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Fox Cities P.A.C. presents ‘Beautiful’ lineup

Posted on March 2, 2016 by Amy Hanson
A crowd of nearly 1,000 people gathered at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center Wednesday evening for The Reveal, the announcement of the 2016-17 season lineup.

A crowd of nearly 1,000 people gathered at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center in Appleton Wednesday evening for The Reveal, the announcement of the 2016-17 season lineup. Photo by Courtney Martin

It was a “Beautiful” announcement tonight of the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center’s 2016-17 Season with new hits and returning favorites slated to take the stage as part of a lineup including 16 titles in the Fox Cities P.A.C. Presents Season Ticket Package and eight Broadway shows in the Kimberly-Clark Broadway Across America — Fox Cities Series, including “Beautiful — The Carole King Musical.”

The season was unveiled to a combination of Season Ticket Holders, donors and guests at The Reveal. This is the fifth annual event announcing the anticipated show lineups.

Bob Bucci, president of the marketing for Broadway Across America, and Maria Van Laanen, president of the Fox Cities Performing, announce the 2016-17 Kimberly-Clark Broadway Across America — Fox Cities Series Wednesday night during The Reveal at the Fox Cities P.A.C.

Bob Bucci, president of the marketing division for Broadway Across America, and Maria Van Laanen, president of the Fox Cities P.A.C., announce the 2016-17 Kimberly-Clark Broadway Across America — Fox Cities Series Wednesday night during The Reveal. Photo by Courtney Martin

As Fox Cities P.A.C. President Maria Van Laanen said, what makes The Center so powerful is building the programs and partnerships it offers to reach more individuals in the community. That, however, couldn’t be done without the assistance of donors.

“It’s being here live that makes the experience so special,” Van Laanen shared with the crowd of nearly 1,000 that had gathered. “Partnerships are so vital to any success.”

As Van Laanen’s guest emcee, Bob Bucci, expressed, “Maria and her team work so tirelessly to bring you the best in entertainment year round.” Bucci, president of the marketing division for Broadway Across America, offered humor and his enthusiasm to The Reveal.

This year’s initiative, Fox Cities P.A.C. Presents Series, combines the returning Boldt Arts Alive! Series, with all shows taking place in Thrivent Financial Hall, and the new Spotlight Series centered on intimate and interactive experiences in the Kimberly-Clark Theater.

“It is such a key cornerstone to our mission,” Van Laanen said of the Boldt Arts Alive! Series. A highlight of this year’s season will be the kickoff, which will be a joint effort with the Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra as they celebrate their 50th anniversary. Violin virtuoso Itzhak Perlman will join the celebration as he brings his award-winning talent to the Fox Cities. Other anticipated titles include Grammy Award-winner Darlene Love, Vienna Boys Choir’s “Smile” and Neil Simon Festival’s “Driving Miss Daisy” to name a few.

Spectrum Dance Theater was the first of four live sneak peek performances held during The Reveal. Donald Byrd, the company’s artistic director, spoke about how he became involved with dance at a young age.

“The thing that drew me to dance is the way people communicate with their bodies,” he said. “I love what it asked of me.” As Byrd noted, people can “connect in an immediate and visceral way” with dance.

In complement to the Arts Alive! Series, the Spotlight Series will feature four performances. The Reveal’s audience seemed taken with the hilarious antics of The Irish Comey Tour as chuckles came at the previewed punchlines.

Fox Cities P.A.C. Presents Season Ticket Holders will be able to select four or more performances from either of these series to create their personal lineup.

The first Broadway show of the evening to be announced is said to include some dazzling special effects and as Van Laanen stated, “This Broadway production tells the story behind the story.”

“Finding Neverland,” coming April 17-22, 2017, is based on the story of how J.M. Barries’ tale of “Peter Pan” came to be written. The Fox Cities P.A.C. will make Appleton one of the first cities to have the show direct from Broadway.

Actress Trista Moldovan, who has played the role of Christine in the Broadway production of “The Phantom of the Opera,” performed “All That Matters.”

Maria Van Laanen and Bob Bucci have some fun while dressed as nuns to announce "The Sound of Music" as part of the 2016-17 Season.

Maria Van Laanen and Bob Bucci have some fun while dressed as nuns to announce “The Sound of Music” as part of the 2016-17 Season. Photo by Courtney Martin

Of course, antics ensued when both Van Laanen and Bucci appeared onstage dressed as nuns to announce “The Sound of Music” would be part of the season when it  comes Dec. 13-18.

“I ask you, ‘how do you solve a problem like Maria?’” Bucci joked. Actress Daniella Dalli treated the audience to “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” following a preview clip of the show.

“The Bodyguard” (Jan. 17-22, 2017) and “Cabaret” (Feb. 28-March 5, 2017) also are included in the Broadway show selections.

Actress Sarah Bockel performed “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” and “Beautiful.” Photo by Courtney Martin

Actress Sarah Bockel performed “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” and “Beautiful.” Photo by Courtney Martin

Rounding out this year’s lineup is “Beautiful — The Carole King Musical,” which will run May 30-June 4, 2017.

“It’s more than just a live concert, it tells the beautiful story of Carole King’s life,” Van Laanen shared.

Actress Sarah Bockel performed “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” and “Beautiful.”

As the evening’s festivities began to draw to a close, the excitement didn’t end as the familiar doorbell from “The Book of Mormon” sounded and soon thereafter, it was revealed that not only would it return, but also season specials will include return engagements of both “Mamma Mia!” and “Wicked.”

But, “Mamma Mia!,” which holds a special spot in the history of the Fox Cities P.A.C. as its first Broadway show and first Wisconsin premiere title, will make one last run on The Center’s stage. In 13 years, The Center has hosted 27 Wisconsin premieres. As a stop on the Farewell Tour of “Mamma Mia!,” Van Laanen is looking forward to it coming full circle and the season as a whole.

“That’s the hard thing. I get excited about so many of the shows for different reasons,” she shared, but she is thrilled and suprised by “Finding Neverland” “and the fact that we were able to win this one-week engagement.”

For more information about the 2016-17 Season, packages and pricing, visit foxcitiespac.com.

The 2016-17 Spotlight Series includes: 
Sonny Knight & The Lakers
Nov. 17, 2016

Cabaret with Janis Siegel
Feb. 16-17, 2017

The Irish Comedy Tour
March 14, 2017

The Slocan Ramblers
March 31, 2017

The 2016-17 Boldt Arts Alive! Series includes:
Itzhak Perlman with the Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra
Sept. 28, 2016

Art of Time Ensemble Performs Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
with Andrew Burashko, Artistic Director and featuring Steven Page, Wesley Stace (AKA John Wesley Harding), Craig Northey and Andy Maize
Oct. 11, 2016

13th Annual Fox Cities Choral Music Festival
Oct. 18, 2016

The Havana Cuba All-Stars: The Asere Friendship Tour
Nov. 1, 2016

Darlene Love: Love for the Holidays
Dec. 2, 2016

Nebraska Theatre Caravan’s A Christmas Carol
Dec. 8, 2016

Spectrum Dance Theater
Feb. 10, 2017

Vienna Boys Choir: Smile
Feb. 24, 2017

Shaolin Warriors: The Legend Continues
March 9, 2017

The Intergalactic Nemesis, A Live-Action Graphic Novel
March 15, 2017

Kennedy Center Theater For Young Audiences on Tour
Elephant & Piggie’s We Are In A Play!
April 8, 2017

Neil Simon Festival’s Driving Miss Daisy
April 27, 2017

The 2016-17 Kimberly-Clark Broadway Across America – Fox Cities Series includes:
The Book of Mormon
Oct. 4-9, 2016

The Sound of Music
Dec. 13-18, 2016

The Bodyguard
Jan. 17-22, 2017

Cabaret
A Roundabout Theatre Company Production
Feb. 28 – March 5, 2017

Finding Neverland
April 17-22, 2017

Mamma Mia!
May 12-14, 2017

Beautiful — The Carole King Musical
May 30 – June 4, 2017

Wicked
Aug. 30 – Sept. 10, 2017

Arts & Culture

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