

2. When did you first know you wanted to be a performer?

7 years old.  Heard the Annie cast album.  Decided then and there to become the first boy to ever play Annie.

3. Movies, TV, Broadway and music, you’ve done it all. Which medium is your favorite and why?

I love them all equally.  They all have their challenges, but there is no way I could choose.

4. What has been your favorite project to work on so far in your career?

Again, no way to choose.  Too many favorites.

5. Finish this sentence: I can’t travel without my….

MacBook, big headphones, and tons of water.

6. What can people expect when they see your show Nov. 13 or 14?

Me opening my heart up to the audience and sharing myself through my art and my experiences. Oh, and I’m gonna sing really purdy. 😉


Thanks, Cheyenne! We look forward to having you at the Fox Cities P.A.C. later this month!


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Receive a complimentary drink and valet parking
by mentioning this blog post at time of purchase ($18 value)! 

Limit 4 tickets, offer valid on the $75 and $55 tickets. Not valid on previously purchased tickets. While supplies last.
Offer only available at the ticket office or by calling (920) 730-3760.


Ask Me Anything! with the Board of Directors


Earlier this fall, the website Reddit announced it turned one of its most popular features, Ask Me Anything, into its own app. That got us thinking—what if we could ask anybody anything in real-life? So at a recent board meeting we had a little fun and passed out three questions to our Board Members.

What we got is the Fox Cities P.A.C. take on AMA: The Board of Directors:

What has been your favorite show at the Fox Cities P.A.C. and why?Josephlogo

“Tony Bennett. Opening night the excitement and enthusiasm of both the performer and the audience were palpable. South Pacific because I had forgotten how many important and controversial topics it covered.”- John J. Hogerty, Bergstrom Corporation

Joseph: my daughter was in the cast.”- Dr. Ray Georgen, Surgical Associates of Neenah, S.C.

“Harry Connick Jr.: I loved the energy and diversity of the performance.”- Terry Timm, Thrivent Financial

“First, Disney’s The Lion King for the puppetry, and costumes are fabulous. Second, The Book of Mormon– just plain fun! So South Park!”-Mame Heaney, Community Leader

War Horse

War Horse

Mamma Mia! and Jersey Boys for feel good. War Horse and Disney’s The Lion King because of amazing staging.”- Barb Merry, Coldwell Banker The Real Estate Group






Why are the arts important to you?

Meredith Hanafi Photography 2012

Step Afrika – Meredith Hanafi Photography 2012

“(The arts) stimulate the soul, demonstrates the greatness of human talent.”-Angelo Ninivaggi, Plexus Corp.

“It is a quality of life issue. The Fox Cities P.A.C. adds wonderful balance to life in the Fox Cities.” – Barb Merry, Coldwell Banker The Real Estate Group

“Because they are so basic for maintaining the human spirit. I believe the arts are fundamental to our health as individuals and as a community.”- Karen Laws, Community Leader


If you could star in a Broadway show opposite any actor, who would you want to work with and why?

Idina Menzel

Idina Menzel

“Idina Menzel. Beautiful voice, beautiful person, great actress. I had the chance to meet her once and she was really funny and down to earth.”- John J.  Hogerty, Bergstrom Corporation

“Julie Andrews; endearing personality and voice.”-Angelo Ninivaggi, Plexus Corp.

“Alive: Hugh Jackman because of his versatility, energy and dancing abilities. Not so alive: Paul Newman because of his intensity and range and involvement in life.”- Karen Laws, Community Leader

Now it’s your turn! If you could star in a Broadway show opposite any actor, which actor would you want to work with and why?

What is the Boldt Arts Alive! Series?



Last week we opened our Boldt Arts Alive! Series with a stellar performance from SWEET HONEY IN THE ROCK® and followed that with the 11th Annual Fox Cities Choral Music Festival. With such a great schedule still ahead, including tonight’s performance by Ramsey Lewis, we thought no time like the present to let you know exactly what the Boldt Arts Alive! Series is about!

Sponsored by The Boldt Company, the Arts Alive! series:

Markoff Youth Ballet in the Nutcracker

Markoff Youth Ballet in The Nutcracker


Brings uniquely talented acts that are cultural, fun and creative to the Center.
ust this season you can take a trip to China, through a café full of classic favorites, on a fantasy ride with Disney, on the ballroom dance floor, to Ireland and so much more all without leaving the comfort of your favorite seat in the house.




Cirque Peking

Cirque Peking

Has reasonable ticket prices.

One of the most attractive parts of our Arts Alive! series is that thanks to grants, sponsors and fundraising we are able to subsidize the ticket costs so these high-quality evenings of entertainment start at an average of $25.




Ballroom with a Twist

Ballroom with a Twist

Provides a unique educational opportunity to enhance the understanding and enjoyment of life.
Amazing dancers, inspiring singers, beautiful music and jaw-dropping acrobatics are just a sampling of what this series brings to the Fox Cities thanks largely to The Boldt Company and other community supporters and sponsors.


For a full list of upcoming events in the Boldt Arts Alive! Series visit our website. Become a Boldt Arts Alive! Season Ticket Holder to enjoy the magic all year-long and find out more about becoming a supporter of the series when you become an Annual Partner.

Which Arts Alive! show are you most excited about this season?


Your chance to meet Peta Murgatroyd and other “DWTS” pros

The Fox Cities Performing Arts Center is excited to announce that Peta Murgatroyd is joining the Fox Cities engagement of Ballroom with a Twist!


Peta is locally well-known as the dancer who held up the Mirror Ball trophy with Donald Driver in Season 14 of “Dancing with the Stars.” Peta has also been a part of the Red Cross’ Dancing with Our Stars in Green Bay where she will judge again this year.

Not only are we excited about Peta coming to the Fox Cities, we are also very pleased to announce there will be an opportunity for fans to meet their favorite dancing pros.

Peta, along with previously announced Sharna Burgess, Val Chmerkovwkiy, Tony Dovolani and Emma Slater, will be participating in a meet ‘n greet onstage after the performance for special VIP ticket holders.

You must first have a ticket to Ballroom with a Twist before being able to purchase the VIP meet ‘n greet. VIP passes are $200 per person and include a professional photographer who will capture your moment with the stars as well as the opportunity for autographs. Tickets for the event go on sale to the general public on Oct. 27 and can only be purchased by calling the Ticket Office at (920) 730-3760.

Which dancing pro would you be most excited to snap a selfie with?

National Acrobats of the People’s Republic of China stun sold-out Roberts Hall

image8Written by Kyle Grant of Rhode Island College’s student-run newspaper The Anchor.

With every single seat taken in the Roberts Hall Auditorium, the National Acrobats of the Peoples Republic of China came into the fourth installment of the Performing Arts Series with high expectations. However, by the end of the night these talented acrobats not only propelled beyond the hype surrounding this sold-out show, but put on the best performance to hit RIC so far this semester.

Based out of Beijing, the National Acrobats from the P.R.C. is a compilation of the most talented performers from one of the world’s largest nations. Featuring performances in ballet, plate spinning, tumbling, contortionism, juggling, diabolos and much more, the National Acrobats’ wide array of styles made each performance fresh and unique, with no two performances alike and all featuring talented artists.

An opening ceremony with regal music blaring introduced the audience to the National Acrobats. Then, two dancers took the stage in a performance called ‘In the Moonlight,’ which started off as a traditional ballet. However, the female dancer was soon hoisted up by the actor, and the audience gasped in amazement as she danced her ballet on the shoulders, arms and even head of her male counterpart. The breathtaking blend of Eastern and Western dance sent chills down the spines of the audience and although the performance seemed unbeatable it was just the beginning of a thrilling night.

As the night progressed the stunts and tricks performed by the artists got more and more unbelievable. Contortionists bent and flexed their bodies in ways that seemed to defy the human anatomy, acrobats made leaps and tumbles that made one question the laws of physics and many of these acrobats laughed in the face of gravity.

Skillful bodies were not the only thing on display at the National Acrobats; performances with props were equally as bold. Jugglers, plate-spinners, bowl balancing and other acts were as thrilling as the acrobats themselves and many of these acts weaved acrobatic skill into the mix to make the performance. One performance using diabolos, a juggling technique where a bowl is whirled on a string held by two sticks, really caught the crowd’s attention.