Celebrating 20 Years!

November 18, 2022

The Fox Cities Performing Arts Center is proud to celebrate its 20thAnniversary on Friday, November 25, 2022. This anniversary marks 20 years since the Center opened its doors to the public, sharing multicultural live performing arts experiences with the Fox Cities communities.

“We are so grateful to celebrate 20 years of the live performing arts in the Fox Cities,” said the Fox Cities P.A.C. President and CEO Maria Van Laanen. “As a community, we have achieved many milestones, including the installation of a T-coil hearing loop system in Thrivent Hall, Kimberly-Clark Theater and the ticket office, making the Center the first Wisconsin Broadway presenting theater to do so, additions to the Center’s accessibility services and financial recovery from Covid-19. Together, we have reached and surpassed fundraising goals, helping secure the Center’s present and future, and more recent, we have welcomed our 400,000th student through the Amcor Education Series and our 3 millionth ticketed patron.”

The Center’s mission to be a multicultural gathering place for all has been supported by the Fox Cities communities, contributing to the reach and impact of mission-based programs and initiatives.


  1. 1999: It all Started with a Dream… Twelve founding members met for the nonprofit organization’s first Board of Directors meeting.
  2. November 25, 2002: The Curtain Rises. More than 1,500 patrons attended the Opening Night Gala featuring the legendary singer, Tony Bennett.
  3. December 4, 2002: The Education Series Begins. More than 2,000 elementary students attended two performances of Franklin’s Class Concert.
  4. January 21 – February 2, 2003: The First Broadway Show. Mamma Mia! became the Fox Cities P.A.C.’s first Broadway Wisconsin premiere.
  5. 2003-04 Season: World Leaders Visit the Fox Cities. Fox Cities residents had rare opportunities to connect with world leaders including Mikhail Gorbachev and President George W. Bush.
  6. 2004-05 Season: Annual Partner Campaign Launch. Embracing the Center’s mission, 467 local businesses, foundations and individuals invested in the arts in the campaign’s first year.
  7. May 10 – June 17, 2007: A Roaring Success. More than 88,000 people attended Disney’s The Lion King, the Center’s longest running Wisconsin Broadway premiere to date.
  8. 2007-08 Season: Five Years, One Million and Counting. The Center celebrated its Fifth Anniversary with the return of Mamma Mia! and welcomed its one millionth patron during a performance of Swan Lake.
  9. August 17-18, 2012: 10th Anniversary Community Open House. More than 2,000 community members attended a two-day event featuring local artists, theater workshops and backstage tours.
  10. September 2012: A Top Stop. The Fox Cities P.A.C. is listed in Venues Today Magazine’s “Top Stops of the Decade.”
  11. 2012-13 Season: In the Loop. The Center became the first Wisconsin Broadway presenting theater to offer a T-coil hearing loop system. It is available in Thrivent Hall, Kimberly-Clark Theater and the ticket office.
  12. June 2015: Keystone Campaign Reaches Initial Goal of $25 Million. Thanks to community support, the Keystone Campaign, designed to fund the Center’s endowment and ensure its legacy, was able to reach its initial goal of $25 million.
  13. 2016-17 Season: Center Stage High School Musical Theater Program Launches. This program is an education initiative designed to celebrate and support high school musical theater by developing confidence, creativity and community.
  14. September 2019: GalaPro and Parent Suite Added to Accessibility Services. The Center added GalaPro, a mobile captioning service to the accessibility services to enhance patron experience. A new Parent Suite in partnership with Women’s Health Specialists was also opened to provide a quiet, private space for parents and guardians to care for their children.
  15. February 2020: Amcor Education Series Welcomes 400,000th Student. The Center welcomed its 400,000th student to experience the Amcor Education Series during a performance of ArtsPower’s production of Chicken Dance.
  16. Spring 2020: Virtual Delivery of Center Mission Begins. In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Center provided virtual mission touchpoints including the weekly The Show Must Go On Show series on Facebook, a virtual Amcor Education Series and Center Stage High School Musical Theater Program, special performances and visual art displays for 17 months.
  17. July 2020: Act 2 Fund Launches to Assist in Financial Recovery from Pandemic. To help offset negative financial impact during Covid-19, the Act 2 Fund was launched.
  18. 2021-22 Season: Center Welcomes Public Back for Its Second Act. The Center welcomed back audiences for Appleton’s 2021 Mile of Music in August. On October 16, 2021, audiences enjoyed Charles Ross’ One-Man Star Wars® Trilogy and One-Man Avengers: A Parody, the Center’s first show since the building’s reopening. After 594 days, the Center welcomed back Broadway audiences for three-weeks for live, in-person performances of WICKED in October.
  19. May 4, 2022: Center Announces Financial Recovery from Covid-19. Thanks to generous contributors, the goal of $5.89 million was reached, covering Center expenses during the building’s closure.
  20. June 7, 2022: The Center Welcomes Three Millionth Ticketed Patron. Across three weekend performances taking place June 2-4, 2022, the Center welcomed its three millionth ticketed patron since its opening in 2002. When patrons attend an event at the Center, the impact they have on the Fox Cities economy is notable. According to the Arts and Economic Prosperity Report from Americans for the Arts, the Fox Cities P.A.C. generates an average $12.9 million of economic activity each season.

“As a multicultural gathering place, diverse audiences feel welcome at the Center when bridges are built to challenge and encourage understanding other perspectives,” Maria shared. “As we celebrate this 20th Anniversary, we look forward to a bright future with our communities and what the next 20 years will bring.”

In celebration of the Center’s 20th Anniversary, special ticket offers will be available November 25-28. Ticket buyers may take advantage of $20 tickets for the following Boldt Arts Alive! Series performances: Ranky Tanky, Ballet Hispánico, Tamburitzans and Cirque Alfonse – Animal, A Farm Story. Ticket buyers may also purchase individual tickets for National Geographic Live Speaker Series before they go on sale to the general public. Beginning on Saturday, November 26, patrons will receive a free gift when purchasing a $100 gift card in person at the Center’s ticket office during operating hours while supplies last.

Tickets can be purchased at the Fox Cities P.A.C. ticket office in person or online. The ticket office will be closed on Friday, November 25 and will return to regular business hours on Saturday, November 26. For current ticket office hours visit foxcitiespac.com/ticket-office. For more information about these exclusive offers, call the ticket office at (920) 730-3760. Additional fees may apply. Performance schedule, prices, and performers are subject to change without notice.

To further honor this 20th Anniversary, community members may contribute to the Fox Cities P.A.C.’s Year-End Giving Campaign by giving $20 or more for 20 years of the live performing arts. For more information about year-end giving or other ways to invest in the Center’s mission, please contact the Center’s Development team (920) 730-3782 or at [email protected].

Written by Philomena Dorobek, Brand Storyteller
Fox Cities Performing Arts Center