The Van Wert County Courthouse

Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018

VW independent/submitted information

In the midst of the 2017-2018 season, the 11th for the Niswonger Performing Arts Center of Northwest Ohio, a unique opportunity arose that was so exciting it was simply impossible to let pass. In addition to the stellar lineup that makes up season 11, the Niswonger will present Amazing Grace the Musical on Friday, February 16, at 7:30 p.m. and tickets are available now.

The Niswonger Performing Arts Center of Northwest Ohio is bringing an additional production, Amazing Grace, the Musical, to its stage on February 16. photo submitted

Amazing Grace the Musical is a new original musical based on the awe-inspiring true story behind the world’s most beloved song. A captivating tale of romance, rebellion and redemption, this radiant production follows one man whose incredible journey ignited a historic wave of change.

John Newton, a willful and musically talented young Englishman, faces a future as uncertain as the turning tide. Coming of age as Britain sits atop an international empire of slavery, he finds himself torn between following in the footsteps of his father — a slave trader — or embracing the more compassionate views of his childhood sweetheart.

Accompanied by his slave, Thomas, John embarks on a perilous voyage on the high seas. When that journey finds John in his darkest hour, a transformative moment of self-reckoning inspires a blazing anthem of hope that will finally guide him home.

Brimming with emotion and adventure, Amazing Grace the Musical is an unforgettable musical saga that captures the spirit of history’s sweetest and most powerful sound: freedom.

Tickets for this exciting, all-new event can be purchased through the Box Office Monday through Friday, noon to 4 p.m., at 419.238.6722 and online at NPACVW.ORG.

The Niswonger Performing Arts Center is located at 10700 Ohio 118 on the south edge of Van Wert.

POSTED: 02/06/18 at 9:11 am. FILED UNDER: Arts & Entertainment, News

VW independent/submitted information

The iconic music of two of the biggest groups in classic rock are coming to the Niswonger Performing Arts Center at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 21, when Bostyx, presented by Bee Gee Realty, is in concert. Since 2011, Bostyx has thrilled audiences in packed houses across the United States. Bostyx is the ultimate family-friendly, high energy show featuring five-part harmonies and incredible musicianship, reproducing the original sounds down to the smallest detail. And with the arrival of 2018, tickets for this rockin’ event are on sale now!

Bostyx will appear in concert at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center of Northwest Ohio in April. photo provided

Bostyx, featuring David Victor, formerly of Boston, reproduces the hits and vibe of two American pop music icons, Boston and Styx, in one high-energy show. Victor joined Boston for its 2012 and 2014 North American tours, and also appeared at Boston’s first show in over 20 years in the city of Boston, as the band opened the “Boston Strong” benefit for the Boston Marathon bombing victims.

Victor was also featured as lead vocalist on Boston’s No. 1 classic rock charting single “Heaven on Earth” from its 2014 album: Live, Love & Hope. During Boston shows, Victor sang several Boston hits, including “Peace of Mind,” “More than a Feeling”, and Boston’s other No. 1 single from 1986, “Amanda.”

Along with Victor, the band reproduces Boston’s soaring guitar harmonies and lightning-fast keyboard runs, as well as the lush backing vocals and theatrical style of Styx. Lead vocalist/guitarist Victor handles the vocals of two of the best-loved rock tenors of all-time, Boston’s Brad Delp and Styx’s Tommy Shaw, while drummer and vocalist Glenn Jost handles the distinctive lead vocals of Styx co-founder Dennis DeYoung.

These American classic rock icons perform hit songs such as “More than a Feeling,” “Blue Collar Man,” “Amanda,” “Don’t Look Back,” “The Best of Times,” “Lady,” “Peace of Mind,” “Renegade,” “Foreplay/Long Time,” “A Man I’ll Never Be,” and many more.

Bostyx is classic American rock ‘n roll delivered with polish and showmanship second to none.


POSTED: 01/13/18 at 8:44 am. FILED UNDER: Arts & Entertainment, News

VW independent/submitted information

The international Traveling Exhibition of the American Watercolor Society opens this Saturday, January 6, in the Wendel Gallery of Wassenberg Art Center in Van Wert. This is the 150th anniversary of the American Watercolor Society traveling show.

American Watercolor Society Gold Medal of Honor winner Cathy Hegman’s “Insomniacs Dream Boats” will be one of the watercolor paintings represented at the upcoming 147th annual American Watercolor Exhibit held at Wassenberg Art Center in Van Wert. photo submitted

The collection can be viewed during regular gallery hours. which are Tuesday through Sunday, 1-5 p.m. Thursdays 1-9 p.m. Closed Mondays. The watercolors will be on view through January 28. Wassenberg Art Center exhibitions are free and open to the public.

The AWS annual exhibit is one of the premiere watercolor exhibitions in the world. More than 1,200 artists from throughout the United States and a dozen foreign countries submit their work to a panel of jurors chosen from signature members of the AWS. Of these submissions (one per artist), 138 paintings were selected for the entire exhibition.

Forty paintings from the show are selected to travel the United States for one year, and Wassenberg is one of the stops on the tour. For a complete schedule of the Traveling Exhibition and to see images of the prize-winning entries, visit

While inclusion in this exhibition is itself an honor, participants also compete for the gold, silver, and bronze medals of honor, 11 other medals, and nearly $40,000 in prize money.
The American Watercolor Society is one of the oldest and most prestigious exhibition societies in the United States.

Election to the Society as a Signature Member is one of the most sought-after honors in the painting world. Membership has included many of the greatest names in painting throughout the history of the Society, including the great American Impressionist Childe Hassam, the well-known regionalists Edward Hopper and Charles Burchfield, virtually every member of the important “California School” of watercolorists, and everyone in between, up to and including the late great Andrew Wyeth.


POSTED: 01/05/18 at 9:15 am. FILED UNDER: Arts & Entertainment, News

Five dancers from Kim Hohman’s DanceWorks were selected to perform in the Ballet Theatre of Toledo’s performance of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker. The dancers are Sayler Wise, Rilee Conrad, Olivia Treece, Conner Baldauf, and Kaden Hohman. The performances were held at the Valentine Theatre in downtown Toledo November 24-26. The show will also be held at the Sandusky State Theatre on Saturday, December 2. photo submitted

POSTED: 11/27/17 at 8:20 am. FILED UNDER: Arts & Entertainment, News

VW independent/submitted information

A culmination of over 20 years of country hits is going to heat up the Niswonger Performing Arts Center stage at 7 p.m. January 27, 2018, with Lonestar, presented by First Federal Savings & Loan of Van Wert. Starting at noon this Thursday, October 26, tickets for Lonestar will be available for purchase at the Niswonger Box Office and online at NPACVW.ORG.

Known for merging its country roots with strong melodies and rich vocals, Lonestar has amassed RIAA-certified sales in excess of 10 million album units since its national launch in 1995 and achieved 10 No. 1 country hits, including “No News,” “Come Crying to Me,” and the group’s crossover smash “Amazed” (which was also No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, the first record since 1983’s “Islands in the Stream” to top both charts).

Lonestar is coming to the NPAC stage in January.

The band’s awards include a 1999 ACM Single of the Year for “Amazed” (the song also won Song of the Year) and the 2001 CMA Vocal Group of the Year.

In addition to “Amazed,” which was No. 1 with country audiences for eight weeks in a row, Lonely Grill yielded three more No. 1 country hits: “Smile,” “Tell Her,” and “What About Now.” The 2001 release, I’m Already There, topped the country album charts, as did the band’s 2003 retrospective From There to Here: The Greatest Hits, which produced yet another No. 1 single, “My Front Porch Looking In.”

Along with presenting sponsor First Federal Savings & Loan, supporting sponsors for Lonestar include Belna Petroleum, Hoffman Plumbing & Heating Inc., The Kenn-Feld Group, and Mercer Landmark. The 2017-18 season is brought to you by season sponsors Chuck and Karen Koch, Statewide Ford Lincoln, and Van Wert Federal Savings Bank.

Tickets for Lonestar can be purchased through the Box Office from noon-4 p.m., Monday through Friday, at 419.238.6722 or online at NPACVW.ORG.

The Niswonger Performing Arts Center is located at 10700 Ohio 118 on the southwest edge of Van Wert.

POSTED: 10/25/17 at 7:30 am. FILED UNDER: Arts & Entertainment, News

VW independent/submitted information

Van Wert High School theatre members are preparing for their upcoming production of Mystery at Shady Acres by Michelle R. Davis.

The story involves a theft at a cozy 1920s Victorian hotel in the English countryside as the hotel is getting ready for some prestigious visitors. The audience, which is invited to participate, can help the hotel staff solve its most perplexing crime of the times.

The cast and crew for the production include the following students: Mikayla Hernandez as Mrs. Clifford, the hotel manager; Michaella Johnson as Basil the hotel clerk; Max Laney, Heimlich the hotel chef; and Anna Reichert, Alli Morrow, and Cloey Spry as Beth, Greta, and Lavinia, the hotel maids. Hotel guests include Austin Voors and Aeris Blakeley as the wealthy Mr. and Mrs. Fairfax, Sam Price and Grace Doctor as Mr. and Mrs. Brightham, Storm Matthews as Ms. X, Becky Rigdon as Audrey Rochester, and Dane Chiles as Stanley Larson.

Tour Bus Group visitors are portrayed by Kendall Rauch, Dante Jones, Carley White, and Meah Johnson, while those attempting to solve the case include Austin Carnahan as Chief Dover Wickfield, along with officers Kaylin Bledsoe, Chelsey White, and Sydney Maller, and Theo Scarpelli as Detective Thornton, with Katie Able as assistant Emma Reid.

Stage crew consists of stage manager Erienne Cassidy, assistant stage manager Erin Gemmer, and Lexi Allmandinger, Abbey Bradford, Wesley Wagner, and Clayton Doctor.

Show time for the entire production is set for 7 p.m. Friday, November 17, and Saturday, November 18, at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center. Tickets may be purchased from theatre students listed above or by calling the box office at 419.238.NPAC starting Monday, October 23. Tickets will also be available at the door.

All tickets are $6, and can be paid for by cash and check only. Mystery at Shady Acres is produced with special arrangement by Pioneer Drama Service Inc. in Englewood, Colorado.

The cast of Mystery at Shady Acres, the next Van Wert High School theatre production.

POSTED: 10/25/17 at 7:26 am. FILED UNDER: Arts & Entertainment, News

VW independent/submitted information

Off Stage Productions (OSP) announces the Fall 2017 dinner theatre production of The Queen of Bingo by Jeanne Michels and Phyllis Murphy will be opening this weekend at its new location at American Legion Post 178, 631 W. Main St. in Van Wert.

The cast of Off Stage Productions’ The Queen of Bingo. (photo submitted)

Show dates are as follows: Sunday brunch matinees begin at 1 p.m. October 15 and 22 (doors open at 12:30 p.m., meal at 1 p.m.); Friday and Saturday dinner shows begin at 7 p.m. (doors open at 6:30 p.m., meal at 7).

Those shows all include a buffet supper provided by Romer’s Catering of Celina. The ticket price is $28 per person, and tables of eight are available. Reservations (for any number desired) may be made by calling 419.605.6708. OSP’s goal is to provide quality entertainment and delicious food for a fun evening of theatre.

Off Stage will transform the main post room into a comfortable and intimate dinner theatre. The American Legion offers ample parking and special access for those with walkers, wheelchairs, or mobility issues via the first entrance door (closest to Main Street). All other dinner theatre patron should use the glass-enclosed main (center) door to the building. A volunteer will be posted in the parking lot to offer assistance and direction. Guests may also purchase soft drinks and alcoholic beverages at the post bar prior to dinner and at intermission.

In addition to the six dinner shows, Off Stage Productions will be introducing a “Popcorn Night” performance on Sunday evening, October 15, at 7 p.m. (doors open 6:30 that evening). This will be a non-dinner performance for a ticket price of $12, which includes fresh popcorn, lemonade, and water. Soft drinks will also be available for $1 each. Call 419.605.6708 for reservations and specify Popcorn Night, October 15.

POSTED: 10/11/17 at 7:34 am. FILED UNDER: Arts & Entertainment, News

VW independent/submitted information

Tickets for the second Christmas event of the 2017-18 season is on sale now at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center of Northwest Ohio. Join most people’s favorite reindeer for Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer — The Musical, at 7:30 p.m. Friday, December 1. The show is presented by Jeffery-Mohr Family Dentistry.

Hermey the Elf, Yukon Cornelius, and Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer perform during a show slated for the Niswonger Performing Arts Center this December. (photo provided)

Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer soars off the screen and onto the stage this holiday season. Come see all of the favorite characters from the television special, including Santa and Mrs. Claus, Hermey the Elf, Bumble the Abominable Snow Monster, Clarice, Yukon Cornelius, and, of course, Rudolph, as they come to life in this classic Christmas tale.

It’s an adventure that teaches people that what makes you different can be what makes you special. Adapted for the stage by Robert Penola, the show faithfully follows Romeo Muller’s teleplay: Reindeer couple Donner and Mrs. Donner beget Rudolph, a spunky young reindeer with a curious birth defect: Instead of coal-black, his nose glows bright red like a lightbulb (the original TV airing was sponsored by General Electric).

Donner tries to help his son fit in by masking his nose in a black sock during the reindeer games, an annual event during which Santa scouts the young reindeer for their flying ability. Unfortunately, Rudolph’s sock falls off, leading all of the other reindeer to laugh and call him names. With no prospect of making Santa’s sleigh team, Rudolph and “dentist wannabe” elf Hermey flee Christmas town, eventually meeting prospector Yukon Cornelius and a whole island of misfit toys. But with a massive winter storm about to hit the North Pole, Santa might just find a use for Rudolph after all.


POSTED: 09/06/17 at 7:57 am. FILED UNDER: Arts & Entertainment, News

VW independent/submitted information

Wassenberg Art Center in Van Wert will be accepting entries for its 40th annual Wassenberg Art Center Photography Exhibit. Amateur, professional, and youth photographers are encouraged to submit their work for this photography tradition. This is a juried exhibit, so entry does not guarantee exhibition, while the show includes $1,300 in total cash prizes. Entry deadline is midnight Thursday, September 14.

Those interested in submitting entries may download the prospectus, which contains complete rules, entry forms, and instructions, by visiting: Those entering must pay a non-refundable fee of $25 for Wassenberg Art Center members, $30 for non-members, or $15 for photographers under 18. The fee entitles artists to enter up to 12 images. Those seeking to enter may also receive a prospectus via email at or by calling 419.238.6837.

The exhibit will open Friday, October 6, with an opening party from 6-9 p.m. Ezra Miller and Josh Liebhauser of Bryan will perform on acoustic guitar and cello. Free appetizers and a cash bar will be provided. The exhibit will be on view through October 27.

For more information on classes, exhibits, and events, call Wassenberg Art Center at 419.238.6837, email, or go to its website at

POSTED: 08/31/17 at 7:18 am. FILED UNDER: Arts & Entertainment, News

VW independent/submitted information

Summer vacation is drawing to a close, kids and parents are preparing for school to resume, and the Van Wert Civic Theatre is kicking off its annual membership drive.

Enthusiastic volunteers met recently to gather information and have begun the daunting task of contacting former season ticket holders, as well as recruiting prospective members, in an effort to invite folks to be a part of this year’s season at VWCT.

Though the theatre has been in existence for 58 years, it remains a hidden gem in the heart of Van Wert producing award-winning shows and entertaining audiences year after year. This season’s lineup includes the hit musical Gypsy, which has been cast and is set to open September 21.

VWCT’s Christmas offering, It’s a Wonderful Life, promises to bring hope and joy to the holiday season.  The theater group will warm up the winter blues with a haunting thriller, Death Trap, in January followed by a knee slapping feel good musical, The Great American Trailer Park Musical, in March. The season ends with a farcical comedy, Love, Sex and the IRS, in May.

The mission at VWCT is to provide quality live theatre at affordable prices. Cost for a musical is $15 and all other shows are just $13. In today’s world, area residents won’t find a better bargain for live theatre … unless they purchase a season membership. The total cost of one ticket per show for the season is $69 if purchased at the door. The total cost of one coupon per show using a season membership is $50 — a savings of $19.

And it gets better. VWCT coupons can be used in any combination, so season ticket holders can choose to use all five coupons for one show.

Those who have purchased a membership in the last two years should already have received information in the mail. If a brochure didn’t arrive, it’s been misplaced, or people want more information, give Jan Miller a call at 419.204.7246.

POSTED: 08/16/17 at 7:06 am. FILED UNDER: Arts & Entertainment, News