In the news

Home  /  Learn more  /  Press  /  Current Page


MANITOWOC, Wis. (Jan. 17, 2017) – In 1992, an endowment to benefit the Capitol Civic Centre was started and incorporated as a separate business entity. Like the Capitol Civic Centre, Inc., the Capitol Civic Centre Foundation, Inc. is also a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit charitable organization, governed by a separate board of directors.

Funds in the Capitol’s endowment are restricted. However, the intent of the endowment is to help sustain the Capitol ongoing. The Capitol Civic Centre Foundation grants 3.5 percent of the total holdings to the Capitol Civic Centre every year in support of its mission and operating plan. For the fiscal year 2016-17, the Capitol received an allocation of $51,658. Mark Klaiber, president of the Foundation Board, presented a check to Capitol Board president Joe DiRaimondo and executive director Matthew Schliesman to recognize the allocation.

In presenting the check, Klaiber said, “This annual contribution is an important component of the CCC’s operating budget, but our principal focus is to grow the endowment to sustain the Jewel on the Lakeshore for future generations.”

The Capitol Civic Centre Foundation reports that the 2016-17 campaign has resulted in 39 donations totaling $15,635 (a negative variance of approximately $9,000 from last year’s appeal) to date.

“We’d really like to see our annual endowment appeal end stronger; the bigger the endowment becomes the more support it gives back every year in support of the Capitol’s programming, property, and mission. The endowment is definitely a cornerstone to our long-term stability and success,” added Schliesman.

To make a contribution to the Capitol Civic Centre endowment: Capitol Civic Centre Foundation, PO Box 399, Manitowoc, WI 54221-0399. For more information, please call Schliesman at 920.686.6420 or email Information regarding the foundation can also be found online at

The Capitol Civic Centre Foundation portfolio is managed by the  Lakeshore Community Foundation in Manitowoc.



MANITOWOC, Wis. (July 5, 2016) – Capitol Civic Centre Board President Thomas Reilly presided over the Capitol’s Annual Meeting on Wednesday, June 29 at the Capitol Civic Centre. Attendees included Capitol staff, Board and Foundation Board members, and Ad Hoc Committee members. The fiscal year runs from July 1 through June 30.

Reilly is terming-off the Board having completed two consecutive three-year terms on the Board. In addition to Reilly, Patty Huettl has also termed-off the Board after serving two consecutive three-years terms. Most recently, Huettl had served as Board treasurer. Also completing Board terms are Peter Allie, Paula Fox, and Linda Justema. Both Huettl and Justema will continue their involvement at the Capitol, serving as Ad Hoc Finance Committee members.

Annual committee highlights were provided by chairs, Marketing Director Lori Kirby, and Executive Director Matthew Schliesman. Board President Reilly also provided perspective on the fiscal year which ended June 30.

Governance Chair Vicki Grimstad presented the following Executive Committee nominations for the 2016-17 fiscal year: Joe DiRaimondo, President; Christine D. Kornely, Vice President; Jean Hansen, Treasurer; and Keith Shaw, Secretary. Additionally, Erik Barber, Jane Curran-Meuli, and Brennan Seehafer were presented as new Board members; all were unanimously approved by the Board. In addition to DiRaimondo, Kornely, Hansen, Shaw, and Grimstad, 2016-17 Board members include: Michelle Doneff, Dean Dvorak, Diane M. Hansen, Mark C. Maurer, Lauretta Krcma-Olson, Craig Pauly (ex officio), Kevin Schmidt, John Stern, and Amy Fricke-Weigel.

The Capitol’s 2016-17 Baileigh Industrial Marquee Series of six shows kicks off on Thursday, Oct. 27 with “Ricky Nelson Remembered starring Matthew and Gunnar Nelson.” The performance is presented with the additional underwriting support of the Roy and Darlene Geigel Foundation. Country music superstar Craig Morgan brings his “Country Side of Heaven” tour to the Capitol on Thursday, Nov. 17, made possible with additional underwriting support from Hermening Financial, LLC. Pure Prairie League with Firefall will begin the 2017 offerings on Saturday, Jan. 28, followed by actor/comic/author Paul Reiser’s return to stand-up on Friday, March 24. “The Magic of Bill Blagg” is sure to deliver great family fun on Friday, April 28. The sixth show in the series is slated for Saturday, Feb. 18, however due to contract stipulations it cannot be announced until September 19. According to Capitol promotional materials, this surprise show is sure to be a hit and is the return performance of an audience favorite.



MANITOWOC, Wis. (June 9, 2016) – The Capitol Civic Centre Board of Directors recently approved a proclamation acknowledging the effort of the Society to Preserve the Capitol, Inc. during business conducted at the May meeting of the Board.

The Proclamation reads:

On the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the incorporation of this organization, the Board of Directors of the Capitol Civic Centre, Inc., formerly the Society to Preserve the Capitol, Inc., do hereby salute and thank the visionaries, leaders, supporters, and volunteers who undertook and fulfilled the mission to restore the old Capitol Theater and make it an operating performing arts venue. Their work then and their legacy today serve as stunning examples of community vision, activism, pride, creative perseverance, and appreciation for arts, culture, and history. Those involved changed this community in very positive and lasting way. May they always be proud of their “Jewel of the Lakeshore.”

Approved by the Capitol Civic Centre, Inc. 2015-16 Board of Directors on the 25th of May, 2016:

  • Thomas Reilly, President; Joseph DiRaimondo, Vice President; Patty Huettl, Treasurer; Christine D. Kornely, Secretary
  • Board Members: Michelle Doneff, Dean Dvorak, Paula Fox, Vicki Grimstad, Diane M. Hansen, Jean Hansen, Linda Justema, Mark C. Maurer, Lauretta Krcma-Olson, Craig Pauly (ex officio), Kevin Schmidt, Keith Shaw, John Stern, Amy Fricke-Weigel

With thanks from the Capitol Civic Centre staff:

  • Executive Director: Matthew Schliesman
  • Administrative Services Director: Peggy Krey
  • Marketing Director: Lori Kirby
  • General Services Director: Melyssa Behnke
  • Technical Director: Chad Schwalbe



MANITOWOC, Wis. (June 8, 2016) – The Capitol Civic Centre is pleased to announce the receipt of a grant from The Aschenbrenner Foundation of Lakeshore Community Foundation. The $5,700 grant was designated in response to a need for replacement and upgraded technical equipment. Grant monies will cover specific purchases from a list provided to the Lakeshore Community Foundation by the Capitol Civic Centre and includes replacement intercom headsets, uninterruptable power supplies for lighting and sound consoles, an IPad for remote operation of the lighting and sound consoles, and a Macintosh computer for video presentation support.

“We are in the process of much rebuilding in our technical area—upgrading old equipment that has simply worn out, as well as replacing equipment that had been here on long-term loan ,” stated Capitol Executive Director Matthew Schliesman. “We continue to have high standards in the quality of what we present on stage, and much of the ‘magic’ comes from lighting and sound. We are grateful for this support”

Opportunities to contribute to the upgrading of the Capitol’s lighting, audio, and tech inventory remain. Please contact Schliesman at the Capitol for more information: or (920) 686-6420.



MANITOWOC, Wis. (April 28, 2016) – The Capitol Civic Centre is pleased to announce the receipt of a grant from Wisconsin Public Service (WPS). The $5,000 grant monies will go toward necessary technical upgrades.

“This money will go far, in helping us keep up with the expectations of a modern stage show,” stated Capitol Technical Director Chad Schwalbe. ” I am very excited!”

“The WPS Foundation is proud to support the Capitol Civic Centre’s technical upgrade project that is needed to ensure the Capitol’s ability to continually bring quality performing arts to the Manitowoc Area,” added Dallas Bennett, Community Relations Leader for WPS. “We appreciate the 95 years you have enriched the community and looked forward to many more.”

Specifically, technical equipment needing upgrading will benefit from this grant, researched by Capitol Executive Director Matthew Schliesman with grant writing support from Capitol volunteer D.J. Lucas.

“This grant from Wisconsin Public Service will help us to replace aging technical equipment from a list of ongoing needs, improving the experience of mounting and presenting performances safely, efficiently, and with pizzazz,” said Matthew Schliesman. “We are grateful for this recognition and support.”



MANITOWOC, Wis. (Jan. 13, 2016) – In 1992 an endowment to benefit the Capitol Civic Centre was started and incorporated as a separate business entity. Like the Capitol Civic Centre, Inc., the Capitol Civic Centre Foundation, Inc. is also a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit charitable organization, one that is governed by a separate board of directors.

Funds in the Capitol’s endowment are restricted. However, the intent of the endowment is to help sustain the Capitol ongoing. The policy of the Capitol Civic Centre Foundation is to grant back 3.5 percent of the total holdings to the Capitol Civic Centre every year in support of its mission and operating plan.

As the endowment grows so do the funds coming back to help the Capitol Civic Centre; increasing the endowment is seen as essential to the long-term financial stability of the Capitol Civic Centre organization and property. The Capitol Civic Centre Foundation reports that the 2015 campaign resulted in 39 donations totaling $22,975.

“The Capitol’s endowment is a critical part of the Capitol Civic Centre’s long-term fiscal sustainability. We are pleased and grateful for the support shown in our recent Endowment Appeal, stated Matthew Schliesman, Executive Director.  “This is a fine community, one with many assets; we applaud those who have the vision to help ensure the treasures of our community will be here and viable for future generations.”

In 2014 the Capitol Civic Centre Foundation moved management of the endowment portfolio from Legacy Private Trust to the Lakeshore Community Foundation in Manitowoc.

To make a contribution to the Capitol Civic Centre Endowment: Capitol Civic Centre Foundation, PO Box 399, Manitowoc, WI 54221-0399. For more information, please call Executive Director Matt Schliesman, 920.686.6420 or email Information regarding the foundation can also be found online at


Busy fellow, Garth Neustadter.



On stage Saturday, he virtually opened a bulging scrapbook to show throngs of people what he’s been up to in the music biz.

There were 32 pages, so to speak, as his homecoming show displayed his versatility as a performer and composer. Some of the pages came with introductions by two hosts.

The occasion was “The Garth Neustadter Trio: Home for Christmas,” a 2½-hour+ excursion done twice at the Capitol Civic Centre as part of the center’s centerpiece performance series.

On stage, Garth Neustadter sings and plays multiple instruments across a huge range of styles. He doesn’t tell jokes (except musically, a la Victor Borge), but Saturday he didn’t have to. He had an old school buddy in the show to do that, Manitowoc Mayor Justin Nickels. Many of the jokes were beauties. Sample: Nickels said it was cool to have the precocious Garth around in kindergarten to play “Hail to the Chief” for his arrivals. Another: It was nice that Garth didn’t show up for the Manitowoc Lutheran High School 10-year reunion, “so I could be the most famous person there.” Among other notable accomplishments, Neustadter, age 29 (like Nickels), has won an Emmy Award for composing, which he does based in Los Angeles.

In a nutshell (though it doesn’t seem that way) here is the layout of what happened Saturday:

Participants: The Garth Neustadter Trio (Garth Neustadter and his parents, Gary, percussion, and Kris, keyboards); hosts Justin Nickels and Matthew Schliesman; singer Ashley Pankow; dancer Jennifer Binversie; Folkgroup Edelweiss, Helene Stalzer, director; Silver Lake College Children’s Choir, Julie Koenig, director; Jean Wolfmeyer School of Dance, Jean Wolfmeyer, director; etc.

Yes, the production was daunting. But it was fascinating. Is there another person in the United States who could put on such a show? – come back to his home turf and draw on local talent to augment what that person has done so far across a broad range that goes from lederhosen to academia. Everything didn’t click – a “Phantom of the Opera” segment was especially murky, and range of skills doesn’t necessarily mean precision at that skill – but the cumulative effect impressed in the same way as an avalanche.

Thoughts about this and that:

Garth Neustadter is a buttoned-down performer – tux and high-sheen, patent-leather shoes. A bit formal. He may play “Orange Blossom Special,” but his comfort level is more toward Giacomo Puccini. His father, Gary Neustadter, is an unblushing showman, who will taking on everyone from the grandiose style Elvis Presley to the cooler side of Frank Sinatra. Saturday, Mayor Nickels was on hand to throw in ongoing jokes that Elvis and “Satchmo” and anybody famous was a native of Manitowoc. (Neustadter, by the way, isn’t because his bio says he was born in Green Bay).

Guest performer Ashley Pankow unleashed a big-time, showbiz-deep rendition of “Ring Them Bells.” It’s a story song laced with multiple voicings and humor and speed-difficulty, and Pankow nailed it with pizzazz.

The show had many down-home-y elements. A family, home-cooked aura made the show feel “real,” I’m sure for many of the many in attendance. (Neustadter tends to draw a crowd in Manitowoc). And then there was a whole another level of sophistication. Not many performers will drop into a Christmas show a reading (neatly done by Matthew Schliesman, executive director of the Capitol Civic Centre) of a heartbreaking Civil War letter to which haunting violin is the setting.

On that sophistication level, the main-main attraction to my way of thinking was a segment showcasing Neustadter’s bread and butter, his raison d’etre in the larger picture, the thing that impresses people in the know: Composing. Two examples were shown. One was from a TV commercial, to which everyone can relate. The other was a promotional video of the highest order for one of his alma maters, Yale University. The topic is “Why music?” Neustadter created music spanning multiple instruments and high-veneer styles, with the sound(s) being as formidable as is the reputation of Yale. One of the Yale personages shown in action is the elegant Shinik Hahm, former conductor and music director of the Green Bay Symphony Orchestra. The video – which can be seen by searching online – makes what Neustadter does in his home turf shows almost unfathomable.

Repeat: Is there another person in the United States who could put on such a show?



MANITOWOC, Wis. (May 21, 2015) – The Capitol Civic Centre’s 28th season was officially announced to Capitol Civic Centre members, sponsors, and guests at the “Setting the Stage” unveiling, Wednesday, May 20. The Baileigh Industrial Marquee Series offers six great shows, sure to delight patrons of all ages!

Matthew Schliesman, Executive Director, continued “Every season has a slightly different twist as we strive to entertain an ever broader cross-section of our community, bringing more and new people to our beautiful venue. This season we’ll present six stellar and iconic musical events—great performers all, sweetly enhanced by the magic and ambiance of the historic Capitol Civic Centre.”

The Baileigh Industrial Marquee Series kicks-off in big fashion with Country music superstar Phil Vassar on Friday, Oct. 9. Vassar’s career has seen the release of eight albums, two ASCAP Songwriter of the Year trophies, Billboard Country Songwriter of the Year, countless hits as a singer and songwriter, and a mantle full of awards! As a singer/songwriter, Phil has hit the Top 5 seven times with songs like “Carlene,” “Last Day of My Life” and “American Child” and topped the charts with “In A Real Love” and the perennial favorite “Just Another Day in Paradise.” Known as one of Nashville’s top tunesmiths, his songs other artists have taken to #1 include “My Next Thirty Years” by Tim McGraw, “She’s Right On The Money” by Alan Jackson, and Jo Dee Messina’s “Bye, Bye” and “I’m Alright.” New artist David Nail had a hit with Phil’s “The Sound of a Million Dreams,” which Billboard named the #1 song in their Top 10 Country Songs of 2012.

“Phil Vassar, live at the Capitol, is a perfect example of our focus to inspire, engage, and entertain our patrons, young and old, new and long-standing,” stated Lori Kirby, Marketing Director. “It’s our mission to enrich the cultural and civic life for current and future generations and we take this to heart when planning and programming entertainment. Phil Vassar is a perfect example of the type of entertainer we are proud to feature at the Capitol and I know this will be a memorable show for our patron community.”

Vassar continues to churn out incisive, soulful lyrics and infectious melodies that capture the heart and soul in the unique and special way that only he can, and his latest single, “Love Is Alive,” is no exception. Phil Vassar is an artist who has endured his share of ups and downs in life and the “biz,” and one who is not only riding a diverse wave of success but sharing it with others.

According to Vasssar, “I’m not going out there to try and change the world, but for me, this is my thing, this is my little world that I can control now, and I’m really excited about this journey, getting new music out to the fans and working on other avenues to entertain people. For me that’s what it’s all about.”

Vassar fans, Country music lovers, and those who enjoy a great musical performance are sure to enjoy Vassar in concert, live at the Capitol. Tickets start at $38 (Capitol members and those who purchase a package of four or more Baileigh Industrial Marquee Series shows receive a discount).

Saturday, Dec. 12 will mark the return of local favorite, The Garth Neustadter Trio to the Capitol, in “The Garth Neustadter Trio: Home for Christmas”. Manitowoc’s own Garth Neustadter is an Emmy Award-Winning composer and multi-instrumentalist. He has composed feature-length scores for Warner Bros., PBS, Turner Classic Movies, and China’s CCTV. His works have been heard in diverse venues ranging from Lincoln Center to Los Angeles’ Nokia Theater, and he has collaborated with directors including James Franco (“TAR,” starring Mila Kunis, Jessica Chastain, and Zach Braff). Most recently, his work has been selected to be performed in upcoming seasons by Grammy Award-winning violinist, Hilary Hahn, as part of the Encores Contest. His “lyrical scores” have been praised by The Hollywood Reporter, while The Baltimore Sun says of his music, “The guy is a natural, as his soaring theme makes plain.”
In 2011, Neustadter became one of the youngest composers to receive a Primetime Emmy Award for his score for the PBS ‘American Masters’ documentary, “John Muir in the New World.”

According to Matt Schliesman, Executive Director, “Garth, now based in LA, is truly going places in the music and entertainment business, but this is his home. Happily for all of us, and for Garth, he gets to perform from time-to-time on his home stage here at the Capitol. It’s always wonderful to be putting a show together with Garth, Kris, Gary, and their many musical friends. And the end-result is always deeply enjoyable and memorable. ”

Neustadter will be joined on stage with parents Kris and Gary, as they perform two shows featuring some of their best-known and world-known classics, as well as a variety of Christmas songs. It’s always a special performance when the Garth Neustadter Trio returns to the Capitol. Tickets start at $19 and students ages 14 and younger are $12.50 (Capitol members and those who purchase a package of four or more Baileigh Industrial Marquee Series shows receive a discount).

2016 brings a new year as well as one of Wisconsin’s popular favorites, Sam Llanas, formerly of BoDeans plays the Capitol on Friday, Jan. 22. In Concert: Sam Llanas and His Band will feature Llanas’ trademark unique and distinctively soulful voice; it was his voice that supplied the trademark vocal on Robbie Robertson’s “Somewhere Down the Crazy River.”

In 1997 Llanas founded the band Absinthe releasing 1998’s critically acclaimed “A Good Day To Die.” In 2011 Sam Llanas left the BoDeans and released “4 A.M. (The Way Home)” and in 2013 he released the live retrospective “4/5 Live – Vol I.”

“We opened last season with BoDeans which rocked the Capitol. This season, fittingly, we’re opening 2016 with Sam Llanas, who co-fronted BoDeans. We’re planning to again deliver a similar experience, satisfying patron requests for Wisconsin-grown, soulful rock,” stated Lori Kirby, Marketing Director.

2014 marked the release of Llanas’ most recent recording, “The Whole Night Thru” an all-new studio record featuring nine Llanas originals, his first studio outing after parting ways with the band he co-fronted for more than a quarter-century. Shedding new light on a multi-decade career Sam returns to his roots adding a refined rock sound complimented by a full band, all veterans of both studio and live performance. Tickets start at $23 (Capitol members and those who purchase a package of four or more Baileigh Industrial Marquee Series shows receive a discount).

Due to overwhelming response and requests, the Capitol Civic Centre is bringing back “Take Me Home: The Music of John Denver,” Friday, Feb. 19. Starring Jim Curry, this show amazed the Capitol audience in the past and is sure to deliver an amazing tribute to John Denver’s iconic sound.

Lori Kirby, Marketing Director, added, “Four years ago, listening to Jim Curry’s press package CD featuring a few of John Denver’s classic songs I said that I could not wait for our market to hear Jim’s voice; it truly is spot-on and a beautiful tribute to John’s music. And then I met Jim and couldn’t believe my eyes; his physical resemblance to John Denver is surprising and his live stage performance is simply amazing. You need to see this show live, to believe Jim’s talent.”

Featuring Denver classics such as “Rocky Mountain High,” “Sunshine,” “Calypso,” “Annie’s Song,” and a visual background, this performance delivers a stunning evening of beautiful music and images; an exceptional tribute to the music of John Denver. Tickets start at $33.50 (Capitol members and those who purchase a package of four or more Baileigh Industrial Marquee Series shows receive a discount).

The next offering in the Capitol season hits a note with Beatles fans of all ages on Saturday, April 23, when the Baileigh Industrial Marquee Series presents “The Fab Four: The Ultimate Tribute.”

Matthew Schliesman, Executive Director, stated “The Beatles are not just the musical sound of a generation; this is music that will be enjoyed for many generations to come. John, Paul, George, and Ringo changed the world with their signature sound and their high-profile lives. Beatles tribute shows are common, but only one has been declared ‘The Best Beatles Show in the World’ by the LA Times, and that’s the show we are bringing to the Capitol’s stage.”

Not only do The Fab Four closely-resemble and sound like the infamous Beatles (they are the stars of the Emmy Award-Winning Public Television special) their performance also features an emcee in the likeness of Ed Sullivan! Take a magical mystery tour through Beatles favorites from their extensive catalog of hits as The Fab Four take the Capitol by storm, performing hits like “I Want To Hold Your Hand,” “Help!,” “Twist And Shout,” “Yesterday,” “Yellow Submarine,” “Revolution,” and “Hey Jude.” Tickets start at $38 (Capitol members and those who purchase a package of four or more Baileigh Industrial Marquee Series shows receive a discount).

The final show of the season showcases the talents of Street Corner Symphony on Thursday, May 19. An a cappella group based out of Nashville, Tennessee, and founded five years ago to compete in NBC’s all-vocal competition, The Sing-Off, Street Corner Symphony became internationally known in 2010 when they became runners up on the show’s second season. These southern gents quickly won over Sing-Off judges Ben Folds (Ben Folds Five), Shawn Stockman (Boyz II Men), and Nicole Scherzinger (The Pussycat Dolls), and millions of NBC primetime viewers! Their unique, laid-back-yet-dynamic style of a cappella proved to be a hit then and continues to entertain audiences today. Since their success on The Sing-Off, Street Corner Symphony has made their mark on the music world, recording albums, providing clinics for schools, giving benefits for cancer, performing across the country and around the world, and working with major artists including Ben Folds, Alison Krauss, and Take 6’s Claude McKnight.

“This is going to be so cool! How many concerts can be equally enjoyed by teenagers and their parents? These are highly recognized and polished talents, with a great big fun sound. It’s the best of today’s musical stylings. Enjoy!” added Matthew Schliesman, Executive Director.

The six performing members of the group include three brothers: Jeremy, Jonathan, and Richie Lister, along with Adam Chance, Mark McLemore, and Kurt Zimmerman. Four of the six guys are the sons of ministers, which contributes to their natural ears for harmony as well as their playful sense of mischief, and all six of them have expertise in a wide variety of styles. This allows Street Corner Symphony to seamlessly move between most styles of music, feeling at home in all of them. Their repertoire covers a wide range, from gospel and barbershop to rock and pop, appealing to the young and old alike. Tickets start at $27 and students ages 18 and younger are $15 (Capitol members and those who purchase a package of four or more Baileigh Industrial Marquee Series shows receive a discount).

Capitol members have exclusive access to season tickets (packages or individual) through June 30 and receive a 10 percent discount on their purchases. Members who purchase a package of four or more season shows will receive an additional 10 percent savings on their purchase. Public sales for all 2015-16 Baileigh Industrial Marquee Series shows begin Wednesday, July 1 at and the Box Office beginning at 9 a.m. Wisconsin sales tax and a $2 per ticket Capitol Preservation Fee will be added to all purchases. For more information, call the Capitol Box Office at (920) 683-2184.



MANITOWOC, Wis., (WFRV) – In ways, the “Garth Neustadter Trio New Year” show was astonishing.

Master talent Janet Planet, who sang on the program Saturday at Manitowoc’s Capitol Civic Center, provided a perspective. Noting she is a newcomer to the Neustadter “fold,” as she called it, Planet called what she saw “amazing” three times during the afternoon performance in front of a full house.

I’ve seen shows where a star entertainer jumps from instrument to instrument in a performance in show-off ways, as if to say, “Oh, look everybody, look what I can do.” Garth Neustadter went from instrument to instrument, plus sang, essentially saying, “This is what I do.” There’s a difference. Also, he performed with guest performers to not only display his versatility but to enhance what they do.

Neustadter teamed with other big talents, his mother, Kristen, on piano and electronic keyboards, and his father, Gary, on drums, trombone and vocals, including dressed as and in the persona of Garth Brooks and Elvis Presley (and – ! – pretty much pulling both off).

The corker was the mayor of Neustadter’s hometown was one of the hosts/emcees, and he was as glib as money can buy. That probably shouldn’t be said about a politician, but Justin Nickels oozes personality fit for the Neustadter showbiz show. Neustadter and Nickels have been friends from kindergarten on up, through the wunderkind stage to today as established entities. Neustadter is 27 years old. Nickels turns 27 on Jan. 9. To borrow from Janet Planet – amazing. Nickels was funny in the thick of Saturday afternoon’s show, saying Neustadter was “doing this” – flashing multiple musical talents – “while I was drawing in the lines.”

Nickels and co-emcee Matthew Schliesman, executive director of the center, started out on stage and moved freely with wireless microphones. For much of the show, they delivered comments/introductions from a box seat area above the left of the stage.

The show (5 stars out of 5) was extremely entertaining. It was divided into nine sections representing places on the globe and musical styles representative of them – everything from Dixieland jazz to operatic aria. Again, amazing.

The show clocked in at 2½ hours. It was a full plate – cosmopolitan, corny, sophisticated, hokey, homey, exotic, hometowny, smart, sentimental, varied to the hilt, highly skilled and anything but aloof.

Garth Neustadter isn’t the end all in all the individual things he does, but he does do a whole bunch of things extremely well; Planet’s “amazing” pertains, especially because Neustadter didn’t show all his cards in the performance. Part of what butters Neustadter’s bread is composing, which was displayed only briefly in the showing of a national commercial that included his music in the background. He has a Primetime Emmy Award for his score for the PBS “American Masters” documentary “John Muir in the New World.”

Neustadter’s training includes at Appleton’s Lawrence University (where he will receive an outstanding alumni honor in June) and Yale University and through his parents, whose individual talents fit hand in glove with their son’s in Saturday’s show.

Much community pride surrounds Garth Neustadter. There’s a scene in the musical “The Music Man” in which parents gush with overwhelming pride when their kids – their precious darlings – let loose their first awful, agonizing notes on their band instruments. Such is not the case here. Garth Neustadter is the real deal.
Editor’s note: The Garth Neustadter Trio performed “A Garth Neustadter Trio New Year” on Saturday, Dec. 28, 2013, with shows at 3 and 7:30 p.m.; the second show in the 2013-14 Baileigh Industrial Marquee Series.



According to executive director, Matthew Schliesman, “We launched the campaign June 1, 2012 and successfully completed both the campaign and the projects the campaign funded in a year and a half. We think this is a remarkable accomplishment for this organization and this community. Reactions to the renovations and improvements have been very enthusiastic. We are grateful to all who supported this project; these are people who genuinely care about the quality of life in our community, as well as arts and culture on the Lakeshore.”

Lee Kummer, chair of the Capitol board of directors, continued, “On behalf of the CCC board of directors, volunteers, and staff I wish to thank each and very donor to our campaign. The broad base of support from the hundreds of donors is reflective of the important role the CCC plays in our community. I encourage everyone to join us for a live performance and to personally witness the beauty of the CCC.”

“As one  of the Capital campaign’s co-chairs, I want to thank all our donors for their great support and enthusiasm. The community came together and we have a newly refreshed “jewel of the lakeshore” for all to enjoy, stated Joe DiRaimondo, campaign co-chair and board member.

Paula Fox, campaign co-chair and board member continued, “The Capitol Civic Centre is much more than just another building in our community. It represents so many different age groups of people working and playing together for a common cause. It has been a privilege to meet with old friends and to make new ones while discussing the value of live performances. Working together with a group of very talented people and a generous community to restore the CCC has been one of my personal highlights of 2013!”

There are many to acknowledge and thank for their contributions to the campaign, including past board president Dr. Jack Sadowski; current board president Lee Kummer; Campaign co-chairs Dr. Joe DiRaimondo and Paula Fox; associate campaign administrator Peggy W. Pitz; the Capitol board of directors; honorary campaign chairs Mary Fordney, John Jagemann, and Garth Neustadter; facility committee chairs Craig Pauly and Peter Allie; architect and project manager Gene Maloney; general contractor Hamann Construction; the staff of the Capitol; and the many talented and dedicated people involved in bringing the renovation vision to life.

Schliesman continued, “This was a huge, long overdue undertaking for the Capitol. We are committed to taking care of this historic building and continuing our role as the anchor for performing arts on the Lakeshore. And, as opportunity presents itself, there is more we would like to do through future improvements to the Capitol for the benefit of our community.”

Peggy W. Pitz, associate campaign administrator, added, “You gave and you made the difference. The renovations are complete, the campaign goal of 1.2 million has been met and the “jewel of the lakeshore” shines once again. Thank you all for believing, donating, and your ongoing commitment to the arts, the Capitol Civic Centre and this wonderful community.  Bravo!!! Bravo!!!”

To learn more about the Capitol and see what’s coming to the stage, go online – – or call the Box Office at (920) 683-2184.



Enthusiasm for the Capitol Civic Centre’s $1 million face-lift campaign continues to flourish. In addition to the generous support of the West Foundation and the Capitol Civic Centre Board of Directors, many individuals have pledged their financial support of the project.

The Scott Mertens family has committed their support of the Kadow Room enhancement portion of the renovation. Improvements include creating an additional entrance to the Kadow Room Museum for enhanced access. In addition, the Mertens Family’ pledge will finance Kadow Room Museum improvements; essentially, this room will benefit from an extensive renovation. These enhancements will not only be aesthetically appealing, they are a means to expand the multi-purpose accommodations of this important space, and better incorporate it into the overall lobby.

“The current efforts to restore, repair, and improve this important community treasure are proving to be quite a joyful undertaking. The Capitol touches so many lives, and contributes so meaningfully to what makes the Lakeshore a truly exceptional place to live. The staff and board are grateful for the support that is coming in from individual donors, companies, and foundations. With the momentum continuing and people jumping on-board, we look forward to achieving our fundraising goals and undertaking the actual physical projects next summer,” stated Matthew Schliesman, Executive Director, Capitol Civic Centre, Inc.

The Capitol Civic Centre campaign reaches far beyond the walls of the theatre and facilities; it is, indeed, an investment in the community.

“I have had the  opportunity to work with other organizations in various expansion and building projects. The greatest source of pride experienced comes after all is said and done and you can see how the vision to take the risk and make the investment pays off and how it betters the organization involved and betters the whole community,”  Board president John L. Sadowski stated.

Peggy W. Pitz, Capitol Campaign Associate Administrator, continued “[The Capitol] is one of many destinations that puts Manitowoc on the map… its history, offerings, and caliber of performances and performers, and the talented family of performing arts groups. The location in the heart of downtown makes it critical to the economic development not only of downtown, but to this community.”

Presently, Capitol Campaign Committee members are hosting on-stage events at the Capitol, with individuals and businesses. During the next phase of the campaign, slated to launch in November, the campaign will expand to a more broad, public approach.

For more information about the Capitol’s face-lift, or to arrange a campaign presentation with your family, business, or organization, please contact Schliesman at or (920) 686-6424.



The Wisconsin Public Service Foundation has provided a $15,000 contribution to the Capitol Civic Centre.

Through the course of a year, Executive Director, Matthew Schliesman hopes to raise $1 million dollars in an effort to restore, repair and improve the facility. Multiple projects will be completed with funds raised through the campaign.  Improvements include: technical systems, safety and security upgrades, and enhancements to guest services.

In 2012, The Wisconsin Public Service Foundation enriched deserving organizations by more than $1 million. The Foundation is a private, charitable foundation funded by shareholders of Wisconsin Public Service Corporation. Its charitable giving has no impact on electric and natural gas rates. In 2012, more than 360 associations and worthwhile causes representing interests in education, human services and health, community and neighborhood development, arts and culture, along with care for the environment received funds from the Foundation.



Support for the Capitol Civic Centre’s $1.2 million renovation continues to grow, with more than 200 donations to date. In addition to on-stage presentations and facility tours by invitation, the public aspect of the campaign is now in full-swing. Colorful campaign pole banners line Eighth Street (from Washington to Franklin Streets) and the campaign has been promoted in print and digital outdoor, on radio and television, and with online and social media.

The campaign committee, led by Executive Director Matthew Schliesman and facilitated by Campaign Associate Administrator Peggy W. Pitz, with the support of Campaign Co-chairs Joe DiRaimondo and Paula Fox (and further support of the Board of Directors) continues to share the message of the importance of this valuable historic asset with the community.

According to Schliesman, “The fact that the community saved and restored the Capitol 26 years ago is still an amazing story. That we are now coming together to make major repairs and improvements more than a quarter century later is just common sense. The Capitol Civic Centre is an integral and vital part of this community. The technical upgrades, aesthetic repairs, and improved guest amenities will not only energize up the physical place, but add new excitement to our programming, to the downtown, and to the Lakeshore at large.”

Among the 200-plus donations and pledges by individuals, families, businesses, and foundations thus far, the first donation was presented by Manitowoc Noon Rotary and the most recent donation was presented by Brennan Seehafer Productions. For more information about “A Capitol Idea!” call Peggy W. Pitz, Associate Campaign Administrator, at (920) 686-6422.



It truly was “krazy fun” at the Capitol Civic Centre this past Krazy Daze weekend! Our favorite community cheerleader, Tom Drill, in Superman attire (thanks to The Mad Hatter) atop a Hamann Construction Company flatbed truck (thank you Steve and Jim) parked in front of the Capitol marquee, raised more than $31,000 for the Capitol renovation. Tom was joined on the truck by the “Capitol Secretaries” from the Jean Wolfmeyer School of Dance, Capitol Board of Directors members, and Capitol Executive Director, Matthew Schliesman. The Capitol activities, coordinated by campaign associate administrator, Peggy W. Pitz, added to the tremendous buzz in downtown Manitowoc. Visitors to the Capitol had a sneak-peak of the renovation progress in the Mertens Family Lobby/Kadow Room Museum, while enjoying popcorn, refreshments, music, and fun.

The campaign committee would like to extend sincere thanks to everyone who visited the Capitol and to those who contributed to a most worthy community cause. And, saving the best for last, a super thank you to Tom “Superman” Drill for his time and dedication; he truly is our super community hero!

For more information about Krazy Daze at the Capitol, or “It’s a Capitol Idea!”, the campaign to raise $1.2 million for the Capitol’s renovation, contact Campaign Associate Administrator, Peggy Pitz at (920) 686-6422 or



MANITOWOC, Wis. (Aug. 14, 2013) – The Capitol Civic Centre is pleased to announce the receipt of a generous $100,000 pledge from Dr. Kenneth and Amy Katz. The Katz’s support is being directed to the exterior renovations and improvements now underway.

Matthew Schliesman, executive director, stated, “The historic Capitol is being transformed in many significant ways, inside and out. The support from Dr. Kenneth and Amy Katz will go directly to offset the costs of the exterior improvements being made to the Capitol property—Seventh Street, Jay Street, and Eighth Street—our face to the community.”

In addition to the exterior renovations (windows, doors, lighting, signage, trim, and paint) in progress, the status of renovations include: plaster and paint repairs in the theater; the Kadow Room (soon to be officially the “Mertens Family Lobby/Kadow Movie Museum”) has been completely gutted and redone; the main lobby (soon to be officially the “Salutz Family Lobby”) has been opened up and concessions are being relocated there; and the loading dock has been expanded to accommodate semis and other large on and off-loading requirements. In addition, progress continues on restroom expansion and improvements; lighting, audio, and rigging installations; and security improvements.

“The renovations are on-schedule and will wrap up in a few weeks.  However, we are still seeking the funds to pay for all these repairs and improvements. This extremely generous support from Dr. and Mrs. Katz moves us meaningfully closer to our goal. The Capitol Civic Centre organization is very grateful, as should be the entire community for what this gift will allow us to do,” Schliesman continued.

To date, more than 400 donations and pledges have been received; from $5 to $200,000 in value, and from individuals, businesses, corporations, grants, and trusts, however, the Capitol campaign committee continues its work to reach the $1.2 million goal.

Schliesman continued, “It is expected that we will be able to wrap up our $1.2 million campaign in the next few months, but only if everyone does what they can to help us complete the ‘Capitol Idea’ campaign. From there we invite folks to join us in celebrating the wonderful renovations and improvements accomplished over the last few months. The phrase ‘Jewel of the Lakeshore’ has never been more accurate.”

“A Capitol Idea!” campaign donations and pledges continue throughout the construction phase of the renovation, planned to be completed in September. To donate to “A Capitol Idea!” go online – – or call Peggy W. Pitz, Associate Campaign Administrator, at (920) 686-6422.