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Niswonger Performing Arts Center
Apr 01 , 2017


What better way to celebrate our 10th Anniversary than with America’s most beloved Pop Orchestras of all-time - the Boston Pops along with one of their all-time favorite performers, Berna- dette Peters! This optional black-tie event will be filled with ex- citement and surprises befitting a Gala event of this magnitude.

The Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra has such a rich American heritage with renowned conductors Arthur Fiedler (1930 – 1979), John Williams (1980 – 1993), and now Keith Lockhart (1995 – present). It is affectionately known as “America’s Orchestra” and has been the most recorded and beloved orchestras in the country. Iconic performers from all over the United States cherish the opportunity to perform with the Boston Pops.

For this once in a lifetime performance at the Niswonger in Van Wert, one of the Pops all-time favorite performers will join the orchestra in a fitting tribute to the Niswonger and our ten years of accomplishments. This Tony Award-winning actress has dazzled audiences and critics with her performances on stage, television, and film screen, in concert and on recordings. Bernadette is the perfect iconic performer to team with America’s Orchestra in a night that will live forever in the hearts of those fortunate enough to have a seat in Nisownger’s Saltzgaber Music Hall.

A night so special as this could not happen without the support of the three largest contributors to the building of the Niswonger Performing Arts Center of Northwest Ohio: Scott M. Niswonger, The Van Wert County Foundation and Central Mutual Insurance Companies. Ten years ago, these three big players, along with many others, helped make the Niswonger PAC become a reality. Now, they have joined forces once again, along with The Kenn-feld Group, to present this night of memories.

It promises to be a night like no other. The stars will certainly be out this night. We invite you to join us for one classy night of music, fun, and laughter, as we celebrate Ten Years of Wow! at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center in Van Wert, Ohio. 

ORCHESTRA CENTER TICKETS and FINE DINNER at Willow Bend with Limited Guests - $250
Only 14 Dinner/Show Tickets Remain.
Social time to begin at 5:00 PM with Dinner & Celebration following at 5:30 PM.
Orchestra Center (without Dinner) - $200
Orchestra Right & Left - $150
ALL Mezzanine - $125
ALL Balcony - $100

Tickets - $20
Live Music . Hors d'oeveres . Cash Bar Available

Ms. Peters recently starred on Broadway in the critically acclaimed production of Follies, after a highly successful run at the Kennedy Center. Prior to that, she starred in the Tony Award-winning masterpiece, A Little Night Music opposite Elaine Stritch. This year, Bernadette received her third Tony, The Isabelle Stevenson Award which acknowledges an individual from the theatre community who has made a substantial contribution of volunteered time and effort on behalf of one or more humanitarian, social service or charitable organizations, regardless of whether such organizations relate to the theatre. Peters, along with good friend Mary Tyler Moore co-foundedBroadway Barks!, an organization that promotes the adoption of shelter animals. Broadway Barks! has evolved into an event that not only focuses on the plight of homeless animals but had opened the door of communication and fostered a spirit of community among the numerous shelters and rescue groups working throughout New York. Their annual star-studded animal adoption event takes place in New York City’s famed Shubert Alley.

She has also added author / songwriter to her roster of achievements with her debut children’s book, "Broadway Barks", a New York Times Bestseller, aptly named after the organization she co-founded. The book package includes a CD of an original song, written and sung by the author. Her second children’s book, "Stella is a Star", features another of her original songs of which all of the proceeds from the sale of both books go to Broadway Barks!.

In 2003, she received her seventh Tony Award nomination for her electrifying portrayal of Momma Rose in Sam Mendes’ record-breaking Broadway revival of Gypsy, and her brilliant performance was captured on the Grammy award-winning Gypsy cast recording. “Bernadette Peters is a revelation!” Ben Brantley of The New York Times declared of her star turn in the show. Peters’ Angel Records CD,Sondheim, Etc., Etc.: Bernadette Peters Live at Carnegie Hall (The Rest of It), features never-before-released highlights from her historic 1996 highly anticipated solo debut at Carnegie Hall. The concert was a benefit for Gay Men’s Health Crisis. This performance was repeated in Bernadette Peters in Concert, her London solo debut at Royal Festival Hall, which later was telecast on PBS and is available on DVD.

A native of Ozone Park, New York, Peters began her performing career at the age of 3 with appearances on Juvenile Jury, the classic TV game show Name That Tune, and The Horn & Hardart Children’s Hour. She made her theatrical debut inThis is Goggle, starring James Daly and Kim Hunter, directed by the legendary Otto Preminger. Still in her teens, she appeared in The Most Happy Fella and The Penny Friend and performed in the national touring company of Gypsy. Peters made her Broadway debut in 1967 in Johnny No-Trump, and in 1968 starred with Joel Grey in the musicalGeorge M!, earning a Theatre World Award for her memorable portrayal of Josie Cohan. That same year, she received a Drama Desk Award for her show stopping performance in the smash hit off-Broadway musical Dames at Sea, and quickly became one of the most sought-after stars in musical theatre.

One of Broadway’s brightest stars, Peters received both the Tony Award and Drama Desk Award for her critically acclaimed performance in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s hit musical Song and Dance. In June 1999, Peters earned her second Tony Award, her third Drama Desk Award, and an Outer Critics Circle Award for her portrayal of Annie Oakley in one of Broadway’s most popular musicals, the smash Tony Award-winning hit Broadway revival of Annie Get Your Gun. Peters also received Tony nominations for her work in the 1992 musical The Goodbye Girl; Stephen Sondheim’s Pulitzer Prize-winning musicalSunday in the Park With George; the Jerry Herman/Gower Champion ode to the movies, Mack and Mabel; and the Leonard Bernstein/Comden and Green musical On The Town. In addition to these honors, Peters earned a Drama Desk nomination for her memorable portrayal of the Witch in Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods.

While Peters is best known for her work in the theatre, her career doesn’t end at the footlights. She boasts an impressive list of television credits including her recent guest appearance on NBC’s new hit series SMASH. She has also appeared in the Lifetime movie, Living Proof opposite Harry Connick, Jr.; a guest starring role in the two-hour 2008 season premiere of the ABC-TV hit series,Grey’s Anatomy, and a recurring role on the popular TV hit, Ugly Betty. She has appeared in several performing arts specials such as PBS’ Evening at Pops and The Kennedy Center Honors to early appearances in variety shows such as The Carol Burnett Show and an Emmy-nominated performance on The Muppet Show. She appeared in the star-studded Sondheim: A Celebration at Carnegie Hall and also played an opera diva-on-the-verge-of-a-nervous-breakdown in Terrence McNally’s The Last Mile, both for PBS’ highly acclaimed Great Performances series. Other television credits include PBS’s Hey Mr. Producer!: the Musical World of Cameron Mackintosh and the ABC-TV special Quincy Jones: the First 50 Years. Peters received an Emmy nomination for her performance in FOX’s hit TV series Ally McBeal. She portrayed the wicked stepmother in Cinderellawith Brandy and Whitney Houston, and also starred in The Odyssey starring Armand Assante, David, Fall From Grace with Kevin Spacey, and The Last Best Year with Mary Tyler Moore. She also appeared in the Showtime movie Bobbie’s Girl(Daytime Emmy nomination) and Prince Charming, a TNT movie co-starring Martin Short and Christina Applegate. Peters recorded the original title song for the 1998 feature film Barney’s Great Adventure: The Movie, written by famed Tony Award-winning Broadway composer Jerry Herman (Hello, Dolly!, Mame). She can also be heard as the voice of “Sophie” in the feature film Anastasia, as “Angelique” in the special home video Beauty and the Beast: Enchanted Christmas, as Sue in The Land Before Time: The Great Longneck Migration, and the voice of Rita the Cat in the popular Steven Spielberg animated program Animaniacs.

A performer of amazing versatility, Peters has lit up the silver screen in 17 films throughout her distinguished career. She received a Golden Globe Award for her memorable performance in Pennies From Heaven. Film credits include The Jerk with Steve Martin, The Longest Yard with Burt Reynolds, Silent Movie with Mel Brooks, Annie with Carol Burnett, Pink Cadillac with Clint Eastwood, Slaves of New York with Mercedes Ruehl, Woody Allen’sAlice with Mia Farrow, Impromptu with Hugh Grant and Mandy Patinkin, and, It Runs in the Family, starring opposite Kirk and Michael Douglas.

In addition to numerous Grammy Award-winning Broadway cast albums including Gypsy and Annie Get Your Gun, Peters has recorded six solo albums:Sondheim, Etc., Etc.: Bernadette Peters Live at Carnegie Hall (The Rest of It); Bernadette Peters Loves Rodgers & Hammerstein (Grammy Nomination); Sondheim Etc.: Bernadette Peters Live At Carnegie Hall (Grammy Nomination); I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight (Grammy Nomination);Bernadette Peters; and Now Playing.

Peters has received numerous accolades throughout her distinctive career, ranging from the Tony Award to a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The Police Athletic League (PAL), an organization which runs 84 youth centers and 150 summer camps for New York City’s neediest children, named her as Woman of the Year for 1999. A few weeks earlier, the Actors Fund of America bestowed Peters with their Artistic Achievement Award. She has received the Special Advocate Award from the City of New York for her contributions to the gay and lesbian community, and is the youngest person to be inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame. Peters also received the 2000 New York Heroes Award from the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences. In 2004, she was the Arts and Entertainment recipient of the Matrix Award from New York Women in Communications, Inc. Other honors include the Sarah Siddons Actress of the Year Award and Harvard’s Hasty Pudding Woman of the Year for her “lasting and impressive contribution to the world of entertainment.”

Bernadette devotes her time and talents to numerous events that benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, in addition to her “pet project” Broadway Barks!. In 2009 she performed a critically acclaimed one night only concert in New York City at the Minskoff Theatre, “Bernadette Peters: A Special Concert for Broadway Barks Because Broadway Cares”, which the proceeds went to both organizations.

She resides in New York City and Los Angeles.


1968: Theatre World Award
1969: Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Performance for Dames at Sea
1972: Tony Award nomination for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for On the Town
1975: Tony Award nomination for Best Actress in a Musical for Mack and Mabel
1981: Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture (Musical or Comedy) for Pennies from Heaven
1984: Tony Award nomination for Best Actress in a Musical for Sunday in the Park with George
1985: Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical for Song and Dance
1985: Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Musical for Song and Dance
1985: Drama League Award Outstanding Performance of the Season for Song and Dance
1993: Tony Award nomination for Best Actress in a Musical for The Goodbye Girl
1999: Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Actress in a Musical for Annie Get Your Gun
1999: Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Musical for Annie Get Your Gun
1999: Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical for Annie Get Your Gun
2003: Drama Desk nomination for Best Actress in a Musical, Gypsy
2003: Tony nomination for Best Actress in a Musical, Gypsy


The Most Happy Fella - Performer - NY Center Opera - 1959 
Gypsy - Dainty June (understudy) - U.S. Tour - 1961 
The Penny Friend - Performer - Stage 73 (off-Broadway) - 1966 
Curly McDimple - Performer - Bert Wheeler Theater (off-Broadway) - 1967 
The Girl in the Freudian Slip - Leslie Maugham (Standby) - Booth Theatre (Broadway) - 1967 
Johnny No-Trump - Bettina - Cort Theatre (Broadway) - 1967 
A Mother's Kisses - Performer - Shubert Theatre (New Haven, CT) - 1968 
Dames at Sea - Ruby - Bouwerie Lane Theatre (off-Broadway) 1968 
George M! - Josie Cohan - Palace Theatre (Broadway) - 1968 
La Strada - Gelsomina - Lunt-Fontanne Theatre (Broadway) - 1969 
W.C. - Performer - U.S. Tour - 1970 
Nevertheless They Laugh - Consuelo - Lamb's Club (off-Broadway) - 1970 
On the Town - Hildy Esterhazy - Imperial Theatre (Broadway) - 1971 
Mack and Mabel - Mabel Normand - Majestic Theatre (Broadway) - 1974 
Sally and Marsha - Sally - Manhattan Theatre Club (off-Broadway) - 1982 
Sunday in the Park with George - Dot/Marie - Booth Theatre (Broadway) - 1984 
Song and Dance - Emma - Royale Theatre (Broadway) - 1985 
Into the Woods - Witch - Martin Beck Theatre (Broadway) - 1987 
The Goodbye Girl - Paula - Marquis Theatre (Broadway) - 1993 
Sunday in the Park with George (10th Reunion Concert) - Dot/Marie - St. James Theatre (Broadway) - 1994 
Into the Woods (10th Reunion Concert) - Witch - Broadway Theatre (Broadway) - 1997 
Annie Get Your Gun - Annie Oakley - Marquis Theatre (Broadway) - 1999 
Gypsy - Rose - Shubert Theatre (Broadway) - 2003
A Little Night Music - Desirée Armfeldt - Walter Kerr Theatre (Broadway) - 2010
Follies - Sally Durant Plummer - Marquis Theatre (Broadway) - 2011

The Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra
In 2016 the Boston Pops enters its 131st season of entertaining audiences in Boston and beyond. Boston Pops Conductor Keith Lockhart marks his 22nd year at the helm of the orchestra. It all began in 1885, thanks to the vision of Civil War veteran Henry Lee Higginson. Four years earlier, in 1881, he founded the Boston Symphony Orchestra, calling its establishment "the dream of my life." From the start he intended to present, in the warmer months, concerts of light classics and the popular music of the day. From a practical perspective, Higginson realized that these "lighter" performances would provide year-round employment for his musicians. The "Promenade Concerts," as they were originally called, were soon informally known as "Popular Concerts," which eventually became shortened to "Pops," the name officially adopted in 1900. The following year the orchestra performed for the first time in its new home, Symphony Hall. Not only is this performance space acoustically outstanding, it was also designed, at Higginson's insistence, so that the rows of seats for Boston Symphony concerts could be replaced by tables and chairs for Pops concerts. For more information visit www.bso.org.

Having celebrated his 20th anniversary as Boston Pops Conductor in spring 2015, Keith Lockhart is the second longest-tenured conductor of the Boston Pops Orchestra since the orchestra's founding in 1885. He took over as conductor in 1995, following John Williams's 13-year tenure from 1980 to 1993; Mr. Williams succeeded the legendary Arthur Fiedler, who was at the helm of the orchestra for nearly 50 years. The Boston Pops, which has often been described as "America's Orchestra," is both the creator and lead exemplar of the Pops orchestra tradition-one that presents concerts combining favorites of classical music with a wide variety of musical genres, with performances showcasing a diverse selection of artists from the fields of classical, jazz, Broadway, pop, country, indie, and rock, among others.

During his tenure as Boston Pops Conductor, Keith Lockhart has significantly expanded the orchestra's programming, focused on national annual touring, and participated in major media events. He has also solidified the Pops's place in the fabric of the New England community in ways a traditional symphonic orchestra would not be able to replicate. One of Keith Lockhart's greatest gifts springs from his passion and instinct for virtually every kind of music, inspiring an uncanny ability to lead the Boston Pops as a vital partner in countless performance situations, always finding the best way of bringing seemingly disparate worlds of music together with the very best the Boston Pops has to offer. The list of more than 250 guest artists-a virtual "who's who" of artists and pop culture icons of the 20th and 21st centuries-includes artists/celebrities/ensembles as diverse as Aerosmith, Bernadette Peters, Ben Affleck, Buzz Aldrin, Jason Alexander, Patti Austin, Big Bird, Chris Botti, Mariah Carey, Harry Connick, Jr., Elvis Costello, Béla Fleck, Warren Haynes, Sir Elton John, Toby Keith, Nathan Lane, Yo-Yo Ma, Shaquille O'Neal, Amanda Palmer, Steve Martin, Audra McDonald, Jessye Norman, James Taylor, Sting, the United States Army Field Band, and Buckwheat Zydeco, as well as such prominent political figures as Bill Clinton, Chris Christie, Ted Kennedy, and Elizabeth Warren.

During Keith Lockhart's 21-year tenure, he has conducted nearly 1,700 Boston Pops concerts, a majority of which have taken place during the orchestra's spring and Holiday seasons in Boston's historic Symphony Hall; Mr. Lockhart has also led the Boston Pops in annual appearances at Tanglewood, the BSO's summer home in western Massachusetts. Keith Lockhart's work outside Symphony Hall has been diverse and multi-faceted, focusing on the orchestra's national exposure through touring (he has led 40 national tours to 134 cities in 33 states, as well as four international tours to Japan and Korea) and participation in some of the country's highest-profile sporting events, including appearances at Super Bowl XXXVI, the 2008 NBA Finals, and the 2013 Boston Red Sox Ring Ceremony. The annual July 4 Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular-which drew a live audience of approximately 500,000 in 2014-was featured on national network television through 2013; this past summer the first-ever Boston Pops web cast brought the Independence Day celebration to 1.3 million music fans throughout the world.

Keith Lockhart has led several recordings on the RCA Victor/BMG Classics label, including two recordings that received Grammy nominations-The Celtic Album and The Latin Album. He and the Pops were a major inspiration behind the creation of BSO Classics, the in-house recording label for both the Boston Symphony and Boston Pops.The Red Sox Album (2009) and A Boston Pops Christmas: Live From Symphony Hall(2013) are two of the recent Pops albums available on BSO Classics. The Dream Lives On: A Portrait of the Kennedy Brothers (BSO Classics 2010)-featuring narrators Robert De Niro, Ed Harris, Morgan Freeman, and Cherry Jones-was a Boston Pops commission premiered during the orchestra's 125th season in 2010 and represented a collaboration between the Boston Pops and composer Peter Boyer and lyricist Lynn Ahrens.

Programming-wise, Keith Lockhart has put an increased focus on musical theater, attracting many of the leading Broadway artists of our time, including Kristen Chenoweth, Idina Menzel, Kelli O'Hara, and Billy Porter. He has worked closely with hundreds of talented young musicians-Including Fellows of the Tanglewood Music Center, college students from the Boston Conservatory and Berklee College of Music, and high school students who have been featured in the Fidelity Young Artists Competition and BSO Concerto Competition-by coaching them and creating opportunities for them to perform with the Pops. He introduced the highly successful Pops Search talent competition inspired by the success ofAmerican Idol. Mr. Lockhart has also experimented with a wide variety of new programming, including Edgefestand JAZZfest , which featured both cutting-edge artists and rising talents-including Guster, My Morning Jacket, Chick Corea, Gary Burton, Arturo Sandoval, and Diana Krall, among others. Keith Lockhart is also highly committed to the important task of continuing to build and update the Boston Pops library of music-the best and most extensive Pops library in the world with over five thousand exclusive musical arrangements. Composers and arrangers who have worked with the pops during Mr. Lockhart's tenure include Doug Besterman, Christopher Brubeck, Jorge Calandrelli, Tod Machover, Angela Morley, Sammy Nestico, Christopher Rouse, Don Sebesky, Michael Starobin, and Danny Troob.

Keith Lockhart has also renewed the Boston Pops's commitment to bring the orchestra into the Boston community and to make special appearances at important civic events and ceremonies, including gubernatorial and mayoral inauguration ceremonies; the annual tree lighting event in Boston's Public Garden; sporting events including Red Sox, Patriot, Bruins, and Celtic games; and the recent memorial service in honor of the victims of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings. He has also led free community concerts in major public spaces, including the Boston Common and Franklin Park. Mr. Lockhart and members of the Pops have also performed annually for the young patients at Children's Hospital during the Holiday season, recently adding an appearance at Spaulding Rehabilitation Center. The Pops's civic commitment is also notable for its ongoing connections with such prestigious colleges and universities as MIT, Tufts, Harvard, Northeastern University, Boston University, Boston College, Boston Conservatory of Music, Berklee College of Music, and New England Conservatory, many of whom are associated with the orchestra through college nights at the Pops, alumni anniversary celebrations-a tradition dating back more than a century.

Mr. Lockhart has also played a major role in the fund-raising success of the Boston Symphony Orchestra's (parent organization of the Boston Pops) most important corporate events: Presidents at Pops and A Company Christmas at Pops. Under his artistic leadership these events have raised more than $40 million for the BSO and Boston Pops, and are considered among the most successful fundraisers of their kind in the country. Fidelity Investments, a longtime supporter of the Pops and BSO, has been the main sponsor of the Boston Pops throughout Keith Lockhart's tenure with the orchestra, which began in 1995. In addition, the corporate fund-raising events that he and the Pops present on a regular basis have helped raise millions of dollars to benefit such institutions as Boston College, The Arts Foundation of Cape Cod, and the Nantucket Cottage Hospital, among others.

Perhaps the most significant key to Keith Lockhart's success is his ability to connect passionately with audiences through his engaging programs, his commitment to speaking directly to concert-goers from the stage with fascinating insights into the music, and his inherent understanding of the importance of what sets the Pops apart from a traditional orchestra concert - an atmosphere of music-making that is both fun and entertaining for music lovers of all ages.

Prior to coming to Boston, Keith Lockhart was the associate conductor of both the Cincinnati Symphony and Cincinnati Pops orchestras, as well as music director of the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra. Born in Poughkeepsie, NY, Mr. Lockhart began his musical studies with piano lessons at the age of seven. He holds degrees from Furman University and Carnegie Mellon University, and honorary doctorates from several American universities. Visit keithlockhart.com for further information.

Performance Schedule

  • Saturday, April 1, 2017 8:00 PM Cal +


Immediate access parking is FREE at the Niswonger. Lots are located to the North and South of the venue. Handicap parking is available to the East of the facility immediately outside of the main entrance.


All areas of the Niswonger and certain seating areas are accessible by wheelchair. Please notify the Box Office (419-238-NPAC) at the time of ticket purchase so that a platform for companion seating is reserved. Please ask the ushers for assistance to be seated. All entrances from the parking lots have ramps and are at sidewalk level. A wheelchair-accessible elevator serves both levels of the Niswonger providing both the lower and upper lobby and auditorium. All restroom facilities offer handicap accessibility and a larger family restroom is available on the upper lobby level. There are a limited number of handicap accessible parking spaces available in the front of the facility and in both the North and South campus parking lots. These are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. The Niswonger also has assisted listening devices provided by the Van Wert Service Club. Please contact the Box Office for details: 419-238-NPAC.

Alert the Facilities Manager of any special considerations. The Niswonger Staff is ready to assist with entry to and from the show. Please contact the Box Office in advance at 419-238-6722 or [email protected].

Group Sales

Advanced event ticketing, a 10% discount and a driver comp ticket are available for groups of 10 or more. Arrangements must be made through Jerry Beard, Box Office Manager, 419-238-6722 or [email protected].

Electronic Devices & Camera Policy

Please or silence all electronic devices when the house lights go down for the performance. We welcome you to access social media to share your experience during intermission or after the performance. The use of cameras, audio recording devices and video recording devices is prohibited at performances at the INB PAC. The use of professional lenses and flash photography is strictly prohibited. Flash photography may distract the performer and cause injury.

Age Restrictions

There are no age restrictions for this family show. Children three and under are granted admission without a ticket so long as they are held by an adult ticket-holder. The VWAPAF reserves the right to preclude the attendance of children under the age of 5 years determined by the nature of the performance. Guardians will be asked to remove their child/children if they cause disruptions for other ticket-holders during a performance.