The Van Wert County Courthouse

Saturday, May. 25, 2024

By Quincy Thompson

Get ready to rock and roll with the highly anticipated Feel Good Fridays kickoff concert at this year’s Peony Festival. Join us at 7:30 p.m. Friday, June 7, for an electrifying evening featuring the sensational band, Whoa Man! This dynamic group is dedicated to celebrating the powerful women who have shaped the history of rock music.

Whoa Man! will kick off Feel Good Fridays on June 7. Photo submitted

Whoa Man! is known for their high-energy performances and heartfelt tributes to legendary female rock artists. From the iconic voices of Janis Joplin and Stevie Nicks to the groundbreaking sounds of Joan Jett and Pat Benatar, Whoa Man! brings a diverse setlist that promises to captivate and inspire audiences of all ages. Located out of Fort Wayne, this group is sure to bring the good times with their female-featured rock and roll.

This Feel Good Friday concert marks the official start of the summer community concert series that will take place from June 7 to August 9. Every Friday for 10 weeks in a row, the place to be is Fountain Park in downtown Van Wert. Peony Festival is a beloved event that showcases the beauty of our community and the vibrant spirit of spring. Held in the heart of downtown, the festival features a variety of activities, including a stunning display of peony flowers, local vendors, food trucks, and family-friendly entertainment throughout the weekend.

“We are thrilled to have Whoa Man! kick off the summer in Van Wert ,” said Jarin Hart, Executive Director. “Their tribute to the incredible women of rock is not only entertaining but also empowering, and we couldn’t think of a better way to start our Feel Good Fridays!” 

All Feel Good Fridays are completely powered by the Van Wert County Foundation. To see the full list of summer concerts head to vanwertlive.com. Be sure to stop by the Van Wert Live tent to grab a brochure with all the details to each show. 

POSTED: 05/20/24 at 10:40 am. FILED UNDER: Arts & Entertainment

By Quincy Thompson

The Van Wert Area Performing Arts Foundation, the esteemed non-profit organization committed to delivering exceptional entertainment experiences as Van Wert Live, extends its heartfelt appreciation to its esteemed sponsors for their invaluable support during the Spring season at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center.

Springtime in Van Wert has been illuminated with captivating performances, thanks to the generous contributions of both businesses and individuals alike. These sponsors have not only demonstrated a profound commitment to the arts but have also played an instrumental role in fostering a vibrant cultural landscape within our community.

We extend our deepest gratitude to the following businesses and individuals for their unwavering support:

Jim and Mary Pope, who have been instrumental in many shows over the years at the Niswonger, have sponsored the likes of Blue Man Group, Eli Young Band with Jana Kramer, Girl Named Tom, and more.

JoAnne Wolford is the power behind the continuously sold out David Phelps concerts we are able to bring throughout the years. Her giving has helped us bring The Ohio State University Marching Band, Fortune/ Walker/ Rogers/ Isaacs, and Gaither Vocal Band, to name a few!

Gary Taylor has been a donor before the venue was built. He continues to support the arts in our community, and the Niswonger is no exception to Gary’s contributions. Over the years his sponsorships had brought LeAnn Rimes, Michael Bolton, Marie Osmond, and the list could go on. 

Ken and Marilyn Merkle’s names greet every entertainer who enters a dressing room backstage. While Marilyn may be gone, her legacy lives on, and they continue to support the Niswonger and arts in Van Wert. 

Roger and Kay Okuley have supported Van Wert Live and its mission through giving to a variety of inspirational shows and programs at The Niswonger. Their smiling faces are at many of the shows they have funded, including Hotel California, The Beat Goes On: Cher Tribute, Reza the Illusionist, and The Texas Tenors, to start.

Business Sponsors making Live Entertainment possible for all of Northwest Ohio include the invaluable Danfoss, Laing Family Dentistry, Van Wert Federal Savings and Loan, TekniPlex, and Mercy Health. Thank you to these area businesses for their dedication as partners, bringing the performing arts to Van Wert!

Their generosity has empowered Van Wert Live to curate an eclectic array of performances that have captivated audiences and enriched the cultural fabric of our community. Their commitment to the arts is a testament to their dedication to enhancing the quality of life for all residents of Van Wert and beyond.

With their support, we continue to fulfill our mission of providing entertainment experiences that are SO GOOD they demand a return, inspiring audiences and fostering a deep appreciation for the arts.Van Wert Live is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing exceptional entertainment experiences at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center and Fountain Park. Through a diverse array of performances, Van Wert Live seeks to enrich the cultural landscape of Van Wert and surrounding communities, fostering a deep appreciation for the arts among residents of all ages. Stop out to the Niswonger during box office hours from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday-Friday or call at 419.238.6722. Get your ticket 24/7 at vanwertlive.com

POSTED: 05/15/24 at 3:36 am. FILED UNDER: Arts & Entertainment

By Quincy Thompson

Van Wert Live, a premier entertainment destination in Ohio, is thrilled to announce the addition of three sing-sational shows to the fall, 2024 lineup. With a diverse array of performances, Van Wert Live continues to captivate audiences and deliver unforgettable experiences.

Kicking off October is the return of The Texas Tenors, set to grace the Niswonger stage on Saturday, October 5. Renowned for their dynamic blend of country, classical, and pop music, The Texas Tenors promise an evening filled with unparalleled vocal talent and boundless energy. They continue to sell out the Niswonger every time they come. Tickets for this spectacular event start at an incredible $19, ensuring an accessible and thrilling entertainment experience for all.

Following closely on their heels is the incomparable David Phelps, back by popular demand on Saturday, October 26. With his awe-inspiring vocal range and magnetic stage presence, Phelps promises to enchant audiences once again with his soul-stirring melodies and heartfelt performances. Tickets for this highly anticipated event also start at $19, allowing fans to immerse themselves in an evening of musical excellence at an economical price.

The always popular Texas Tenors are coming to the NPAC later this year, along with David Phelps and Dean Z. Photo submitted

Rounding out this exciting announcement is the legendary Elvis impersonator, Dean Z, who will take center stage on December 15. Revered for his uncanny resemblance and electrifying tribute to the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Dean Z promises to transport audiences back in time with his authentic renditions and charismatic presence of favorites like All Shook Up, Can’t Help Falling in Love, and Jailhouse Rock. Tickets for this iconic performance start at $35, offering fans the opportunity to experience the magic of Elvis Presley like never before. 

But the excitement doesn’t end there! Van Wert Live is committed to delivering exceptional entertainment throughout 2024, with more thrilling shows and unforgettable experiences in store. Stay tuned for further announcements and prepare to be dazzled by the talent and excitement that Van Wert Live has to offer.

Don’t miss your chance to be part of the magic! Members can secure their tickets now for The Texas Tenors, David Phelps, Dean Z, and more, only at Van Wert Live. Not a member? Become one today starting at only $100 and get your tickets as soon as shows are announced. Memberships are good for 365 days. Tickets for all shows will be on sale to the public starting May 14th. Don’t miss your chance to experience the magic of live entertainment this fall at Niswonger Performing Arts Center in Van Wert, Ohio! Be sure to follow us on social media and be a part of our email list because there is more in store in 2024.

Stop out to the Niswonger in-person from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Friday or call at 419.238.6722. Get your tickets 24/7 at vanwertlive.com.

POSTED: 05/07/24 at 7:56 am. FILED UNDER: Arts & Entertainment

By Quincy Thompson 

As Mother’s Day weekend approaches, the Niswonger Performing Arts Center is gearing up to host a captivating performance by the renowned Dallas String Quartet on Friday, May 10. Offering a unique twist on contemporary music infused with the elegance of instrumental artistry, this event promises to be a delightful treat for music enthusiasts of all ages. Tickets for this extraordinary performance start at only $19, making it an accessible and affordable option for a memorable outing.

The Dallas String Quartet will bring something a little different to the NPAC. Photo submitted

Immerse yourself in an evening of musical bliss as the Dallas String Quartet presents a beautiful collection of familiar tunes, reimagined with their signature style and flair. Playing songs like Taylor Swift’s “Wildest Dreams,” Guns N’ Roses’ “Sweet Child O’ Mine”, “In My Blood” by Shawn Mendes and “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen, paired with a seamless storyline, will entertain and delight. Featuring beautiful arrangements and costumes, you can hear an iconic Bridgerton show like soundtrack while DSQ takes you on a journey as pop goes classical! 

With the 2022 release of their seventh album “Love Always” they charted at No. 2 on the Classical Crossover Album and the Classical Album Billboard charts. DSQ’s contemporary interpretations continue to expand their passionate online following on Pandora, Spotify, and YouTube. DSQ is referred to as “Bach meets Bon Jovi” and is compared to artists like Lindsey Stirling, Vitamin String Quartet, Brooklyn Duo and 2Cellos. 

Secure your seats now by visiting vanwertlive.com. Join us for an evening of exquisite music and celebration at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center on May 10. Tickets are available now and start at only $19.00 and can be purchased online at vanwertlive.com or by calling the box office at 419.238.6722 between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.

POSTED: 04/29/24 at 2:36 pm. FILED UNDER: Arts & Entertainment

By Quincy Thompson

Get ready to experience the magic of the King of Pop as MJ LIVE, the No. 1 Michael Jackson tribute show takes the stage at Niswonger Performing Arts Center at 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 26. Tickets to this fan favorite start at the economical price of only $29.

Michael Jackson fans will definitely want to head to the NPAC this Friday night. Photo submitted

Direct from the entertainment capital of the world, Las Vegas, MJ LIVE brings the electrifying energy and iconic hits of Michael Jackson to life in an unforgettable performance. Audiences will be transported through the decades as they witness dazzling choreography, stunning costumes and of course, the timeless music that made Michael Jackson a global sensation.

From “Thriller” to “Billie Jean,” “Smooth Criminal” to “Beat It,” fans will experience the thrill of hearing their favorite Michael Jackson hits performed live by world-class performers who capture the essence of the legendary performer like no other. Tribute artist Jalles Franca, a popular entertainer in Las Vegas and throughout the country, will bring Michael Jackson’s signature style to our Niswonger stage.

“We are thrilled to bring MJ LIVE to Niswonger Performing Arts Center,” said Jarin Hart, Executive Director of Van Wert Live. “This show is a celebration of Michael Jackson’s unparalleled talent and legacy, and audiences are in for an incredible night of music, dance, and nostalgia.”

MJ LIVE has garnered rave reviews from audiences and critics alike, earning its reputation as the ultimate Michael Jackson tribute show. Whether you’re a lifelong fan or experiencing the magic of Michael Jackson for the first time, MJ LIVE promises an evening of entertainment that will leave you moonwalking out of the theater.

Tickets for MJ LIVE at Niswonger Performing Arts Center are available now and start at only $29 and can be purchased online at vanwertlive.com or by calling 419.238.6722. Don’t miss your chance to experience the music and magic of Michael Jackson live on stage.

POSTED: 04/22/24 at 8:56 am. FILED UNDER: Arts & Entertainment

By Quincy Thompson

This week, Niswonger Performing Arts Center presents a spectacular lineup that promises double the excitement and double the fun for all entertainment enthusiasts.

Prepare to be enthralled by improv on Thursday night as the uproarious Whose Live Anyway troupe takes the Niswonger stage, followed by an unforgettable evening with legendary country music artist Travis Tritt on Saturday night.

“To be able to provide both comedy and country in one week at the Niswonger shows the passion Van Wert Live embodies, working hard to fulfill our vision of making Van Wert an entertainment destination,” said Quincy Thompson, Marketing Director. “This weekend alone we will entertain over 2,000 people. We take great pride in that.”

Be prepared to laugh during Whose Live Anyway? Photos submitted

On Thursday, April 18, Whose Live Anyway? takes the stage. The current cast members of the Emmy-nominated TV show Whose Line Is It Anyway? are proud to present their new improv tour. Tickets start at $19. Bringing you 90 minutes of laughter are: Ryan Stiles, Greg Proops, Jeff B. Davis, and Joel Murray. All ages are welcomed, but please note that some “PG-13” language will be used during the Whose Live Anyway? Performance.

Next up on Saturday, April 20, get ready to kick up your boot heels and embrace the soulful sounds of classic country as Grammy Award-winning artist Travis Tritt with his full band graces the Niswonger stage.Tickets start at $59. With his timeless hits and electrifying performances, Tritt is set to deliver an unforgettable night of music, memories, and pure country magic.

Van Wert Live would like to thank our annual sponsors who help bring entertainment all year long: Central Insurance, Statewide Ford, 1st Federal of Van Wert, and OhioHealth.

Our 2024 Spring Season is presented by: The Niswonger Foundation, Founding Sponsor, JoAnne Wolford, Gary Taylor, Jim and Mary Pope, Ken and Marilyn Merkle, Roger and Kay Okuley, Danfoss, TekniPlex, Van Wert Federal, Mercy Health, and Laing Family Dentistry. Van Wert Live is powered by the Van Wert County Foundation.

Stop out to the Niswonger from Tuesday-Friday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. or call at 419.238.6722. Get your tickets 24/7 at vanwertlive.com.

The NPAC will go country with Travis Tritt on Saturday.

POSTED: 04/16/24 at 10:03 am. FILED UNDER: Arts & Entertainment

By Quincy Thompson

Van Wert Live is thrilled to announce a few of the shows set to grace the Niswonger stage this fall. From heartwarming family entertainment to sidesplitting comedy and an enchanting tribute to a music legend, this fall promises an extraordinary experience for all. This is just the start of our fall 2024 show announcements!

Kicking off the fall on Tuesday, September 17, is the highly anticipated “Bluey’s Big Play.” Families are invited to join the beloved blue heeler pup, Bluey, and her friends for an unforgettable theatrical adventure filled with laughter, music, and boundless fun!

Bluey’s Big Play is just one of the newly announced shows coming to the NPAC. Photo submitted

On Thursday, October 10, prepare for an evening of laughter as comedian Charlie Berens takes the stage. Berens, known for his hilarious takes on Midwestern culture and viral “Manitowoc Minute” segments, promises an uproarious performance that will leave audiences in stitches.

Another show coming this gall on Friday, November 8, is “Always Olivia – An Olivia Newton-John Tribute.” Audiences will celebrate the timeless hits and remarkable career of music icon Olivia Newton-John in this captivating tribute.

“We are delighted to present these three incredible shows as part of our fall 2024 lineup at Niswonger Performing Arts Center,” said Jarin Hart, Executive Director of Van Wert Live. “Each performance promises to deliver unparalleled entertainment and unforgettable memories for the community.”

Tickets for all shows will be available for purchase by the public starting April 23. Van Wert Live members can purchase tickets starting Tuesday, April 9. Don’t miss your chance to experience the magic of live entertainment this fall at Niswonger Performing Arts Center in Van Wert, Ohio! Be sure to follow us on social media and be a part of our email list because there is more in store in 2024!

Stop out to the Niswonger from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday-Friday or call 419.238.6722. Get your ticket 24/7 at vanwertlive.com.

POSTED: 04/09/24 at 9:24 am. FILED UNDER: Arts & Entertainment

By Quincy Thompson

Fans of country music rejoice! The iconic Travis Tritt is set to grace the stage of the Niswonger Performing Arts Center once again, accompanied by his full band. Scheduled for Saturday, April 20, this highly anticipated event comes as a result of overwhelming demand from concertgoers who simply can’t get enough of Tritt’s electrifying performances. 

Travis Tritt

Known for his soulful voice, dynamic stage presence, and chart-topping hits, Travis Tritt has long been a staple in the country music scene. With a career spanning over three decades, he has amassed a loyal following and garnered numerous accolades, including multiple Grammy Awards and Billboard chart-toppers. He was influenced by various musical styles, including Southern rock and blues, in addition to country music. Artists such as Hank Williams Jr., Waylon Jennings, and Charlie Daniels were particularly influential in shaping his sound.

But it’s not just his musical talent that makes Travis Tritt a standout figure in the industry. In addition to his impressive music career, Tritt is also an accomplished actor. He has appeared in several films and television shows, showcasing his versatility and charisma beyond the stage.

As excitement builds for his upcoming performance at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center, tickets are selling fast. Don’t miss your chance to experience an unforgettable evening of music and entertainment with Travis Tritt and his full band. Secure your seats now before they’re gone! Tickets start at $59, so stop out to the Niswonger from Tuesday-Friday 10 a.m.-3 p.m., in person or call at 419.238.6722. Get tickets 24/7 at vanwertlive.com,

POSTED: 04/01/24 at 12:37 pm. FILED UNDER: Arts & Entertainment

By Quincy Thompson

Van Wert Live is thrilled to commemorate World Theatre Day on March 27, celebrating the transformative power of theatre worldwide. Since opening our doors in 2007, The Niswonger has been a beacon of artistic excellence, hosting over 400 Van Wert Live events and welcoming more than 400,000 patrons through our doors.

World Theatre Day is a momentous occasion for artists, performers, and theatre enthusiasts to come together and honor the profound impact of theatre on our lives. It’s a day to celebrate the stories, the emotions, and the shared experiences that only theatre can provide.

For over a decade, The Niswonger has been at the forefront of cultural enrichment in Van Wert and beyond. From captivating Broadway productions to mesmerizing concerts and thought-provoking performances, our stage has been graced by some of the most talented artists from around the world. Recently Jay Leno, LeAnne Rimes, and Michael Bolton have performed on the Van Wert stage, just to name a few.

Michael Bolton was just one of the top notch performances at the NPAC. Photo submitted

To celebrate World Theatre Day this year, we invite everyone to join us in commemorating the magic of theatre. Share your favorite memories, performances, or moments at the Niswonger on social media using the hashtags #vanwertlive and #worldtheatreday. Let’s come together to celebrate the joy, the laughter, the tears, and the inspiration that theatre brings into our lives.

As we reflect on the past and look forward to the future, Van Wert Live remains committed to providing experiences that are SO GOOD they demand a return. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to our patrons, sponsors, and the talented artists who have graced our stages over the years.

Stop out to the Niswonger from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Friday for in-person ticket sales or call at 419.238.6722. Get your tickets 24/7 at vanwertlive.com.

POSTED: 03/27/24 at 4:47 am. FILED UNDER: Arts & Entertainment

By Quincy Thompson

In a world often weighed down by stress and turmoil, the simple act of laughter can be a powerful antidote. Recent studies have revealed the myriad of benefits that comedy and laughter bring to both physical and mental health, reinforcing the age-old adage that laughter truly is the best medicine.

Van Wert Live has asked, and the responses have been heard loud and clear: One of the most requested genres is comedy. This Spring already we are bringing the comedy legend Jay Leno to the Niswonger stage on March 23. This show is almost sold out and is sure to be a night of fantastic laughter. Jay Leno is the recipient of many honors, including Emmy, People’s Choice, and TV Guide awards, just to name a few. This No. 1 Late Night Show host takes the stage at 7:30 p.m. this Saturday.

Whose Live Anyway is coming to the NPAC on April 18. Photo submitted

Then on April 18 “Whose Live Anyway?” takes the stage. The current cast members of the Emmy-nominated TV show Whose Line Is It Anyway? are proud to present their new improv tour: Whose Live Anyway?
Experience 90 minutes of hilarious improvised comedy and song all based on audience suggestions. Cast members Ryan Stiles, Greg Proops, Jeff B. Davis, and Joel Murray will leave you gasping with the very witty scenes they invent before your eyes. Audience participation is key to the show so bring your suggestions and you might be asked to join the cast onstage!

Whose Live Anyway? showcases some of the improv games made famous on the long-running TV show as well as some exciting new ones, featuring musical direction by Bob Derkach. All ages are welcomed, but please note that some “PG-13” language will be used during the Whose Live Anyway? Performance.

“Laughter is an instant vacation.” – Milton Berle. As we navigate the complexities of the modern world, let us not underestimate the transformative power of laughter. Embracing humor and comedy not only enriches our lives but also nurtures our health and well-being. Even more
laughter is in store for fall of 2024 at the Niswonger.

Stop out to the Niswonger from Tuesday – Friday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. for in person or call at 419.238.6722. Get your ticket 24/7 at vanwertlive.com.

POSTED: 03/20/24 at 12:39 pm. FILED UNDER: Arts & Entertainment