It is the evening of the Reveal at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center and we are EXCITED. We approach The Center and walk the red carpet into the building as the doors open at 5 p.m. Smiling Fox Cities P.A.C. employees donned in black tie greet us as we enter and congregate with other anxious Fox Valley community members in the lobby. The anticipation builds as we look around at the black tablecloth-covered tables with silver serving dishes and stacked white plates. Oh, and our palms are sweating profusely as we await the 2015-16 Fox Cities P.A.C. lineup.
We enter the crowded theater humming with the chatter of season ticketholders, business affiliates, sponsors, and all-around theater enthusiasts. Music is playing, but it’s a lot of energetic, perfectly enunciated singing so we assume it’s from a Broadway show. After noticing our confusion, our publisher, Ruth Ann Heeter, informs us that it’s from “Jersey Boys.” She then proceeds to tell us how much she loves Frankie Valli — we wish we understood the reference, but we’re 90s babies, so you can’t blame us.
Margaret’s point of view
Finally, the lights dim and the previews begin. I personally didn’t realize there would actually be live performances of songs from the upcoming shows, so when two of the performers from “Motown” broke into song after the video preview of the show, I was kind of blown away. They had such amazing energy and were clearly passionate about the story, which centers around Barry Gordy’s take on the origins of Motown.
Kristina’s point of view
Although every preview performance was spectacular, the most entertaining part for me is when Fox Cities P.A.C. President Maria Van Laanen and Bob Bucci, marketing division for Broadway Across America, don sparkling red, thigh-high boots to announce “Kinky Boots” as part of the upcoming season. As a tribute to the great state of Wisconsin, the marketing executive also breaks out a really nice pair of Green Bay Packer boxers to accompany the red boots. Really, he just looks like a walking Christmas present — a great advertising strategy, I must say.
The rest of the previews kept the excitement level at a continuous high. We Skyped with the Grinch, witnessed the makeover given to everyone’s favorite childhood story, “Cinderella,” and even got to hear the lead character in “Newsies” belt out “Santa Fe” — all months before their opening night! Along with the five shows premiering at the Fox Cities P.A.C., “Beauty and the Beast” and “Chicago” were announced as the returning shows for the season. If the 2015-16 season delivers the excitement it teased us with, we’re in for a sensational year.
— By Margaret Koss and Kristina Verhasselt