Fox Cities P.A.C. Announces 2023 Center Stage Program Honors

May 8, 2023

The Fox Cities Performing Arts Center is proud to announce the 2023 representatives of the Center Stage High School Musical Theater ProgramLuke Calaway of Ashwaubenon High School and Lily Davis of Hortonville High School will represent the program at The Jimmy Awards®/National High School Musical Theatre Awards® this June in New York City.

Nominated for their leading performances at their high schools and chosen through a separate audition, they will represent the Center Stage High School Musical Theater Program at the national level and have the opportunity to learn from professionals in a week of workshops, compete for scholarships and perform on stage at the Minskoff Theatre, currently the Broadway home to Disney’s The Lion King.

Luke Calaway was nominated for his performance as Nathan Detroit in Ashwaubenon’s production of Guys and Dolls. Calaway is a senior at Ashwaubenon High School.

Lily Davis was nominated for her performance as Gomez Addams in Hortonville’s production of The Addams Family. Davis is a senior at Hortonville High School.

The Influential Theater Educator recognition is given to an inspiring director who has displayed exceptional levels of commitment to students and other educators, making an outstanding impact on the performing arts and the theater community. The individual being recognized as the Influential Theater Educator of the season has demonstrated an embodiment of the highest standards in performing arts education and has been a positive influence on the lives of their students. Recognition for the Influential Theater Educator was given at the Center Stage High School Musical Theater Showcase on Saturday, May 6, 2023.

Dan Van Eperen, director at Little Chute High School, was recognized as the Influential Theater Educator. Van Eperan was nominated by his students for his positive influence and dedication to them, his colleagues and the theater community. Van Eperen has imparted invaluable lessons in musical theater and in life, building a community of support and inspiration among his students and peers as the face of Little Chute High School’s theater program.

Throughout the 2022-23 school year, approximately 2,000 students from a record 31 local high schools have participated in the Center Stage High School Musical Theater Program, an education initiative that celebrates and supports the achievements of high school theater programs in Northeastern Wisconsin. This year’s participating high schools include Appleton East, Ashwaubenon, Brillion, Chilton, De Pere, Denmark, Fond du Lac, Fox Valley Lutheran, Green Bay East, Green Bay Southwest, Green Bay West, Hortonville, Kaukauna, Little Chute, Luxemburg-Casco, Mishicot, Neenah, New London, Notre Dame de la Baie Academy, Oshkosh North, Oshkosh West, Preble, Pulaski, Shawano Community, Southern Door, St. Francis Xavier, St. Mary Catholic, Two Rivers, West De Pere, Weyauwega-Fremont and Winnebago Lutheran Academy.

During the program year, participating students had the opportunity to attend workshops with professional artists, to ask questions and explore different aspects of theater, giving them a deeper understanding of the live performing arts industry.

This season marks the 7th anniversary of the Center Stage High School Musical Theater Program building confidence, collaboration and creativity while supporting and celebrating the achievements of high school musical theater throughout Northeast Wisconsin.

The Center Stage High School Musical Theater Program is an educational initiative of the Fox Cities P.A.C. with support from corporate partner Fox Communities Credit Union. Additional partners in this program include Schneider Foundation, WFRV, Wipfli LLP and Angelo and Jennifer Ninivaggi. Programs like the Center Stage High School Musical Theater Program are also supported in part by contributions to the Center’s Annual Partner Campaign.

The Jimmy Awards®/The National High School Musical Theatre Awards® (NHSMTA®) program impacts more than 140,000 students who participate in 48 regional high school musical theatre competitions sponsored by presenters of touring Broadway productions throughout the United States. Named for Broadway impresario James M. Nederlander, the program has been the catalyst for more than $6,000,000 in educational scholarships. Presented by The Broadway League Foundation, Inc., the NHSMTA invites one Best Actress and one Best Actor nominee from each local regional ceremony to New York City for a week-long theatre intensive that includes coaching sessions, training, and rehearsing led by some of Broadway’s most accomplished professionals. Nominees will spend one week in New York City from Sunday, June 18, 2023, through Tuesday, June 27, 2023, and their efforts throughout the week will lead to one extraordinary talent showcase performed live in front of an audience on a Broadway stage. The fourteenth annual Jimmy Awards will take place on Monday, June 26, 2023, at the Minskoff Theatre. For more information, please visit