Thursday, December 27, 2012

Inspiring Our Educators

Partnership Inspires Educators with Arts Integrated Teaching Techniques

It's back to school today, and the Fox Cities P.A.C. has a wealth of inspiration for educators as they take their spots at the head of the class.

This school year, the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center and the Appleton Area School District have teamed up to inspire educators with the arts in Classroom Connections

Educators in any subject, from any school in any district can benefit from Classroom Connections!

For ten years, the Center has welcomed students to daytime education series performances that tie to Wisconsin Model Academic Standards. Now, with the help of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the arts can make learning and teaching more exciting than ever right inside the classroom.

The Classroom Connections workshops listed below are open to all educators from any district. Discover how the arts can engage your classroom and make your job as a teacher even more fulfilling.

To reserve your spot, call (920) 730-3764 or


The Drama of Science  
Workshop Leader: Karen Erickson
For Educators of Grades 1-8
Date: Tuesday, January 15, 4:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Location: Fox Cities Performing Arts Center
Fee: $20 / AASD Staff or $25 / Wisconsin Educators
Integrating the concepts of both science and drama into the classroom, Karen Erickson, teaches educators how to transform science classes into active, student-centered explorations. Focusing on earth science, mechanical science and biology, educators will learn new techniques through expressive movement, drama and enacted story. Participants will also examine classroom management techniques and learn how to build group dynamics within their classrooms. Erickson, a theater educator from Chicago, will guide participants as they explore the common threads of science and art. 
Writing the Hero's Journey: Building Writing Skills
Through Storytelling and Oral Language
Workshop Leader: Stuart Stotts
For Educators of Grades 4-8
Date: Thursday, February 21, 4:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Location: Fox Cities Performing Arts Center
Fee: $20 / AASD Staff or $25 / Wisconsin Educators

Through this workshop, educators will discover how the arts can open the literary world and introduce students to a style of writing beyond the page. Oral storytelling allows organization, descriptive language, voice and sentence fluency to come more easily for students as their creations become a living piece of work. Using the story form of a hero’s journey, Wisconsin native Stuart Stotts, will demonstrate prewriting methods and teach a process for helping students develop stories. His techniques will encourage students to draw on their creative thinking and oral communication abilities. Stotts is a Kennedy Center teaching artist as well as a nationally recognized, award winning songwriter, storyteller, and author from Madison, Wisconsin.
These workshops were developed in association with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and are partially underwritten by the U.S. Department of Education and the National Committee for the Performing Arts.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Broadway Buzz: Dream the Dream on Christmas Day

Cameron Mackintosh has a present for theater fans everywhere on December 25. 

It's opening day of the new "Les Misérables" film starring Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried and a host of other talented Broadway-loving actors. 

Based on a 1862 novel by Victor Hugo, Les Misérables has stood the test of time. It first opened in London's West End in 1985 and on Broadway two years later. Since then, it has toured the world for more than 60 million people in 42 countries to see, including a tour stop at the Fox Cities P.A.C. just last year.

Still Les Misérables isn't the only project keeping Mackintosh busy these days. According to, a film version of Miss Saigon may not be far behind.

Thanks Cameron Mackintosh! You knew just what to get us this year.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

REVIEW: Catch Me If You Can Soars Says The Post-Crescent

The review is in for Catch Me If You Can at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center, and it's glowing! 

In fact, Post-Crescent reviewer Carrie Gruman-Trinkner suggests the Broadway show is the best cure for holiday stress this week. Don't miss your chance to see this high-flying hit playing tonight through Sunday, December 23!

Monday, December 17, 2012

The True Story of Catch Me If You Can

Frank Abagnale Jr. is an expert on fraud, scams, deception and beating the system. Between the ages of 16 and 21, he forged and cashed $2.5 million worth of bad checks in the United States and 26 other countries, while successfully passing himself off as an airline pilot for Pan Am, a doctor, a college professor and a lawyer. He was ultimately caught, as he always knew he would be, and served time in French, Swedish and American prisons.

Abagnale’s adventures were immortalized, and somewhat fictionalized, in Steven Spielberg’s 2002 film Catch Me If You Can, with Leonardo DiCaprio starring as the young con man and Tom Hanks playing the FBI agent who pursued him. The movie, based on a ghost-written autobiography, inspired a 2011 Broadway musical of the same name – score by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, book by Terrence McNally, direction by Jack O’Brien and choreography by Jerry Mitchell – which is now touring the country.

It’s easy to understand why great storytellers have been attracted to this period in Abagnale’s life. His capers were colorful, improbable, glamorous, ingenious and exciting. With each chase, with each con, there was also the element of suspense: Would he get away with it? How would he get away with it? It’s a tale that practically begged to be told on screen and on stage.

The real Frank Abagnale, Jr. with the stars of Catch Me If You Can, Merritt David Jones
(Agent Carl Hanratty) and Stephen Anthony (Frank Abagnale, Jr.)

Abagnale’s life on the lam is the most entertaining part of his story – but it’s not the best part of his story. It may not even be the most remarkable part of his story. What Abagnale has done since leaving behind his life of crime is both mind-boggling and inspiring. He has used his knowledge as a counterfeiter and scam artist to stop criminals and protect law-abiding citizens, initially working with the FBI – which was part of his parole agreement – and then by developing a host of fraud prevention programs that are used by more than 14,000 financial institutions, corporations and law enforcement agencies. “Those are the amazing things to me about my life,” he says, “not what I did so many years ago.”

He didn’t set out to be a con artist when he ran away from home to New York City following his parents’ divorce. “It started out as survival,” he says. “I was 16 and tried to get jobs working in a store, like a delivery boy, and I realized they weren’t going to pay me anything. I knew I looked older, and I thought that if I lied about my age, if people thought I was ten years older, they’d pay me more.”

But as the film and musical indicate, Abagnale was resourceful and very smart, and he began to figure out ways – none of them legal – to make great sums of money, more than he ever dreamed. “I’ve always said that the two reasons for my success were that I was very creative and very observant,” he says. “I saw things that no one paid attention to. I was able to look at things and figure out ways around them. I think I got away with a lot of things because I was an adolescent; I had no fear of being caught. And like most adolescents, I wasn’t thinking about the consequences.”

He didn’t have nearly as much fun as the Frank Abagnale of stage and screen. “It’s a very lonely life,” he says. “Everyone you meet thinks you’re somebody else. I couldn’t confide in anybody. I was this teenage boy out on his own, and I cried myself to sleep many nights. Everyone I associated with thought I was their peer, but they were ten years older than I. So I was constantly having to act like an adult.

“I was also being chased, and I knew I had to stay one step ahead,” he continues. “At one point it became a game between me and the FBI agent as to who was going to outsmart who. But you grow up and mature and you realize you don’t want to live the rest of your life like that. I always knew I’d get caught: I didn’t have it in me to give myself up, but I knew it was a matter of time before they would catch up with me. And there’s great relief when you’re caught because it’s over. When I look back on my life, even knowing where it has brought me, I would never want to have to live that over again.”

Abagnale was 21 years old and living under an assumed name in France when the French police caught him and imprisoned him for six months under horrific conditions. He then spent six months in a Swedish jail, and was subsequently deported to the United States. Before American authorities could take him into custody he ran away again, escaping through the service area of the plane – not by disemboweling a plane’s toilet, as in the movie. “I was desperate, but not that desperate,” he says. He was desperate because he was terrified. “I thought I might go to prison for 20 years or for the rest of my life. Having experienced prison, I got very scared, and that’s why I tried to escape. I had no idea whether American prisons were like French prisons.”

He was eventually caught and sentenced to 12 years in jail. But after four years he was paroled, on the condition that he would use his expertise teaching and working undercover for the FBI. “I didn’t come out of prison saying, ‘I’m a changed person, I will never do this again,’” he says. “The truth is that this was a way to get my freedom. I didn’t know what I would do, or whether I would go straight.”

It was during one of his undercover assignments that Abagnale met Kelly, the woman who would become his wife. “She was working on her master’s degree, writing a paper and doing an internship at this institution where I was undercover,” he says. “I met her under this phony name, and started dating her. On my last day, I took her to the park and said, ‘I would really like to continue to see you, but I have to explain that I’m not this person, this is not what I do for a living. I work for the government and I’ve been here on assignment.’ I broke protocol, which you’re never supposed to do. But she listened to me, and she literally changed my life. She believed in me, she had faith in me, and she married me against the wishes of her parents, who eventually came to love me. She saw something in me that other people probably never saw. She gave me three beautiful children. I am who I am and I am and where I am because of the love of a woman, and the respect three sons have for their father. “

With Kelly in his life, Abagnale’s redemption truly began. When his obligation to the FBI was completed, he was asked to remain on. “I didn’t want to stay on as an employee of the government, because there were things I wanted to do that I’d be restricted from doing, like writing books and educating people about crime,” he says. “I also had a lot of technology ideas that I wanted to develop, but I knew that if I did them while working for the government, the technology would become government property.” So he became a contract employee, working as a consultant and teaching at the FBI Academy – where one of his students was his oldest son, now an FBI agent.

Abagnale works with the FBI to this day, and became lifelong friends with the agent who relentlessly pursued him, Joseph Shea – known as Carl Hanratty in the movie and the musical – who died in 2005. He has his own business, Abagnale & Associates, a security consulting firm, and is considered to be a leading authority in the field. He is a dynamic, much sought-after lecturer, and a self-made millionaire – legitimately. Just as surprising, he serves on the advisory board of Wild Wings International, the philanthropic organization of former Pan Am flight attendants. “Who would have dreamed that?” he says. “Only in America could something like this happen.”

Yet he lives with his past everyday. And although three presidents have offered to pardon him, he has turned them down. “I respectfully declined,” he says, “because I truly believe that a piece of paper cannot excuse my actions. I don’t think it works that way. I made some mistakes in my life and I have to live with them. I know people are fascinated by what I did between the ages of 16 and 21. But what amazes me is where my life went when I came out of prison. I try to do the right thing, and I hope that in the end I’ll be judged for that.”

Posted with permission from Allied Live

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Holiday Poster Sale Today!

We Have a Perfect Gift for the Arts Enthusiast in Your Life!
Autographed Posters Make Great Holiday Gifts!
Saturday, December 15, 2012
10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Fox Cities Performing Arts Center
Ticket Office Lobby
For one day only, the Center will have the doors open for you to purchase signed show posters and Ovation show programs from many memorable productions!

Prices range from $25-$75, and
can be purchased with cash, check or credit card.

 Can't make it today? You can purchase now by contacting the
Fox Cities P.A.C. at (920) 730-3782 or

Friday, December 14, 2012

A Game of Cat and Mouse

Catch Me If You Can arrives next week at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center, just in time for the holidays. 

A fun break from the holiday hustle, this splashy Broadway hit has a lot of heart in addition to lots of glitz and glam. 

Young Frank is living the high life as a conman bouncing checks. Carl, an FBI workaholic, has his eyes on the prize - a conviction. It's a whirlwind chase "Live in Living Color," and as reviews from the tour report, "The cat and mouse deserve to hog the spotlight." 


Great seats for Catch Me If You Can start at $54. Visit today!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Broadway Buzz: The Stars Align on Broadway This Fall

We tend to think of new Broadway shows in the spring during the run up to the Tony Awards, but there are exciting new performances happening right now. Star-studded casts are taking the stage in a number of shows. Read and watch the previews below, and tell us, which Hollywood star do you hope to see in the Broadway spotlight?

Opening Night: November 29, 2012
Dead Accounts led the way this fall with oodles of buzz about its leading stars: actress Katie Holmes and two-time Tony Award® winner Norbert Leo Butz. Written by Theresa Rebeck and directed by Jack O’Brien, the comedic plot is said to have no shortage of curve balls (including a $27 million secret) as a self-made New Yorker returns to Cincinnati to catch up with his sister.

Opening Night: December 6, 2012
Wisconsin’s own golden boy, Tony Shalhoub plays the father of a young violin prodigy and would-be boxer named Joe. Joe, played by War Horse’s Seth Numrich, takes a chance with every punch, risking his musical fingers as he searches for his ticket to success. Seventy-five years after its premiere on Broadway, Director Bartlett Sher has brought this sweeping Depression Era back to life in grand fashion.
Opening Night: December 8, 2012
Al Pacino takes on the role of Shelly Levine in David Mamet’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Glengarry Glen Ross. It’s a 30th Anniversary production, but the quest for the American dream in a cutthroat real estate office rings as true as ever. With tickets in hot demand, Pacino’s star power is drawing a lot of attention, but according to Variety, the real show-stopper is actor Bobby Cannavale, most recently seen in HBO’s “Broadwalk Empire.”
Previews Begin: December 11, 2012
Opening Night: January 10, 2013
Actress Laurie Metcalf (“Roseanne,” “The Big Bang Theory”) stars as Juliana Smithton in this Broadway thriller written by Sharr White and directed by Joe Mantello (WICKED, Other Dessert Cities). Juliana’s successful life as a neurologist comes apart at the seams as the facts of her life begin to blur and the truth finally comes out.

Previews Begin: December 14
Opening Night: January 13, 2013
Roundabout Theater Company’s latest revival, Picnic, sets the stage as a group of Midwestern women prepare for a Labor Day picnic, just as a handsome young drifter becomes the center of attention. Roundabout’s Artistic Director Todd Haimes describes William Inge’s characters as living quiet lives which, “quickly move from a simmer to a boil, and all it takes is one tiny spark… to make everything explode.” Watch for reviews of this exciting revival in January 2013!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

"It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas"

Nothing sparks the holiday spirit like Miracle on 34th Street. For many, the film is a yearly tradition, but did you know it has a long history onstage too?

In 1963 Meredith Willson (The Music Man, The Unsinkable Molly Brown) wrote the book, music and lyrics for a new Broadway show called Here's Love based on "Miracle on 34th Street." 

With songs like "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas" and other festive favorites, the show was a hit and had everyone, not just Susan, believing in the holiday spirit.

On Tuesday, December 11, Willson's creation will be brought to life again onstage at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center in Appleton. Great seats are still available, so gather the family together for a special holiday show!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Annual Partners Are Like Snowflakes

With giving levels starting at $50, become an Annual Partner this holiday season and add to the excitement at the Fox Cities P.A.C.

Annual Partners:
  • Are Unique
    Annual Partners include people of all ages, backgrounds and interests who give from the heart.
  • Support a Common Cause
    While giving at many levels and for many different reasons, Annual Partners want to support live performing arts in the Fox Cities.
  • Make a Big Impact 
    The more, the merrier. Together, support from Annual Partners creates a theater wonderland!
Learn More
Discover how you can make an impact at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center. Visit to learn more and make a gift online!