The Van Wert County Courthouse

Sunday, May. 27, 2018

KARI GALL/for the independent

Sometimes I walk into a show knowing everything about it, hoping it’s as good as I envision in my mind. Other times I don’t know a stitch about the show except the title. This is one of those shows.

I recently attended a play put on by Van Wert Civic Theatre called Love, Sex, and the IRS, written by William Van Zandt and Jane Milmore. I know what you’re thinking: “What do love and sex have to do with taxes and the IRS?” Well, let me set the tone for you. Jon and Leslie (both males) are struggling musicians sharing an apartment in Manhattan. To save money, Jon comes up with the brainy scheme of filing his taxes on his own, and files his claim as “married.” To Leslie. Jon and Leslie get audited, and in the midst of evading the taxman, the men end up on a whirlwind adventure of mistaken identity, cross dressing, and drunken hijinks.

Cast members of Van Wert Civic Theatre’s current play, Love, Sex, & the IRS, shown here include Jan Miller (seated) and (standing, from the left) Stan Lippi, Steve Lane, and Audra Mohler.VWCT photo

A farce like this takes a skilled director and a cast that can swing a punch and hold back the giggles. And that they do. Director Randy Wieging has assembled an energetic cast. Doug Grooms seems to effortlessly portray the part of Jon Trachtman, whose brainy scheme got them into this mess in the first place. Full of energy and always on top of his cue, Doug nails the part of Jon, making you wonder if he must always be thinking “a plan so crazy, it just might work!”

And who can’t forget the other half of this duo: Steve Lane, who plays the part of Leslie Arthur. Steve is no novice to the theatre. You can’t help but get the sensation that Leslie is a real person, not a character in a play. Steve allows his character to completely engulf him, cold cream face mask, feather boa, and all.

Amy McConn and Jan Miller play the parts of Kate Dennis (Jon’s fiancée) and Vivian Trachtman (Jon’s mother), respectively. These two ladies are all over the stage in bouts of flourishing, and sometimes physical, comedy. These women are great counterparts to the leading men on stage and definitely hold their own. Kudos to both.

We must not leave out Mr. Taxman himself, Floyd Spinner. Mr. Spinner is hilariously played by Chad Kraner. Try to picture a grown-up version of Stuart from “Saturday Night Live”. Chad had me laughing out loud through the entire show with his zany one-liners and outlandish physical comedy, never missing a beat. Whether groping Ms. McConn, being caressed by the feet of Ms. Miller, or fighting off suspecting Jehovah Witnesses at the front door, Mr. Kraner was at the top of his game. Well done!

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POSTED: 05/07/18 at 7:47 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

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: http://www.wassenbergartcenter.org/wass-exhibits/40th-annual-photography-exhibit-call-for-entry-deadline. 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 info@wassenbergartcenter.org 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 info@wassenbergartcenter.org, or go to its website at http://www.wassenbergartcenter.org.

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

VW independent/submitted information

Due to an overwhelmingly positive response to the return of The Texas Tenors to the Niswonger Performing Arts Center of Northwest Ohio, tickets for the performance on Saturday, December 9, at 7:30 p.m., presented by Okuley Unverferth Dentistry and Roger and Kay Okuley, are sold out.

Because of the demand for tickets, the Niswonger is adding an additional matinee performance for The Texas Tenors that same day at 3 p.m. Because of this addition, tickets for The Texas Tenors will release ahead of schedule, starting at noon today.

The Texas Tenors perform during their 2015 concert at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center of Northwest Ohio. VW independent file photo

A truly unique vocal trio, The Texas Tenors showcase diverse musical styles, from country and pop to classical. Their theatrical live show and record-setting response to now two PBS specials has garnered them an enthusiastic fan base.

Appearing again on the Niswonger stage after selling out in 2015 with a record breaking number of standing ovations, fans come from near and far to hear The Texas Tenors. These gents take popularity to an entirely new level. Turn up the holiday season heat with these smokin’ hot cowboys!

The Enrich Community Concert Series is presented by Unverferth Family Dentistry and Roger and Kay Okuley, and made complete with the supporting sponsorship of Taylor Auto Sales, State Farm Insurance agent Tisha Fast, Van Wert County Hospital, Central Insurance Companies, Eaton Corporation, First Financial Bancorp, and E&R Trailer.

Tickets to The Texas Tenors can be purchased through the Box Office, noon-4 p.m. Tuesday-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: 08/10/17 at 6:49 am. FILED UNDER: Arts & Entertainment, News

VW independent/submitted information

Off Stage Productions, a community theatre company providing quality and affordable dinner theatre, announces open auditions for its fall production The Queen of Bingo, a comedy written by Jeanne Michels and Phyllis Murphy. This full length play will be co-directed by Matt Kroll and Whitney Nihiser.

Open auditions are set for 7 p.m. Sunday, August 13, and Tuesday, August 15, in the St. Mary of the Assumption Catholic Church gymnasium, 611 Jennings Road in Van Wert (use the bell tower door when entering).

The cast requires a minimum of four adults (2-3 females, 1-2 males). No prior acting experience is necessary to audition. Scripts are available for review before auditions; call 419.238.9394 for details.

The show dates will be October 15, 20-22 22, and 27-28 at American Legion Post 178 in Van Wert, and a final performance on Sunday, October 29, at the Overdrive near Celina.

This play is an exploration of the world of sisterhood, weight issues, romance, winning, losing, and Bingo!  The sisters are very different individuals bound together by genetics, history, and love. Both a bit lonely at this stage in their lives, each has found a different balm.

Babe enjoys being the center of attention, but she also has a real issue about her size. She has a tendency to mood swings and her buttons are easily pushed. Sis is a quiet gal who enjoys involving herself in her activities and other people’s lives. And she knows just which buttons to push.

All of their best and worst qualities come out on this one night at church Bingo. They both need a change in their lives and routine — and tonight just might be their lucky night!

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POSTED: 08/08/17 at 7:44 am. FILED UNDER: Arts & Entertainment, News

Submitted information

WAPAKONETA — Riverside Art Center, 3 W. Auglaize St. in Wapakoneta, has issued a call for entries for the Greater Wapakoneta Community Art Exhibit. The exhibit is open to all artists age 18 and older from Auglaize County and any county that abuts Auglaize County.

A non-refundable entry fee of $20 entitles artists to enter up to three pieces. Fine Arts only: painting, pastels, drawing, photography, sculpture, or ceramics. Original work must have been completed within the last three years and not previously submitted to Riverside juried exhibit.

Artwork must be created by the person entering. This is a juried show, and entry does not guarantee all works will be exhibited. Original artwork means the concept, design, and execution originated in the mind of the artist; copies of other artists’ work or photos, work done from kits or books, or work done in a class will not be accepted. Artwork that has been exhibited at Riverside in the past juried show will not be accepted.

Two-dimensional artwork must be in a frame enclosed on all four sides, or mounted on a stretcher with neatly finished sides. It must have a sturdy wire hanger securely attached to the frame. Metal screw eyes and wire are required; sawtooth hangers or “one-hole hangers” are not acceptable. Wet paintings or wet frames will not be accepted. If special apparatus is needed for display, artists must provide such apparatus.

Entry forms must be submitted via U.S. mail postmarked by August 30.

Entries may be dropped off Sunday, September 10, from 1-4 p.m., and Monday, September 11, from 5-8 p.m. No artwork will be accepted before or after these dates.

POSTED: 07/30/17 at 10:48 pm. FILED UNDER: Arts & Entertainment

VW independent/submitted information

COLUMBUS — The Ohio Arts Council board has approved $12,067,366 in grants to support Ohio artists, organizations, students, educators, and public arts programming during its initial and major FY 2018 funding round.

The 15-member board approved 635 grants when it met publicly on July 19 for its summer board meeting. 

“Thanks to the Ohio governor and legislature’s prioritization of arts funding in the state budget, the Ohio Arts Council continues to invest in Ohio’s creative economy,” said OAC executive director Donna S. Collins. “With these awards, Ohio’s arts sector will engage our citizens, undertake innovative projects, and lead our state to a bright, shared future.”

This year, the OAC awarded 114 new applicants with funding. Among those grants was two grants totaling $22,451 for Van Wert County organizations. Those grant awards include $2,394 for Off Stage Productions Inc. and $20,057 for the Van Wert Area Performing Arts Foundation, which oversees operation of the Niswonger Performing Arts Center of Northwest Ohio.

POSTED: 07/26/17 at 12:00 am. FILED UNDER: Arts & Entertainment, News

VW independent/submitted information

Just a reminder that Select Season tickets go on sale at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center of Northwest Ohio this Friday, July 14.

The Niswonger’s upcoming 11th season is packed with 25 events that will keep patrons inspired, entertained, and educated throughout 2017-18. Starting this Friday, patrons can choose their own Select Series by bundling three or more events together for overall savings. This provides access to tickets before individual event release.

Because of high demand for shows, popular events can sell out prior to release. Advanced ticketing by bundling events as a Select Series ensures seats before events sell out. Early discounts of 10-20 percent save money for buyers of Select Series tickets. Selecting three or more events receives 10 percent off the purchase, selecting six or more receives a 15 percent discount, and purchasing the Grand Series is 20 percent off.

The lobby doors open at noon Friday or purchases can be made online at NPACVW.ORG. Entertainment seekers throughout the region have chosen the Niswonger Performing Arts Center as their entertainment destination. Season 11 is the perfect time to find out why.

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

The Box Office is open noon-4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. For more information, go to the NPAC website above.

POSTED: 07/13/17 at 7:51 am. FILED UNDER: Arts & Entertainment, News

Submitted information

TOLEDO — WGTE Public Media will begin broadcasting a selection of new programs in July on WGTE FM 91.3 in Toledo, WGLE FM 90.7 in Lima, WGBE FM 90.9 in Bryan, and WGDE FM 91.9 in Defiance.

Those programs include the following:

Ask Me Another
Saturdays from 10 – 11 a.m. beginning July 1, 2017

“Ask Me Another” brings the lively spirit and healthy competition of a favorite trivia night right to listeners’ ears. With a rotating cast of funny people, puzzle writers, and VIP guests, it features the wit of host Ophira Eisenberg, the music of house musician Jonathan Coulton, and rambunctious trivia games, all played in front of a live audience.

Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street Radio
Saturdays from noon-1 p.m. beginning July 1

From street food in Thailand to a bakery in a Syrian refugee camp to how one scientist uses state of the art pollen analysis to track the origins of honey (and also to solve cold murder cases), “Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street Radio” goes anywhere and everywhere to ask questions and get answers about cooking, food, culture, wine, farming, restaurants, literature, and the lives and cultures of the people who grow, produce, and create the food we eat. With a four-star cast of contributors, including Sara Moulton (long-time public television host and cookbook author), Adam Gopnik (contributing writer for The New Yorker), Stephen Meuse (wine writer and expert), Dan Pashman (host of “The Sporkful” podcast), and host Christopher Kimball (founder of “Cook’s Magazine”, long-time public TV and radio host, and founder of “Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street”), “Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street Radio” is recorded in the studios of WGBH in Boston, Massachusetts.

Sunday Baroque
Sundays from 11 a.m.-noon beginning July 2

Fresh and inviting, upbeat and inspiring, Sunday Baroque is a weekly radio program featuring beloved and appealing music composed in the baroque era (1600-1750) and the years leading up to it. The music may be centuries-old, but it’s the perfect antidote for the stress and distractions of our modern lives, so you can relax and recharge for the week ahead. Host Suzanne Bona offers a huge variety of beloved and appealing music performed by the world’s finest musicians on a wide variety of instruments.

Conversations from the World Café
Sundays from 9-10 p.m. beginning July 2

A weekly one-hour show hosted by Talia Schlanger presenting interviews and performances of the daily show while exploring trends in contemporary music and culture and the artists who create it. Serving up a blend of blues, rock, world, folk, and alternative country, live performances and intimate interviews, the program is produced by WXPN-FM in Philadelphia.

Concierto
Mondays from 10 p.m.-midnight beginning July 3

“Concierto” is a weekly program of classical music presented in Spanish and English. The program features classical music by Latin American and Spanish composers and musicians. Hosted by WDAV’s Frank Dominguez.

Collector’s Corner
Tuesdays from 10 p.m.-midnight beginning July 4

Collectors’ Corner is about discovering and rediscovering music that rocked the world in days gone by. Host Henry Fogel crafts an historical narrative out of his personal record collection, a treasury amassed from decades of jaunts to record stores and resale shops across the globe.

Fiesta!
Wednesdays from 11 p.m.-midnight beginning July 5

Fiesta! is an original production devoted to Latino concert music, and brings artistically significant compositions from Latin America, Spain and Portugal to your listeners. The acclaimed composer, musician, performer, and professor Elbio Barilari is the host and creative force behind this series. He invites listeners to enjoy and learn about the lively and compelling sounds of Latin American classical music.

What’s New?
Thursdays from 10 p.m.-midnight beginning July 6, 2017

A two-hour weekly show of new music, and new releases, with an in-depth look at classical music. Host John Clare speaks with leading musicians, from Adams to Zwilich, and highlights incredible releases. Topics include instruments (the cello, the piano),

POSTED: 07/05/17 at 6:51 am. FILED UNDER: Arts & Entertainment