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.
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.”
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.
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
Jan. 17-22, 2017
A Roundabout Theatre Company Production
Feb. 28 – March 5, 2017
April 17-22, 2017
May 12-14, 2017
Beautiful — The Carole King Musical
May 30 – June 4, 2017
Aug. 30 – Sept. 10, 2017