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Warren Gerds/Critic at Large: Arts centers map ‘day trip’ plans for next school year

Daytime programs are big events for students.

PHOTO: “Ivy + Bean, The Musical” is one of the touring productions coming into our area in the next school year.

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – Evening programming gets the majority of attention at the arts centers in the WFRV viewing area, but an extremely important component is their daytime educational offerings. Think DAY TRIP.

There’s a whole industry out there to serve the interests of teachers in all grades who want to enhance learning experiences for students. For students, there’s an element of excitement on those special days when they leave the classroom (or home for homeschoolers) for what becomes a memorable time.

Parents might be surprised by what takes place when a theater filled of squirming and chatting children – a sea of noise and action – suddenly sees a curtain rise and movement starts. In the snap of a finger, there’s stone silence of rapt attention. It happens all the time.

The scene will be replayed many times next school year. Here is a look at what is in store at the two major centers in our region.

Weidner Center for the Performing Arts, Green Bay, Stage Doors Education Series

The center reports that its series over time has drawn from more than 56 cities and 19 counties throughout Wisconsin and Upper Michigan

The 2014-2015 series kicks off in November 2014 and extends through May 2015, featuring 10 titles and a total of 20 performances. 

According to information from the center, this season brings to the center national and international touring shows, including productions from the creative forces of PBS Kids and The Jim Henson Company. Programs are selected to complement current classroom curriculum with creative and imaginative learning, critical thinking opportunities and live performance experiences. Performance-specific study guides are provided to help educators integrate show topics into classroom activities.

The Weidner Center has expanded this year the educational partnerships with The Children’s Museum of Green Bay and Heritage Hill State Historical Park. Students attending select performances have the option to participate in full day of activities, interactive learning and special hands-on projects related to each show. Three events in the series, “The Very Hungry Caterpillar,” “Sid the Science Kid” and “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day,” will be combined with events at The Children’s Museum. Two events in the series, “Freedom Bound” and “Laura Ingalls Wilder,” are fitted with offerings from the Heritage Hill State Historical Park

The full schedule, with all shows at 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.:

- Friday, Nov. 7, “Schoolhouse Rock Live!” (grades 1-6)

- Monday, Dec. 8, “Junie B. in Jingle Bells, Batman Smells” (grades k-5)

- Friday, Jan. 30, “The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Other Eric Carle Favorites” (preK-2)

- Thursday, Feb. 19, “Freedom Bound” (grades 3-9)

- Friday, Feb. 20, “Sid the Science Kid Live!” (preK-2)

- Tuesday, March 3, “Doktor Kaboom! – Look Out! Science is Coming!” (grades 4-8)

- Monday, March 9, “Dinosaur Train Live: Buddy’s Big Adventure” (grades preK-1)

- Tuesday, March 10, “Ivy + Bean, The Musical” (grades 2-4)

- Tuesday, April 28, “Laura Ingalls Wilder” (grades 2-6)

- Friday, May 15, “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” (grades K-3)

The annual Stage Doors Education Series is a program of the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, and is made possible by the support of the George F. Kress Foundation and Green Bay Packaging Inc., Robert W. Baird & Company Inc., James and Marty Liethen, The Humana Foundation, Egan Family Foundation – Little Rapids Corp., Open-Sense Solutions LLC, and Arketype, with additional support provided by the Wisconsin Arts Board. 

Reservations: All information may be found online at www.WeidnerCenter.com. Reservations from schools and home school families are being accepted via mail, fax or online. Series brochures will be mailed to educators in September. All show tickets are $7, package tickets with area partners are $10. Information, policies, scholarship applications and registration forms may be downloaded at www.WeidnerCenter.com.  For brochure requests and questions, call (920) 465-5100.

Fox Cities Performing Arts Center, Appleton, Bemis Company Education Series

The series of daytime performances is comprised of titles that connect with grades preK-12 curriculum. Highlights include “Curious George,” “The Great Gatsby,” “Pilobolus” and “The Lightning Thief.”

Artistic Adventures, a new program added to the series, is presented in partnership with the Fox Cities Building for the Arts and the Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra. The program is designed for students to visit the Fox Cities Building for the Arts to view the “Under the Hat! The Many Worlds of Dr. Seuss” exhibit at The Trout Museum of Art and meet members of the Fox Valley Symphony for an interactive introduction to orchestral instruments. Artistic Adventures culminates with a field trip to the Fox Cities P.A.C. where the Fox Valley Symphony Youth Orchestra will perform a Dr. Seuss-inspired concert. 

According to information from the center, the Bemis Company Education Series is a cornerstone of the center’s mission and is designed specifically to meet Wisconsin Model Academic Standards for students in grades PreK-12. Performance titles are selected for their connection to classroom curriculum. The center provides study guides and resource materials for all performances and coordinates classroom workshops whenever possible. Ticket prices are subsidized to $5-$7 through Annual Partner support and scholarship tickets are available to schools in need of financial assistance. The series annually draws 23,000 students from the Fox Cities and throughout Northeastern Wisconsin.

Reservations are only available to schools, child care centers and home school groups. Reservations may be made by calling the group sales department at (920) 730-3786 or at foxcitiespac.com/educators

The lineup:

­- Artistic Adventures: Presented in partnership with the Fox Cities Building for the Arts and the Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra 
Part 1: Fox Cities Building for the Arts; September-October, 2014
Part 2: Fox Cities P.A.C.; Monday, March 16, 2015 at 12:30 p.m. (grades 2-5)
- Wednesday, Oct. 15, 12:30 p.m., “Sweet Honey in the Rock®” (grades 5-12)
- Tuesday, Oct. 28, 12:30 p.m., “Cirque Peking,” direct from Beijing, a performance by the National Acrobats of the People’s Republic of China (grades 3-12)

- Tuesday, Nov. 4, 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., “Mad River Theater Works’ John Henry” (grades 3-7)

- Tuesday, Nov. 11, 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia’s “Stella, Queen of the Snow” (preK-2)

- Thursday, Jan. 8, 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., Omaha Theater’s “Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse” (preK-2)

- Tuesday, Jan. 20, 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., “The Frog Bride With David Gonzalez” (grades 2-6)

- Friday, Feb. 20, 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., Theatreworks USA production of 
“Curious George,” (preK-2)

- Thursday, March 5, 9:30 p.m. and 12:30 p.m., Theatreworks USA production of 
“The Lightning Thief” (grades 2-6)

- Thursday, March 12, 12:30 p.m., “Danú 20th Anniversary Tour” (grades 6-12)

- Friday, March 20, 9:30 a.m., Montana Repertory Theatre’s “The Great Gatsby” (grades 8-12)

- Friday, April 17, 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., “Wild Kratts – Live!” (grades K-4)

- Tuesday, April 28, 12:30 p.m., “Pilobolus” (grades 6-12)

Thursday, April 30, 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., ArtsPower’s production of 
“My Heart in a Suitcase” (grades 4-8)

- Tuesday, May 19, 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., Young Audiences New York’s Literature to Life® Stage Presentation of “The Giverby Lois Lowry” (grades 5-10)

Bemis Company, Inc., is the title sponsor of the series. Additional community support is provided by Appvion, Inc., Kimberly-Clark Corporation, Miller Electric and ITW and WE Energies Foundation. The series is also supported in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts. 

You may email me at warren.gerds@wearegreenbay.com. Watch for my on-air features on WFRV between 6 and 8 a.m. Sundays.

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