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Posts tagged ‘Wisconsin’

Broadway Fast 5: February


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. reported British actress Emma Thompson is in talks to play Mrs. Potts.




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!




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!

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.


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?

‘Tis the Season to head downtown

Downtown Appleton is the place to be for the holidays and we couldn’t be more excited to be involved! Here are a few ways you can get in the spirit with us as we count down the days!

Photo credit: Clinton Tuccio

Photo credit: Clinton Tuccio

A Christmas Story, The Musical
From Nov. 18-23 get in the holiday spirit with the classic film coming to life on stage. A Christmas Story The Musical has all of the same leg-lamp laughter and triple-dog-dare-flagpole-licking humor put to music. It’s a great family-friendly activity that will bring you in from the cold.

The 44th Annual Downtown Appleton Christmas Parade
Watch all of the lights march down College Ave. and maybe even catch a glimpse of Santa, the parade can be chilly but it’s a Christmas tradition! While some people have staked out their favorite seats for years, we’re partial to the ones right outside of our beautiful building, right in the middle of the action.

Small Business Saturday
Cookies and refreshments will be available in our lobby while you are out shopping the great deals downtown on Small Business Saturday Nov. 29. Don’t forget you can also pick up gift certificates for your friends, family members or colleagues from our ticket office! Or pick up a present for yourself and get tickets for your favorite upcoming performance at the Center!

Markoff Youth Ballet in the Nutcracker

Makaroff Youth Ballet in the Nutcracker

Makaroff Youth Ballet’s The Nutcracker
Holiday favorite The Nutcracker returns to the Center this season! Makaroff Youth Ballet in partnership with the Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra and Lawrence Academy Girl Choir will present the ballet Dec. 6 and 7.

Thrivent Financial’s Avenue of Ice
Thrivent Financial sponsors the Avenue of Ice with sculptors and pieces of art lining college avenue on Saturday Dec. 20. Make a point to walk the avenue and check out each one including in front of our building!

LorieLineLorie Line- The 25th Annual Christmas Special
Pianist Lorie Line is celebrating her 25th anniversary of touring by showing off her best holiday music. She will feature her Fab 5 and this year she is bringing a special vocalist to the stage. Don’t miss this special evening of music as Lorie celebrates a milestone year.

Don’t miss all of the other cool things happening downtown this holiday season! The full schedule can be found here.

What’s your favorite local holiday activity? 

What is #GivingTuesday?

We are thankful. We are grateful. We are appreciative.
We give back.



Around kitchen tables everywhere this Thanksgiving, people will remember all that they have to be thankful for this year and count their blessings of friends, family and all they have. Then on Black Friday and Cyber Monday let the holiday shopping commence! But not so fast, it doesn’t end there. A special day on the holiday calendar has taken off with popularity as a way to give back in recognition of all there is to be thankful for.

#GivingTuesday is a global campaign created to help foster the tradition of generosity. The first Tuesday after Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday is meant to encourage charitable giving at a time when nonprofits can really benefit.

As a nonprofit arts and cultural education organization, the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center relies on the financial support of individuals, businesses and foundations in order to present many of the diverse programs that enhance the arts experience in our community.

Whether it’s $1 or $100, every donation will assist in educating and entertaining people of all ages within the community.

Be a part of the giving movement this holiday season!

GT_Phone_2014Join in with thousands of others on this year’s #GivingTuesday now through Dec. 2 to support the mission of the Fox Cities P.A.C. You can donate online or by using our printable gift form. You can also contact (920) 730-3782 to learn more about how your charitable gift makes an impact.

Part of the #GivingTuesday campaign is to take an #unselfie. Print off our very own #unselfie sheet and snap a pic to share on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter to let everyone know that you are celebrating #GivingTuesday with the Center.

Anyone who chooses to participate in #GivingTuesday will be entered to win exclusive Fox Cities Performing Arts Center merchandise.

All proceeds benefit the Center’s mission and are tax deductible. The Fox Cities Performing Arts Center is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

Five reasons Brian Setzer rocks even more than you thought!

We are so excited to welcome Brian Setzer and his orchestra that we came up with 5 things people may not know that make Brian Setzer Rock even more than you may originally have thought!

BSOX approved photo1. Including hits like “Rock This Town,” “Stray Cat Strut,” and “Jump, Jive and Wail,” Setzer’s discography includes 45 recordings including 2 albums with the Bloodless Pharaohs, 7 songs with the Tomcats, 11 albums with the Stray Cats, 15 albums with the Brian Setzer Orchestra, 9 albums as a solo artist and one album released at the Brian Setzer ’68 Comeback Special.

2. Brian’s evocative replica “Stay Cat” 1959 6120 Gretsch is the latest inductee to the guitars in the Smithsonian Museum.

3. Brian Setzer has appeared in “The Nanny” and “The Simpsons” as himself.

4. Setzer composed and performed the theme song for the Disney cartoon show “House of Mouse.”

5. Setzer has earned three Grammy Awards and has been nominated 7 different times.

The Brian Setzer Orchestra will bring their Christmas Rocks Extravaganza! to the Fox Cities P.A.C. on Nov. 15. Get in the holiday spirit with the 18-piece Brian Setzer Orchestra and special guest The Record Company.

What song are you most anticipating to hear at the show?

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.