We’re only 10 days out from the start of a grand opening week for the Weidner Center’s 2015-16 Performing Arts Series. Up first, on Friday night, Oct. 9, is a brand-new improv show, “Whose Live Anyway?” from the comedic minds behind the Emmy-nominated TV hit, “Whose Line Is It, Anyway?” The next night, it’s the popular country-tinged vocal band Home Free, on Oct. 10. On Wednesday, Oct. 14, Celtic Woman brings its 10th Anniversary World Tour with four Irish musicians — three angelic vocalists and a dazzling Celtic violinist — accompanied by a full band, bagpipers, Irish dancers and (special to this tour) male vocalists, The Celtic Tenors. For details and ticket info on each of the first three shows.
Tickets for the 2015-2016 Weidner Center Performing Arts Season will go on sale outside of subscription this Friday, August 14 at 11 am. Tickets may be purchased online, by phone at 800-895-0071, or in person at Ticket Star locations. As a reminder, this seasons shows include:
Whose Live Anyway?
Friday, October 9, 7:30pm
Home Free Saturday, October 10, 7:30pm
Celtic Woman * Wednesday, October 14, 7:00pm
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat Tuesday, October 20, 7:30pm
The Midtown Men Tuesday, October 27, 7:30pm
Cirque Mechanics: Pedal Punk Friday, November 6, 7:30pm
It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play Thursday, November 19, 7:30pm & Friday, November 20, 7:30pm
Ronnie Milsap ** Saturday, November 21, 7:30pm
Mannheim Steamroller Christmas by Chip Davis * Saturday, November 28, 7:30pm
Holiday Pops Friday, December 11, 7:30pm & Saturday, December 12, 2:30pm
Doctors in Recital Saturday, January 16, 7:00pm
Vocalosity Friday, January 22, 7:30pm
Goodnight Moon and The Runaway Bunny Saturday, January 30, 11:00am
L.A. Theatre Works – Bram Stoker’s Dracula Tuesday, February 2, 7:30pm
Celtic Nights – Spirit of Freedom – Celebrating 100 Years Friday, February 12, 7:30pm
The Peking Acrobats – 30th Anniversary Tour Thursday, February 18, 7:30pm
ONCE Thursday, February 25, 7:30pm
PostSecret: The Show Saturday, February 27, 2:00pm & 7:30pm
Dancing in the Streets Thursday, March 17, 7:30pm
Wild Kratts Live! Friday, April 8, 7:00pm
Mnozil Brass Tuesday, April 12, 7:30pm
RAIN – A Tribute to The Beatles Sunday, May 1, 7:30pm
*Tickets are already on sale for Celtic Woman and Mannheim Steamroller Christmas by Chip Davis.
** Please note show date and time change for Ronnie Milsap.
The Green Bay Press-Gazette reports that with general ticket sales starting Friday for the upcoming Weidner season, already some early favorites have emerged based on the season subscription sales that started in June. “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” and Celtic Woman in October, Mannheim Steamroller’s holiday show on Nov. 28 are all selling well, as are “RAIN — A Tribute to The Beatles and “Whose Live Anyway?,” an improv comedy show.
Critic at Large Warren Gerds described the U.S. Army Field Band performance last weekend at the Weidner Center as ‘Mellifluous.’ “Smoothly flowing. Starting a concert with a mellifluous voice signals that something grand is about to happen. And it did…” Worth the read. He also reviewed Moscow City Ballet’s “Swan Lake,” describing a “long overdue visit” with “dazzling” results. Read his review.
We carried a note in the Log a while back about an extraordinarily big week, activity-wise, for the Weidner Center. Since that last report, shortly after Valentine’s Day, the hectic pace has continued. In the two weeks since Feb. 19, the Weidner has hosted 17 shows with an approximate total attendance of 11,500 patrons. Acts included roots/banjo standouts Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn, the “Over the Rainbow” tribute to Judy Garland, programs for kids including “Doktor Kaboom” and “Jim Henson’s Sid the Science Kid,” the very well-received musical “Million Dollar Quartet,” the UW-Green Bay Theatre production of “Months on End,” and two big-attendance comedy shows by Gabriel (Fluffy) Iglesias. Coming up Sunday and Monday (March 8 and 9) is “Jim Henson’s Dinosaur Train: Buddy’s Big Adventure.”
The Green Bay Press-Gazette’s Kendra Meinart writes that, “If there was a revolving door on the Weidner Center, it might still be spinning after the busy week it had.” Attendance surpassed 8,500 during six straight nights of performances: John Mellencamp, Feb. 9; Citywide Honors Band Concert, Feb. 10; Bo Burnham, Feb. 11; Dave Mason’s Traffic, Feb. 12; Alton Brown, Feb. 13; and Green Bay Symphony Orchestra with Jeans ‘n Classics’, Feb. 14. There was a public wedding proposal at the Symphony concert, a cheese-curd pizza insta-cooked at foodie Browns show, and a memorable evening of heartland hits from Mellencamp. Read Meinart’s column.
Plan now for one of the busiest Phoenix Fridays of the semester. Be part of the excitement of Phoenix basketball with the men’s game at the Resch Center on Friday night. The uncharacteristic 6 pm start time is to accommodate an ESPN 2 broadcast. It is also Menominee Casino Hat Giveaway. Cheap Seats this weekend features “Horrible Bosses II” at the Christie Theatre. The Phoenix Bookstore is offering 20 percent off school supplies on Friday, and A’viands is offering a 10 percent discount to anyone wearing Phoenix gear. Expect action Friday night when “Superheroes” take over the University Union for UWGB Nites. More basketball on Saturday when the Phoenix women host their annual Prevea PinkZone game at the Kress Center at 1 p.m. The game will also be broadcast on ESPN3. Bring the kids in your life to “Sid the Science Kid: Live” at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Weidner Center. Banjo players Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn perform at the Weidner, Sunday at 7:30 p.m.
Artist-in-residence Peter Ulllian will be featured at a pair of staged readings this semester organized by the Theatre and Dance academic unit. Each reading takes place in the University Theatre in Theatre Hall. Admission is free.
• ‘Fair City’ — 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 21
• ‘Pan American’ — 7:30 p.m., May 9
A member of The Dramatists Guild, Ullian’s work includes the book for the musical, Flight of the Lawnchair Man, directed by Hal Prince and nominated for a Barrymore Award for Outstanding New Play. His play Big Bossman has just been published by Broadway Play Publishing, Inc. Ullian is collaborating with UWGB Theatre students and faculty on stage readings of his work and a premiere production of The Collegiate Sisterhood of Lake Pawtuckaway to be performed in University Theatre later this spring.
Local 5 Critic-at-Large Warren Gerds highlighted upcoming Weidner Center performances in two Wednesday (Dec. 17) columns on holiday entertainment in our area. The first profiles the large-scale Holiday Pops concert that features the Green Bay Symphony Orchestra, Dudley Birder Chorale and Birder Studio of Performing Arts presenting a program of Christmas carols and holiday favorites. Performances will take place at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow (Friday, Dec. 19) and 2:30 p.m. Saturday (Dec. 20) at the Weidner Center. In a separate column, Gerds previews holiday entertainment including the Oak Ridge Boys Hits and Christmas Show, which will take place at 3 p.m. Sunday (Dec. 21), also at the Weidner. Tickets remain for both shows; you can check out more info.
The front page of Sunday’s (June 13) Press-Gazette Life and Family section featured a great story on another strong year for the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts, highlighting both a dynamic new Performing Arts Season and another year of finishing in the black. Reporter Kendra Meinert highlighted some of the acts that likely will be most popular — “I Love Lucy” live, STOMP, Dancing Pros and Alton Brown among them — and talked to Weidner Executive Director Kate Green about the venue’s success. “We could tell attendance was increasing just by ticket sales at each show, but it’s still cumulatively very encouraging to know what we’re booking is of interest to the community, and people are paying attention to the events that are happening here,” Green said. “ … I hear more people saying, ‘Wow, there’s a lot of great stuff happening at the Weidner’ than years ago when it was, ‘Oh, I thought they closed.’ ” The story also gives credit to Chancellor Tom Harden, who had a key role in the Weidner’s turnaround. Read story.