Q&A with Maria and Angelo about home


The Fox Cities Performing Arts Center has focused on its mission of being a gathering place for the community for more than 15 years . This season, as we focus on welcoming you home to enjoy the performances, programs and people that make this a place for exceptional experiences, we asked our chair of the Board of Directors Angelo Ninivaggi and president of the Fox Cities P .A .C . Maria Van Laanen about the memories and moments that have made this place their home away from home .

How does the Fox Cities P.A.C. make you feel at home?
The Fox Cities Performing Arts Center team works to ensure we are a welcoming and safe destination for everyone in our community . Our volunteers are happy to greet you as you walk through the doors much as they would welcome a friend into their home . We want to do all we can to ensure you are comfortable and having fun while you are at the Center, providing an opportunity for you to sit back, relax and enjoy whatever event drew you back to your Center .

What is one program you wish more people knew about?
I wish the Bemis Company Education Series and its impact were more broadly appreciated . These events are not public and therefore not accessible generally to interested patrons, and many may not be aware of the impact . Yet, for the students who do participate, the Education Series offers an introduction to the performing arts and the Center at young ages, the events tie into and reinforce the curriculum at their schools, and the Education Series likely draws the interest of their parents, who themselves may be new to the performing arts and the Center . At the Center’s 15 year anniversary, we have now raised a generation of youth in our community who have been exposed to the performing arts and the Education Series is a critical contributor . This is our legacy!

Maria: I wish more people would take a chance on lesser known artforms and cultures featured in the Boldt Arts Alive! Series . I believe so many in our community are open to new things, but few take a chance to truly engage in these unique experiences through a performance . By taking part in these events and the community engagement activities typically accompanying them people have a chance to open a door to new perspectives .

What has been your favorite performance? Why? Angelo: That’s a tough one; there are so many performances over the years that have left an impression on me . But if I had to pick one it would be In the Heights. I went to the show with no expectations or prior understanding of the show or its creator Lin-Manuel Miranda (who would go on to create Hamilton) . The show’s unique use of Latin music and rap was brilliant and paradigm shifting . I can’t wait to see it again .

Fill in the blank...
If someone has never experienced a musical I would tell them ___ should be their first one. Angelo:
West Side Story .
Maria: That’s too hard . My recommendations for firsts have so much to do with an individual’s unique perspective and experience, I could never just have one answer .

The biggest tip I can share with someone new to the Fox Cities P.A.C. is....
I would encourage you to choose something you know you can come to with a group of family or friends and enjoy as your first trip to the Center . By selecting something that is familiar, you can get to know the facility and our team in a way you are very comfortable . Then, in time I think it is good to explore your boundaries . Try a new artform or a group you’ve never heard of before . I love hearing the stories from people in the community who said they chose something different, had no idea what to expect and absolutely loved it . It is fun to be the one in your group who is sharing something new and exciting .

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