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Warren Gerds/Critic at Large: Next season’s shows set at historic Oshkosh theater

Critic At Large

The Grand Oshkosh

Grand Opera House in Oshkosh. (Warren Gerds)


The Grand Oshkosh announced its 2019-2020 season lineup.

According to a press release: With programming catered to the Grand Opera House’s historic and intimate theater, the season will include music from varied genres, theater and comedy. Tickets will go on sale to the public on Wednesday, July 10. Info:

Special Events

“The Four Phantoms in Concert” – Sept. 26-28.

The show brings together four former Phantoms from the Tony Award-winning “The Phantom of the Opera.” Brent Barrett, John Cudia, Franc D’Ambrosio and Ciarán Sheehan are joined by special guest Kaley Ann Voorhees, currently playing the role of Christine in the Broadway production.

“FanFAIRE” starring Alpin Hong and 300 Local Students – April 4.

The event at Menominee Nation Arena with returning resident artist and pianist Alpin Hong will feature a celebration of the video games, programs, movies and superheroes that young people know and love. Along with a pre-event convention, the centerpiece concert will highlight the musical and artistic talents of more than 300 Oshkosh area students.

Subscription Events

+ Oshkosh Community Players presents “Sylvia” – Oct. 17-19.

Greg and Kate have moved to Manhattan after 22 years of child-raising in the suburbs. Greg brings home a dog he found in the park – or that has found him – bearing only the name “Sylvia” on her name tag. To Kate, Sylvia becomes a rival for affection. “Sylvia” will focus on raising funds and awareness for animal adoption, in partnership with the Oshkosh Area Humane Society.

+ Franki Moscato and Friends – Nov. 2.

Moscato is a professional singer/songwriter, film award winner and “American Idol” Golden Ticket winner.  She has become Wisconsin’s teen icon and might be the youngest performer ever to be directly booked at the Grand. Moscato performs solo concerts with only her mic and keyboard, but for her Grand Oshkosh debut will be joined by area musicians.

+ Tom Papa – Nov. 16.

Papa is a stand-up comedian, actor, writer, author (“Your Dad Stole My Rake: And Other Family Dilemmas”), producer and television/radio host. He hosts the show “Baked” on the Food Network and is head writer for the radio variety show “Live from Here, hosted by Chris Thile.”

+ Oshkosh Symphony Orchestra presents “Holiday Celebration” – Dec. 7.
The orchestra carries on this family-friendly musical tradition.

 + “Christmas with the Celts” – Dec. 8.

Return engagement. The group mixes traditional Irish music and American pop music, with a few originals. The show Irish whistles, fiddles, bodhran, banjo, bass and uilleann pipes.

+ The Sweet Remains – Jan. 17.

The American folk-rock band founded by singer/songwriters Rich Price, Greg Naughton and Brian Chartrand will feature songs from “North & Prospect,” including “Better Ways to Spend the Day.”

+ “Jeff Allen’s ‘The America I Grew Up In’ Tour” – Feb. 1.

Allen’s humor looks at everyday family life and the joy derived from a healthy marriage. (Note- Jeff Allen is a “clean” comedian).

+ Oshkosh Community Players presents “Someplace Different” – Feb. 28-March 7.

The play by local playwright/director/actor Brad Dokken spends a night with the servers and patrons at the restaurant, Someplace Different.

+ Farewell Angelina – March 20.

Named after a Bob Dylan song, Farewell Angelina is an all-female country group with four vocalists, songwriters and multi-instrumentalists.

+ “James Garner’s Tribute to Johnny Cash” – April 18.

For more than a decade, Garner and his band have recreated Cash’s hits, including historical accounts and personal anecdotes about the beloved singing storyteller.

+ Oshkosh Symphony Orchestra presents “Celebrating Women and Beethoven” – May 2.

The orchestra in celebrates the centennial of women’s suffrage and the 250th birthday of Ludwig van Beethoven.

 + Oshkosh Community Players presents “The Music Man” – May 15-23.

The Tony Award-winning classic tells of smooth-talking traveling salesman Harold Hill and how he cons the good people of River City, Iowa, into buying all the instruments and uniforms needed to form a children’s band. Little do they know he wouldn’t know a trombone from a treble clef.

+ Vivace – May 30.

The classical crossover vocal group is made up of the combination of four pop and classical singers. Its repertoire ranges from pop songs to opera arias to self-written material

+ Hysterical Productions presents “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” – June 4-7.

Romance, mischief and magic set the stage for laughs and light-hearted entertainment in William Shakespeare’s popular journey through a mysterious and mystical forest on a moonlit midsummer night with four misguided lovers, two fairy courts and a group of amateur actors. 

Guest Presenter Events

+ TEDxOshkosh – Oct. 5.

This is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At the event, TEDTalks video and live speakers will combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group.

+ “WPR’s Old Time Radio Drama” presented by Wisconsin Public Radio – Oct. 11.

The play “There’s Always a Woman” is host Norman Gilliland and co-star Michele Good’s updated version of a 1939 Campbell’s Playhouse radio drama. The show includes dramatizations of reworked Campbell’s Soup commercials and, pre-broadcast, a mini-episode of “Fibber McGee & Molly.”

+ “Dave Halston’s Tribute to Sinatra” presented by Tribute Masters – Oct. 12.

From Las Vegas come Halston and his Little Big Band to present a lineup of Frank Sinatra’s popular songs.

+ “Henley Meets Heart” presented by Ipsy Productions – Nov. 9.

A classic rock doubleheader. The Boys of Summer “All Things Henley” pays tribute to the solo career of a music icon. Then Barracuda presents “The Ultimate Tribute to Heart.”

+ “For Kids from One to Ninety-Two!” – Dec. 20-21.

Steve March-Tormé and Vic Ferrari’s Michael Bailey return for a holiday show. Many will recognize that the title is from “The Christmas Song,” written by Steve’s father Mel Tormé and Bob Wells. Also featured: Emmy-Award winning violinist Mark Wood (Trans Siberian Orchestra, Billy Joel) and Neenah’s Touch of Class strings.

+ “ABBA MANIA” presented by Menominee Nation Arena – Jan. 28-29.

The tribute concert returns with two hours of uplifting, dance-inducing and sometimes heart-breaking songs, live with staging, lighting and effects.

+ “The Magic of Bill Blagg LIVE!” presented by MOBB Productions – March 13.

The show offers stage sets, rock concert style lighting, digital music,  magic and Blagg’s off-the-cuff personality.

+ “Dissonance” presented by Vision Dance Theatre – March 14.

The troupe is a non-profit, pre-professional dance company based in the Fox Valley. “Dissonance” presents five original works incorporating a variety of dance styles from renowned and up-and-coming choreographers.

+ “Barbershop Songs Through the Decades” presented by the Winnebagoland Barbershop Chorus – March 21.

The show will feature barbershop music from the 1940s forward.

+ “STEEM” with Steve March-Tormé and Michael Bailey – April 25.

The name comes from the combining of the first three letters of March-Tormé’s name and the flipped first two initials in Bailey’s (he’s Michael Edward). The two played together as STEEM for a first time in January 2017, and they’ve done so every few months since, tackling material from Stevie Wonder, the Beatles, Van Morrison and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, among many others.

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