Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Getting to Know The Addams Family

The Addams Family is moving in February 26 - March 3 at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center, but before you put your house up for sale, let's say hello and get to know the man who created them, Charles Addams. 

The Broadway musical was inspired by the creations of the legendary American cartoonist Charles Addams, who lived from 1912 until 1988. In 1933, when he was just 21, his work was published in The New Yorker, and over the course of nearly six decades, he became one of the magazine’s most cherished contributors.

Bizarre, macabre and weird are all words that have been used to describe Charles Addams’ cartoons. Yet adjectives such as charming, enchanting and tender can just as accurately be employed to depict the same body of work, as well as the man himself.

His unique style and wonderfully crafted cartoons enabled his work to transcend such dichotomies for his millions of fans worldwide.

Charles Addams is most widely known for his characters that came to be called The Addams Family, a group that evolved into multiple television shows, motion pictures and now this Broadway musical. Gomez, Morticia, Uncle Fester, Wednesday, Pugsley, Grandma and Lurch existed in various forms and aspects of Addams’ cartoons dating back to the 1930’s but were not actually named by him until the early 1960’s, then the television series was created. 

Surprisingly, The Addams Family characters appear in only a small number of the artist’s several thousand works. The majority of his cartoons are occupied by hundreds of other characters, but there is little doubt that those that come to life on this stage are his most beloved creations.   

Over 15 books of his drawings have been published around the world, including the new collection, "The Addams Family: An Evilution," the first complete history of The Addams Family, including more than 200 cartoons, many never previously published. The collection also includes Addams’ own incisive character descriptions (originally penned for the benefit of the television show producers) that remind us where these oddly lovable characters came from and, in doing so, offer a lasting tribute to one of America’s greatest humorists.

Tickets for The Addams Family start at $54 and are on sale now!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Singer-Songwriter Justin Hines Shines With Natural Optimism

There’s a moment in every artist’s life when he knows that music is not only his path, but his destiny.  

For Canadian singer-songwriter Justin Hines who will perform next month at the Fox Cities P.A.C., his moment of realization came at the most unlikely of places – a Toronto Raptors’ basketball game in his hometown 15 years ago.

A then14-year-old Hines won a vocal competition to sing the National Anthem – both the Canadian and American – at the game and his world opened up before him. “In that moment, it all seemed possible,” he recalls. “The performance eliminated any stage fright.”  Thrown in the deep end, Hines, who has performed professionally ever since, realized he could not only survive, but thrive.

But then again, Hines has thrived all his life against odds that would daunt someone with a less indomitable spirit. Hines has Larsen Syndrome, a joint dislocation condition that confines him to a wheelchair. “The reality is I don’t really look at my situation as that big a deal,” he says. “We all have our things that challenge us, just some people’s are a little more visible in the forefront. Mine is very apparent, whereas others wear it on the inside.”

Hines has performed across the globe, throughout Europe, China, the Middle East and North America. Although he admits his condition has provided challenges, he primarily sees the good it has brought him and the inspiration he can provide others. “There have been so many blessings. It’s afforded me so many other opportunities. It’s a bit of an attention grabber,” he says. “But then my job is to keep people interested and keep their attention with my music.”

That natural optimism permeates much of his American debut, “Days to Recall,” the singer/songwriter’s collection of heartfelt songs about life and love. “I don’t want to pretend that dark times don’t exist, but I have a hard time leaving things negative,” he says. “I think every challenging situation leads to something better. When I’m writing I don’t do it consciously in the songs, it’s just how they evolve.”

The album’s 2011 release coincided with a PBS special of Hines in concert taped at Toronto’s Royal Cinema with special guests Ron Sexsmith, Natalie MacMaster, Donnell Leahy, Sierra Noble and the Canadian Tenors. The special has had over 400 airings across North America to date. Hines also appeared in a CBS Sunday Morning feature, which aired December 18 and received an abundance of positive responses nationwide.

Music has always been a big part of Hines’ life. His parents had a jukebox— well stocked with tunes from the ’60s and ’70s that provided their son with a music education from an early age. “I really listened to such an eclectic mix,” he says. “What I most resonated with was James Taylor. He’s definitely one of my heroes.”

Though Hines doesn’t remember it, his mom tells him he wrote his first song when he was seven. “My grandmother still has the lyrics,” he says. In his late teens, Hines decided to teach himself how to play piano as a way to better express himself,  despite the obstacles Larsen Syndrome provided. “I’d done a lot of writing with other people. The most frustrating thing was I could hear the song in my head, but I was relying on other people to write chords since I didn’t play anything,” he says. “I decided for just about a year to focus on playing piano. I had to figure out my own method of how to make it work. My fingers are unique. Sometimes I use up to seven fingers. For a lot of songs I can get by with three.”

Hines recorded “Days to Recall,” his fourth album overall, during a six month period in Toronto. The first single, lilting, instantly catchy “Tell Me I’m Wrong,” tackles the fears that plague everyone and our desire for reassurance.  The music video for the single was shot in Joplin, Missouri following the devastating 2011 tornado. To support the American Red Cross, the music video displays a community coming together to rebuild, following tragedy. The song climbed to #21 on the Billboard AC Charts and the video has garnered hundreds of thousands of hits.

The second single from the album is “Say What You Will,” an uplifting song that initially appeared on Hines’ second album. The first video released for the song was filmed in Toronto’s Dundas Square and showed everyday people writing personal messages on whiteboards and showing them to the world. The whiteboard concept traveled to South Africa, where a new video was filmed, featuring the Most Rev. Desmond Tutu and was partially filmed at Oprah’s Seven Fountain School. The song took on a life of its own and was used as part of a campaign to refurbish 20 schools in 11 days.  Hines performed in South Africa spring 2011 and saw the schools that will educate more than 22,000 students. “It’s so beyond an honor knowing that a song we did was part of this, that we get to be part of that beauty,” he says. At the time of his visit, the song had hit number one on South African commercial radio.

Following the success of “Tell Me I’m Wrong,” American fans quickly fell in love with “Say What You Will” and began posting their own whiteboard messages online, which inspired a U.S version of the music video to be released. The new video was filmed from the east to west coast and features appearances by athletes, as well as everyday people, each writing their own messages of love and hope. Decca/Universal released the video in February.

“Say What You Will” was also highlighted in concerts across the U.S. recently as The Tenors and National Symphony Orchestra joined Justin to perform it in Boston, Portland, Minnesota, Cerritos and four nights at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

“I get transformed to a different place when I perform. I hope it just makes people feel something,” he says, adding that he especially enjoys singing ballads. “Hopefully, that helps form an intimate connection with the audience. I embrace those moments because it feels like you’re having a unique conversation with people.”

That conversation begins anew with “Days to Recall.”

You can see Justin Hines Wednesday, March 14 at the 
Fox Cities Performing Arts Center in downtown Appleton. 
Tickets are $20.

Biography provided by

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

No One Spells Romance Like Jane Austen

This Thursday, Jane Austen has a date at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center.  

Celebrating with a classic romantic comedy on Valentine's Day, L.A. Theatre Works' radio theater style performance of Pride and Prejudice promises to be as entertaining as the author intended 200 years ago.

The British novel is in good hands with this renowned company. Under the leadership of Producing Director, Susan Albert Loewenberg, L.A. Theatre Works (LATW) has been the foremost radio theater company in the United States for more than two decades. 

L.A. Theatre Works is broadcast weekly in America on public radio stations, daily in China on the Radio Beijing Network, streamed online at and programs are aired internationally on the BBC, CBC, and many other English language networks. LATW has single handedly brought the finest recorded dramatic literature into the homes of millions. 

The company records the majority of its productions annually in Los Angeles before an enthusiastic and loyal audience of season subscribers. Works by Arthur Miller, Tom Stoppard, Lillian Hellman, Athol Fugard, Joyce Carol Oates, Wendy Wasserstein, Neil Simon, David Mamet, Lynn Nottage and others have been performed and recorded by LATW with casts of the most critically acclaimed film and stage actors. 

On the road, LATW has delighted audiences with its unique live radio theater style performances in over 300 small towns and major cities, including New York, Boston, San Francisco, Washington and Chicago, Beijing and Shanghai. An L.A. Theatre Works performance is immediate, spontaneous, and features a first-rate cast, live sound effects, and a connection to the audience rarely felt in a traditional theater setting. This theater is an event.

Today, LATW’s Audio Theatre Collection includes more than 500 classic and contemporary titles – the largest library of its kind in the world. Much lauded, the L.A. Theatre Works Audio Theatre Collection is available in over 9,000 libraries and has received awards from the Audio Publishers Association, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Publisher’s Weekly, Writer’s Guild of America, American Library Association, GRAMMY® Awards and many others. 

Additionally, over 3,000 high schools nationwide use the recordings and accompanying study guides to teach language arts, literature, history and civics through LATW’s Alive & Aloud educational outreach program. LATW’s newest initiative, The Play’s the Thing for Higher Education, makes over 300 digitized works from their collection available to universities and colleges across the country for use in a variety of disciplines. 

For more information on these programs, LATW’s Audio Theatre Collection, national radio broadcast information and other exciting projects, visit

Tickets are still available for L.A. Theatre Works' Pride and Prejudice 
Thursday, February 14!

 Biography provided by Baylin Artist Management

Join Us for Fox Cities P.A.C. Fan Day with Scrap•Arts•Music

For more than a decade, theater fans have graciously supported the Fox Cities P.A.C. On Wednesday, March 20, allow us to say, “thank you!"

Scrap•Arts•Music is a great family-friendly show, perfect for special pre and postshow activities. Arrive early for a preshow talk led by Scrap•Arts•Music’s co-founder Gregory Kozak and fun family activities. Enter for a chance to win Super Fan prize packs or a seat upgrade to the Entrance 21 Luxury Suite, and be sure to add your autograph on the Fan Day celebrity board, just like the stars. Activities are free for all ticket holders, and the doors open at 6:00 p.m.

Scrap•Arts•Music is the creation of Vancouver artists Gregory Kozak and Justine Murdy. He’s a percussion virtuoso with a talent for welding, a commitment to recycling and energy to burn. She’s a designer with a passion for spectacle. Together with talented musicians Spencer Cole, Christa Mercey, Greg Samek and Malcolm Shoolbraid, Scrap•Arts•Music tours the world, transforming the stage into an eco-friendly musical empire made vibrant with creative energy. In a highly physical, wildly theatric performance, sculptures that are gorgeous enough to stand on their own become ensemble instruments in masterful compositions. For more information, visit

To purchase tickets to Scrap•Arts•Music,
visit today!

Don’t have tickets yet for Scrap•Arts•Music? Enter our Share Your Story promotion, and tell us your favorite memory of the Fox Cities P.A.C. One hundred lucky winners will be selected at random and receive two tickets to Scrap•Arts•Music! For details or to enter, visit or .

Hurry, Share Your Story ends Wednesday, February 20!  

Friday, February 8, 2013

War Horse Tickets Are On Sale Now!

This morning, tickets for the Wisconsin premiere of War Horse June 25-30 went on sale at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center in Appleton! 

As World War I begins, Joey, young Albert’s beloved horse, is sold to the cavalry and shipped from England to France. He’s soon caught up in enemy fire, and fate takes him on an extraordinary journey, serving on both sides before finding himself alone in no man’s land. But Albert cannot forget Joey and, still not old enough to enlist, he embarks on a treacherous mission to find him and bring him home.

At its heart are astonishing life-sized puppets created by South Africa’s Handspring Puppet Company, that bring to life breathing, galloping, charging horses strong enough for men to ride.

In honor of today's on sale, we'd like to introduce you to the star of the show, Joey the Horse!

Joey Facts & Figures

1. The puppet (Joey), which weighs 120lbs, is handmade by 14 people. Its frame is mostly cane, soaked, bent and stained.

2. An aluminum frame along the spine, lined partly with leather for comfort, allows the horse to be ridden.

3. Stretched, hosiery-like Georgette fabric makes up the “skin” beneath the frame.

4. A puppeteer at the head controls the ears and head; one in the heart controls breathing and front legs; a third in the hind controls the tail and back legs.

5. A harness connects the puppet’s and puppeteer’s spines so his or her movements become the breathing of the horse.

6. The tail and ears are moveable instead of the lips or eyelids, because that’s how horses usually express themselves.

7. Two levers connected with bicycle brake cables control the leather ears.

8. The puppet, just under 10ft long and about 8ft tall, has about 20 major joints. Vertical levers curl the knees and lift the hooves.

9. The neck is made of carbon fiber glass for flexibility.

10. The eyes are black color behind clear resin so light refracts through them.

11. The right hind lever moves the tail up and down; the left hind lever, left to right; moved together, it spirals.

12. The hair in the mane and tail is made of Tyvek, a plastic-like paper.

Tickets for War Horse start at $55.  


Content Disclaimer: Although War Horse is based on a children’s book, it includes scenes depicting some war violence and is recommended for ages 10 and up. All patrons regardless of age must have a ticket.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

250 Reasons to Love Spirited Songs February 9

Why do people love choral music?

If you were to ask all 250 singers preparing for Spirited Songs: A Celebration of Choral Music, you would probably get 250 different answers. Here are just a few they've shared!



On Saturday, February 9 three of the leading Fox Cities choral music groups will perfor together onstage for the first time since the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center opened in 2002. Enjoy the experience as the Appleton Boychoir, Lawrence Academy Girl Choir and White Heron Chorale join together in a rare ensemble performance, highlighting the best of each group and combining their talents for a spectacular choral event! 

Tickets are $18 for adults and $10 for students.