Community Gathers for Fox Cities P.A.C.’s 20th Anniversary Community Open House

April 14, 2023

Gathering in celebration of the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center’s 20th Anniversary at its Community Open House on April 13, 2023 from 3:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., hundreds of people of all ages, abilities, backgrounds and interests learned what their Center has to offer. They engaged in self-guided tours, performances and enter-to-win baskets and gained insights about accessibility services, mobile ticketing and more. Ranging in familiarity with the Fox Cities P.A.C. from frequent patron to newcomer and everything in between, this event gave people an opportunity to come together and celebrate the communal efforts in making the arts come alive in the Fox Cities.

Whether someone had been to the Fox Cities P.A.C. before or this was their first time, many opted to embark on the self-guided tour where they explored various Center spaces for hosting special events and where patrons don’t often get to see. The spaces on the tour included Founders Room, Parent Suite, Entrance 21, dressing rooms, the loading dock and of course, magical Thrivent Hall. Many who visited the Center previously brought along friends and family who had never been, showing them behind-the-scenes. Along the tour, attendees were greeted by staff members who shared unique fun facts about the Fox Cities P.A.C. and personal stories about their time at the Center. A favorite for many of the tour guests was going backstage where they could get a peek into dressing rooms that have been used by world-class talent and touring Broadway performers as well as looking at the many autographed white boards that line the hallways. Some tour members also took the rare opportunity to stand upon the spacious Thrivent Hall stage and pose for pictures. Regardless of familiarity with the Center’s spaces or its history, all on the tour walked away knowing something a little more about this special Fox Cities gem.

I got to see the Founders Room and go on stage…I think it’s neat that the Fox Cities P.A.C. has something like this Community Open House so that we, as a community, get to feel like this is our performing arts center. This is our place; we built it together.
Kevin E. - Season Ticket Holder

Besides exploring the Center facilities, community members also enjoyed live performances. From 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., there were 30-minute performances every hour on the hour in the Center’s Kimberly-Clark Theater, rotating between featuring the Center Stage High School Musical Theater Program Encore Singers and Makaroff Youth Ballet’s “Peter and the Wolf.” These well-attended and certainly well-received performances allowed patrons to test the Fox Cities P.A.C.’s T-coil hearing loop system and ASL interpretation.

Makaroff Youth Ballet captured the essence of the familiar story and characters of “Peter and the Wolf” with their impressive set including well-constructed pieces and special lighting, as well as vivid and imaginative costumes. The audience was captivated by the young dancers who embodied the various characters as the story unfolded. There were chuckles as the duck shook her tail feathers and when the cat showed her aloofness high in the tree. The young dancers delivered such a compelling story that audience members gave standing ovations and well-earned, continuous applause.

Center Stage Program Encore Singers delighted the audience with their renditions of ABBA’s ‘” Dancing Queen,” “I See Stars” from Broadway’s Mean Girls, “Don’t Rain on My Parade” from Broadway’s Funny Girl and more. The nine vocalists were joined by accompanists on the keyboard and electric guitar, as well as an ASL interpreter. So impressed with the high school singers, the audience once again gave standing ovations and rounds of applause. It was heartwarming to see so many community members supporting these high school students before their upcoming Center Stage High School Musical Theater Showcase on May 6.

This is my first time to the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center, and I feel like a kid in a candy store; this Community Open House is a such a treat for us!
20th Anniversary Community Open House attendee

The 20th Anniversary Community Open House attendees also had the chance to talk to staff members and volunteers about employment and volunteer opportunities, mobile ticketing, the 2023-24 Season and the new Fox Cities Performing Arts Center mobile app. On top of that, they were able to enter their name to win baskets with tickets to an upcoming show, Broadway merchandise prize packages and more. At the end of the day, the consensus was unanimous from all sides: the Fox Cities P.A.C.’s 20th Anniversary Community Open House was a hit, and the community loved embracing being a part of making the arts come alive in the Fox Cities.


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