The show will run approximately 90 minutes
including a 15-minute intermission.
Any video and/or audio recording of this production is strictly prohibited.
Dear Arts Supporters,
On behalf of everyone at Viterbo University, I would like to welcome you to the Fine Arts Center as we celebrate the return of in-person performances. The pandemic necessitated a year and a half-long pause in our live event schedule, and both our artists and audience members have been sorely missed. It is truly great to have you with us.
It’s only fitting that the Fine Arts Center should be fully used to its intended purpose during its 50th anniversary year. Opened in 1971, it remains not only the premier arts facility in the region, but also a wonderful testament to the vision and courage of the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration who made it possible. Their collective love and appreciation for the arts led to countless cultural opportunities in the greater La Crosse community and has enhanced all our lives.
New Fine Arts Center director Dillion McArdle and his staff have an outstanding season planned for you this year. I invite you to pick up an On Stage book or visit the Viterbo website for the complete schedule. There is a wide variety of offerings from which to choose, and tickets make wonderful gifts. Included in the schedule are the Conservatory for the Performing Arts student productions. I am continually amazed at the incredible talent of our students, and seeing them put it to use always fills me with pride, no matter their role, pursuit, or field of study.
While live performances and other events have returned, we must remain vigilant in the fight against the spread of COVID-19. I ask that you adhere to the university’s safety policies, including remaining masked while anywhere inside the building.
The arts will always be an integral part of the Viterbo University experience, which is made even more special through the support of our patrons, benefactors, sponsors, and volunteers. It would not be the same without you. Thank you.
Rick Trietley, President
It started in the living room of his family home in the late 1960s. Jim Witter’s mom discovered that her boy not only loved to sing, but he was pretty good at it for a four-year-old. With his mom on the piano, Witter would belt out the Beatles' Yesterday for just about anyone who would lend an ear. “I remember clearly singing for the mailman,” Witter recalls. “What he was doing in our living room, I’ll never know,” he jokes.
But for that young boy from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, music was never a joke.
“I was always very serious about making music my life long career,” he remarks. “Even when I was very young, I knew in my heart it was all I ever wanted to do.”
After high school, Witter began performing nightly in a local piano bar where he learned the tools of the trade when it came to entertaining. His sincere and warm rapport with an audience began in those smoky bars as he belted out songs by artists like Elton John, Billy Joel, The Beatles, and many others. During the day he would write and record original songs, which eventually caught the attention of Sony Music Publishing in Canada. He signed a deal with Sony which spawned a record deal, and his first original album which was released in 1993 to rave reviews and multiple hits on country radio in Canada. A few years later, Witter signed a major record deal with Curb Records in Nashville, home to Tim McGraw, Wynonna Judd, and Leanne Rimes. “I loved making records and touring and it was then that my wife, Rebecca, and I were also raising four children. That was tough,” he recalls.
In the early 2000s, Witter created a show that would harken back to his days in the piano bars, only this show was destined to be performed in a theatre setting. The Piano Men was a multi-media musical trip back to the 70s, featuring the hits of Billy Joel and Elton John. Witter and his incredible band perform masterful recreations of these two artists’ songs, all the while accompanied by a stunning visual presentation that takes the audience back to that incredible decade. That show was so successful that theatres asked Witter if he could produce other shows that featured other artists and decades with the same nostalgic and heartwarming flair. Feelin’ Groovy-the 60’s and the music of Simon and Garfunkel, and The Long and Winding Road–The music of Lennon and McCartney and the Stories Behind the Songs are just a few of the follow up smash hit shows that Witter has produced over the past 20 years. “This great music of the '60s, '70s and '80s shows no signs of losing its popularity,” Witter points out. “If anything, people are becoming more nostalgic for those simpler times…no computers, no cell phones, no social media…music was a bigger part of everyone’s lives back then.”
Now in his 22nd year of touring these nostalgic shows, Witter says that he enjoys performing more than ever. “Now that my children are pretty much all grown up, sometimes they join me on the road and perform with me on stage. My daughter even just signed her first record deal herself, so I’ll be spending some time on the road with her over the next while too,” he says. “I’m just blessed and very fortunate to be where I am in my life and to still be making a living doing what I love most.”