Tag: Broadway musical

From Holiday to “Hamilton,” the coming months in Appleton look glorious

Publicity photo of "Hamilton" performance.
“Hamilton” to come to Fox Cities Performing Arts Center in October.

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

If entertainment offerings in or near Lawrence University are a big part of campus life — and they are — we are in for a spectacular 14 months ahead.

We’ll define “near Lawrence” to mean downtown Appleton, 100% walkability.

Lawrence unveiled its 2019-20 Performing Arts Series earlier this month. The Fox Cities Performing Arts Center released its spectacular 2019-20 Broadway lineup a few weeks ago. And the Mile of Mile Music crew just announced plans for Mile 7.

All we can say is, where do we get in line?

We can’t do them all, of course, but the options look glorious. We’ve highlighted 20 shows to circle on the calendar. This doesn’t include all the great live music available on a regular basis in the downtown area, the weekly farmer’s market, other arts offerings, or all the great theater and music performances at Lawrence.

But these 20 have us pretty fired up.

1: John Holiday, faculty recital, 8 p.m. May 1, Lawrence Memorial Chapel: We’re starting with something that should definitely not slide under the radar. Holiday is one of the Conservatory of Music’s brightest lights. He’s a rising national star in the opera world and has significant chops as a jazz vocalist as well. After giving this recital – and it’s free – his upcoming schedule includes performances at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, shows in England, Shanghai and Switzerland and dates with the Metropolitan Opera in New York and the Los Angeles Opera. Joining him May 1 will be Mark Urness (double bass), Dane Richeson (drums), Andrew Crooks (piano) and Neeki Bey (piano).

Portrait of John Holiday
John Holiday

2: Derek Hough: Live! The Tour, 7:30 p.m. May 19, Fox Cities Performing Arts Center: This one is for the ballroom dancers out there. It’s a solo tour from the dancer who helped put “Dancing with the Stars” on the map.

3: Lawrence University Jazz Ensemble, 8 p.m. May 22, Lawrence Memorial Chapel: Fresh off its back-to-back DownBeat Awards, the LUJE highlights the incredible quality of musicianship up and down the roster in the Conservatory of Music. And May is a month where the Conservatory is on full display. Take your pick from a full calendar of Conservatory concerts.

4: John Prine, 8 p.m. May 24, Fox Cities Performing Arts Center: One of the greatest singer-songwriters to ever pick up a guitar, Prine returns to the PAC on the heels of his Grammy-nominated album, “The Tree of Forgiveness.”

5: Mile of Music, Aug. 1-4, downtown Appleton: The festival features more than 900 performances in 70 venues in and around College Avenue. It’s the seventh year of the all-original music festival that has grown into one of Wisconsin’s premier music events. Lawrence plays a big role, with the Conservatory faculty leading the music education portion of the festival. Best of all, most of the performances — mostly up-and-coming artists from around the country — are free.  

6: Nick Offerman, All Rise tour, 7:30 p.m. Sept. 11, Fox Cities Performing Arts Center: In the spirit of this standup show coming to Appleton, we quote (but don’t necessarily endorse) Ron Swanson, Offerman’s “Parks & Recreation” character: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Don’t teach a man to fish, and you feed yourself. He’s a grown man. Fishing isn’t that hard.”

7: Octoberfest, College Avenue, downtown Appleton, Sept. 28: The annual downtown bash ends the summer festival season with a bevy of live music, food and drink that takes over College Avenue with a mass of humanity. Look for the annual License to Cruise on Friday night, then the Octoberfest party all day Saturday. See info here.

8: “Hamilton,” Oct. 1-20, Fox Cities Performing Arts Center: Yes, it’s that “Hamilton.” We’ve been waiting two years since the announcement that the Broadway juggernaut is coming to Appleton. Season tickets are on sale now but individual tickets won’t go on sale until much closer to fall. An on-sale date has yet to be announced. Also, watch for information on possible Student Rush tickets for this and other shows at the PAC.

9: Brooklyn Rider, 8 p.m. Oct. 4, Lawrence Memorial Chapel: This is the kickoff of the Artist Series portion of the Performing Arts Series. A string quartet that melds classical, world and rock sounds. (Season tickets for the series are on sale now; single show tickets go on sale Sept. 17, 920-832-6749, boxoffice@lawrence.edu.)

10: Lawrence University Studio Orchestra, 7:30 p.m. Nov. 8, Lawrence Memorial Chapel: The Friday night kickoff to the Fred Sturm Jazz Celebration Weekend will put the talents of Lawrence music faculty and students on full display. The Jazz Ensemble and Symphony Orchestra will be doing a combo, filled with jazz classics and plenty of improvisation.

11: Miguel Zenon Quartet, 7:30 p.m. Nov. 9, Lawrence Memorial Chapel: The Saturday night of Fred Sturm Jazz Celebration Weekend features this multiple Grammy nominee from San Juan who is considered a groundbreaking saxophonist.

12: “The Phantom of the Opera,” Dec. 4-15, Fox Cities Performing Arts Center: The musical, a classic loved by some, loathed by others, returns to Appleton as part of the PAC’s Broadway series.

13: Blue Man Group, Jan. 24-26, Fox Cities Performing Arts Center: Performance art in the shade of blue. It’s a spectacle.

14: Bill Frisell: Harmony featuring Petra Haden, Hank Roberts, and Luke Bergman, 8 p.m. Feb. 7, Lawrence Memorial Chapel: Frisell, a prolific guitarist, will lead this group through a range of blues and popular American traditions. It’s part of LU’s Jazz Series.

Portrait of Tine Thing Helseth
Tine Thing Helseth

15: Tine Thing Helseth, 8 p.m. Feb. 28, Lawrence Memorial Chapel: A Norwegian trumpet soloist with a rock star following. Also part of the Artist Series.

16: Anderson & Roe Piano Duo, 8 p.m. April 3, Lawrence Memorial Chapel: A high-energy piano duo that is part of the Artist Series. The Miami Herald referred to them as “rock stars of the classical music world.”

17: Melody Moore, 8 p.m. April 18, Memorial Chapel: A soprano who has been drawing raves on some of the top opera stages in the world. Our own John Holiday hails her as “thoughtful, engaging and fiercely talented.” Part of the Artist Series.

18: Tigran Hamasyan Trio, 8 p.m. May 1, 2020, Lawrence Memorial Chapel: A pianist and composer with a jazz-meets-rock sound that has drawn wide praise. Lawrence’s Jose Encarnacion calls him “one of the most remarkable and distinctive jazz piano virtuosos of his generation.” His performance is part of the Jazz Series.

19: “The Band’s Visit,” May 5-10, 2020, Fox Cities Performing Arts Center: The sixth of seven shows on the PAC’s Broadway lineup, this is a touring version of the musical that won 10 Tonys in 2018. It’s based on a 2007 Israeli film.

Publicity photo of "Dear Evan Hansen" performance.
“Dear Evan Hansen”

20: “Dear Evan Hansen,” June 23-28, 2020, Fox Cities Performing Arts Center: The finale of the PAC’s Broadway season, this musical tells the emotionally rich tale of a lonely teen who becomes a social media sensation, all quite by accident. For a full listing of shows at the PAC, visit here.

Ed Berthiaume is director of public information at Lawrence University. Email: ed.c.berthiaume@lawrence.edu

Interfaith panel to explore themes in the film “Easter Mysteries”

John O'Boyle
John O’Boyle

The Easter narrative will be explored through a screening of the 2016 musical feature film “Easter Mysteries” followed by an interfaith panel discussion Wednesday, Nov. 8 at 6 p.m. in Lawrence University’s Warch Campus Center cinema. The event is free and open to the public.

John O’Boyle, a 1969 Lawrence graduate, will introduce the film, for which he was the lead producer. He also wrote the music, libretto and lyrics for the film. Featuring a culturally diverse cast of talented roadway veterans who have appeared in such hits as “Les Miserables,” “Porgy and Bess” “Phantom of the Opera” among others, “Easter Mysteries” is the first depiction of Christ’s death and resurrection told through the eyes of the disciple Peter.

The film shines new light on the Biblical story of Jesus Christ in human terms: ordinary people with hopes, dreams and fears, uncertain of what lies ahead, but in following his journey to the cross and eventual resurrection, they learn the valuable lesson of love.

O’Boyle is a two-time Tony Award-winning producer of a host of Broadway plays. He earned won Tony Awards for “La Cage aux Folles” in 2010 and “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” in 2013.

He also has produced Broadway productions of August Wilson’s “Radio Golf,” Mark Twain’s “Is He Dead?,” “A Catered Affair,”“Glory Days,” “Elling,” and “It Shoulda Been You” and a stage production of “Marguerite” in London.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in theatre at Lawrence, O’Boyle earned a master of fine arts degree in direction from Catholic University.

Rev. Mike Goodwin
Rev. Mike Goodwin

Jerry Zabronsky
Jerry Zabronsky

Elliot Ratzman
Elliot Ratzman

Following the film, Linda Morgan-Clement, Julie Esch Hurvis Dean of Spiritual and Religious Life, will moderate a panel discussion focused on the film’s intent to tell the Easter narrative in a way that removes some of the historically anti-Semitic overtones while inviting Jewish-Christian dialogue.

Joining Morgan-Clement on the panel will be Rev. Mike Goodwin of Appleton’s Memorial Presbyterian Church; Jerry Zabronsky, president of Appleton’s Moses Montefiore Synagogue; Elliot Ratzman, postdoctoral fellow of Jewish studies in Lawrence’s religious studies department; Lawrence senior Ellen Jacobson and junior Rebecca Bernheimer.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.


From Blues to Broadway: Six-week Series Explores History of America’s Music

Think of it as that really cool college course on American pop music you never had a chance to take.

Lawrence University opens a six-week program — “America’s Music: A Film History of Our Popular Music from Blues to Bluegrass to Broadway” — Thursday, Jan. 31 at 6:30 p.m. featuring documentary film screenings and scholar-led discussions of 20th-century American popular music.

Each weekly session will begin with an introduction to the film and musical topic by Lawrence Visiting Assistant Professor of Music Erica Scheinberg. The film screening (approximately 50 minutes) and audience discussion (45 minutes) follows. The series is free and open to the public. All programs will be held in Lawrence’s Warch Campus Center cinema except for the Feb. 28 session, which will be conducted at the Appleton Public Library.

Designed for a general audience, the “America’s Music” series examines six 20th-century American musical topics that are deeply connected to the history, culture and geography of the United States: blues and gospel; jazz; mambo and hip hop; rock n’ roll; bluegrass and country; and Broadway. The series allows participants the opportunity to learn how today’s cultural landscape has been influenced by the development of the popular musical forms through film excerpts and interactive discussion.

“American popular music is a particularly exciting topic for a film and discussion series,” said Scheinberg.  “We’ve all experienced the ways that music moves us, triggers memories, creates a sense of shared experience and community. But music also has a lot to tell us about the particular time and place in which it was created — the social, political and cultural forces that shaped it.

“The America’s Music series welcomes community members of all ages, backgrounds and experiences to watch and discuss music documentaries that portray the sights and sounds of a diverse array of artists and musical styles,” Scheinberg added. “It’s an opportunity to explore American history and to share and reflect upon our own experiences as music listeners.”

The onset of the 20th-century brought pervasive changes to American society. During the early part of the century, these social changes combined with new technologies to create a mass market for popular music that evolved over the next 100 years.

Each weekly screening and discussion session examines a musical topic in the context of key social and historical developments, with events in American music history acting as a catalyst for that examination.

In conjunction with the series and prior to the Feb. 28 program, the five-member Oshkosh-based bluegrass band Dead Horses will perform a free concert on Wednesday, Feb. 27 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. at the Appleton Public Library.

Lawrence was one of 50 sites nationally selected to host the “American Music” program. It is a project of the Tribeca Film Institute in collaboration with the American Library Association, Tribeca Flashpoint and the Society for American Music.

The “American Music” schedule:

 Jan. 31 — The Blues and Gospel Music, featuring excerpts from the films “Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues: Episode 1, Feel Like Going Home” and “Say Amen, Somebody,” Warch Campus Center cinema, 6:30 p.m.

Feb. 7 — Swing Jazz, featuring excerpts from the films “The Velocity of Celebration,” by Ken Burns and “International Sweethearts of Rhythm,” Warch Campus Center cinema, 6:30 p.m.

Feb. 14 — Latin Rhythms from Mambo to Hip-Hop, featuring excerpts from the films “Latin Music USA” and the documentary “From Mambo to Hip Hop: A South Bronx Tale,” Warch Campus Center cinema, 6:30 p.m.

Feb. 21 — Rock, featuring excerpts from the film “The History of Rock ‘n’ Roll,” Warch Campus Center cinema, 6:30 p.m.

Feb. 28 — Country and Bluegrass, featuring excerpts from the documentary “High Lonesome: The Story of Bluegrass Music,” Appleton Public Library, 6:30 p.m.

March 7 — Broadway and Tin Pan Alley, featuring “Syncopated City,” the second episode of the award-winning series “Broadway: The American Musical.”  This program is a prelude to the appearance of five-time Tony Award-winning singer Audra McDonald on the Lawrence University Artists Series, Sunday, March 10.  Warch Campus Center, 6:30 p.m.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2013 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries. Follow Lawrence on Facebook.