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Posts from the ‘Center News’ Category

Amazon makes us smile

Do you want a free, convenient way to support the Fox Cities P.A.C.? Try smiling.

AmazonSmile, a program specially designed to support charitable organizations, is now set up for the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center so when you shop Amazon donates 0.5% of the purchase price of eligible products directly to us.

It’s like donating—while you shop! works just like Amazon but when you first log-in to the site select the Center as your favorite nonprofit. Find your deals, fill your cart and check-out, Amazon will take care of the rest! It’s just that simple.

Every time you log-in you can choose to support the Fox Cities P.A.C.!

So as you prepare for your holiday shopping remember to SMILE and update your bookmarks to and help support our Center.

Thank you and happy shopping!

Fox Cities Performing Arts Center Inc
AmazonSmile is a trademark of, Inc.

Boots for the Board

Our board members got an opportunity to try on the sky-high-stilettos that trademark Kinky Boots!

See what they had to say about the show rolling into town:

Becky T

Becky Tuchscherer

Why are you excited to see the show?
Darwin Copeman: I’m intrigued by the story line of Kinky Boots. A young man trying to save the family business through traditional methods finds the answer to his dilemma by embracing a friendship with someone that maintains a non-traditional life-style. Yet, the business owner sees an opportunity to provide a product that helps the business and in doing so, also removes the negative perception his staff has of the individual who doesn’t “fit in”.

Mame Heaney: I am excited to see Kinky Boots because I have seen the movie and it was delightful. (It) will be fun to see how Broadway follows or changes the script.

Lee Allinger: Kinky Boots provides the example of how the arts can indeed expand and change our perspective. As the superintendent of a public school system serving 16,000+ students I am reminded daily of the richness that diversity brings to our classrooms. As educators when we take the time to understand our students and families with the goal of a positive and welcoming learning environment for all – it is then that the richness of diversity improves the educational experience for all students. As we continue our journey to become an inclusive-welcoming community the arts becomes the catalyst for ongoing community dialogue. Kinky Boots will provide all of us with an often not heard perspective – one that can  indeed open our minds and hearts.

Kinky Boots marks the 26th time a touring Broadway performance has had its first Wisconsin stop in Appleton. Why are  Broadway Wisconsin Premiere important for our community?

Darwin Copeman

Darwin Copeman

Darwin Copeman: The Broadway premieres that appear at the Fox Cities PAC are incredibly valuable both economically and culturally. Our community businesses are rewarded with opportunities to showcase their quality and service as thousands of people stay in local hotels, enjoy dinner and even a nightcap after each performance. Witnessing a professional Broadway performance within minutes of your home rather than traveling to NYC is a cultural gift that offers a unique experience to many that they will cherish for a lifetime.

Becky Tuchscherer: Beyond the fact that having a Broadway premiere in our community draws people in from across the state for the show, it also shows off our community. Show goers are able to experience a wonderful evening at the theatre with all its fanfare, and at the same time experience the unique mixture of urban style and small town warmth that the Fox Cities has to offer. Top that off with the economic impact that is generated for our local businesses and it is no wonder that people love our Fox Cities Performing Arts Center.

Lee Allinger: Kinky Boots marks the 26th Broadway premiere for our Fox Cities Performing Arts Center. What an incredible opportunity for all of us across the Fox Cities and beyond to experience a live performance at the highest level. There is nothing like a live performance to ignite our spirits, open our minds, and get us positively interacting with others.

Tell us the truth…did you love the boots?


Mame Heaney

Darwin Copeman: I have to admit some initial trepidation when asked to slip on the Kinky Boots. However, that concern quickly disappeared when I realized that standing 6’1″ instead of my natural 5’7″ had it’s advantages!

Becky Tuchscherer: Who wouldn’t love a pair of boots made just for you?

Mame Heaney: Short of breaking my neck in those heels, I love the boots…I love red shiny boots…would have been wonderful with a mini red  rain coat that I had … would have matched them perfectly!


October is National Arts and Humanities Month

logo color printout_6.14By way of presidential proclamation, October has been named National Arts and Humanities Month. A title that grew from National Arts Week into it’s own month by 1993. NAHM, as it’s often referred to, paints a broad stroke on the importance all art forms have in the daily lives of everyone and the contributions the arts make to the community.

Here at the Center our mission works to reflect that same sentiment, to show the impact of the arts doesn’t stop at the stage, in fact that’s often just its start.

Through projects like it gets better and P.A.R.T.Y. @ the P.A.C. we get to witness the art’s unique ability to facilitate important conversations. The arts have the ability to reach people visually, emotionally and cognitively at the same time. This gives everyone a chance to relate to something in the art, creating commonalities or highlighting differences that can open a dialogue that may have never happened between patrons. Patrons then take that conversation or their new view on a topic into the community.

They share, discuss or act with a new lens; contributing unique, different angles to problems and issues that encourage additional dialogue and problem solving.

All of these perspectives come together to create a vibrant, open community.

DSC_0187This is especially prevalent in our Bemis Company Education Series, designed to take conversations had in the classroom and bring them to life on stage. Teachers are equipped with study guides that help shape discussions before and after the performance, giving students new ways to explore a subject. According to Americans for the Arts, low-income students who have the arts integrated into their education are twice as likely to graduate from college. All students involved in the arts are four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement and 72% of business leaders site creativity as the number one skill in job seekers.

“The arts provide experiences as unique and exceptional as the individuals enjoying them,” said President Maria VanLaanen. “The incredible power the arts have to create shared experiences for people of diverse backgrounds and open a dialogue is a valuable gift. The arts provide a rich texture to our community that we at the Center are happy to celebrate by cultivating a space where the community can gather and enjoy different live performing art forms.”



We celebrate National Arts and Humanities Month, because you never know which experience will change someone’s life and their community.


Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra brings literal meaning to starting their season

The Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra, our resident partner, is getting ready to begin another season of inspiring music featuring special performers and the simple theme of season concerts.


Photo courtesy of Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra

The season begins at the Oct. 3 concert, aptly titled “Opening Night” which will feature Neenah native Austin Larson, a 24 year-old who has made a name for himself as a horn player both at the collegiate and professional competitions. Larson, who played with the Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra for five years, told the Post-Crescent the homecoming is a dream come true.

The Autumn Concert, which takes place Nov. 14 features Marcia Henry Liebenow, the concert master of the Peoria Symphony Orchestra and professor of violin and viola. Zach Harmon, a Wisconsin native, will be joining for a piece playing tabla, an instrument he has been studying under Abhiman Kushal.

The Winter Concert on Jan. 23 features guest artist Masha Lakisova, a 13 year-old violinist  who has played with many orchestras and in places such as Carnegie Hall in her short career. Masha plays a 1676 Francesco Ruggieri violin and will join the symphony in a piece by Tchaikovsky.

The Spring Concert on March 19 will feature Raffi Besalyan, playing piano for a Beethoven piece. Besalyan won the Artists International Competition and in recent years has dazzled audiences in North and South America, Europe, Russia and Asia.  He is a former faculty member of the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.

Photo By: Clay Patrick McBride

Photo By: Clay Patrick McBride

The Grand Finale is a collaboration with our Boldt Arts Alive! series presentation of Rosanne Cash along with guitarist John Leventhan and Cash’s band. Taking place May 7, this collaboration brings the legendary singer-songwriter presenting her newest works along with the stunning orchestral performance of the symphony.



Don’t miss these amazing opportunities to hear beautiful music featuring interesting, talented musicians from across the country. For more information visit the Fox Valley Symphony website.

Learn How Kinky Boots’ Hopeful Message Can Make the World a Little Better on Broadway Balances America

You’ll get a kick out of this! Broadway Balances America, the special six-part series airing on The Balancing Act on Lifetime Television, returned on September 22 with a behind-the-scenes look at the tour of the Tony-winning Kinky Boots. Correspondent Amber Milt traveled to New York and talked to the show’s Tony and Grammy-winning composer Cyndi Lauper and producers Daryl Roth and Hal Luftig about how the musical’s uplifting message is inspiring fellows from Lauper’s True Colors Fund for LGBT youths. Milt also speaks with star (and Milwaukee native!) Kyle Taylor Parker about how Kinky Boots has touched his life. Click play!

The Center will be hosting a version of the Raise You Up program discussed in the video when Kinky Boots is in town Oct. 12-18 for selected students from Appleton Central High School. Stay tuned for more on that!

Original post published on

Foreigner: By the numbers

Foreigner is universally hailed as one of the most popular rock acts in the world with a musical repertoire that keeps them producing albums, touring and playing on multiple radio stations.

We break down Foreigner’s popularity by the numbers:ForeignerMickKelly6921024

1 song has been a worldwide #1 hit, I Want To Know What Love Is

9 Top 10 hits

10 multiplatinum albums

16 hits made the Top 30 including Cold as Ice, Feels like the First Time, Hot Blooded and Waiting for a Girl Like You

40, the spot Foreigner occupys on Billboard’s Hot 100 All Time Top Artists Chart

75 million albums soldForeigner750x500

100+ million Youtube views of Foreigner’s hit songs.

400% the amount of downloads for Foreigner music after it was featured in “Anchorman 2”, “Magic Mike”, “Pitch Perfect” and even “Grand Theft Auto V”


One night of the biggest hits! Do you have your tickets for their show at the Fox Cities P.A.C. Oct. 23?

Classroom Connections helps teach the teachers

The 2015-16 school year marks the fourth year the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center and Appleton Area School District (AASD) are participating in the Partners in Education program of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. This partnership allows the Center and AASD to create professional development opportunities to help teachers use the arts as a catalyst for creative energy in every curricular area. The Classroom Connections Teacher Workshops are open to all Wisconsin educators on a first-come, first serve basis.


Last year’s Math Dance workshop meant a fun evening for all

Classroom Connections Teacher Workshops prepare educators to integrate the arts into their classroom, resulting in more effective and engaging lessons. Even for educators who have never been trained in the arts, these hands-on workshops are presented in a way that makes educators confident and comfortable to use the arts to teach core curriculum.

This year’s roster of professional teaching artists will encourage educators to get creative. Topics include songwriting, movement, language arts and engaging students with autism through the arts.


This year’s workshops include:

Sing to Freedom: Music of the Underground Railroad
Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015 4-7 p.m.
In this participatory workshop, educators will learn to decode and sing “Follow the Drinking Gourd” and other traditional songs of the Freedom Train. Led by musicians Kim and Reggie Harris, teachers will learn songwriting strategies to update period songs and compose new songs on freedom themes to bring history to life for students.

Reaching Students with Autism Through The Arts: Implications for Inclusive Arts Classroom
Monday, January 11, 2016, 4-7 p.m.
In this session, participants explore questions about what autism is, how it affects people, and how some strategies are utilized to help students with autism learn and experience the arts. Ryan Hourigan, Associate Director of the School of Music at Ball State University, addresses communication, emotional, socialization, cognitive and sensory challenges faced when working with students with autism in music, art, theater and dance classrooms and offers practical suggestions for teachers to use.

kennedy-headerDanceTalk: Creative Movement and Language Development
Thursday, March 3, 2016, 4-7 p.m.

In this workshop, participants discover ways to teach essential reading, writing, speaking and listening skills through creative movement. Throughout this dynamic workshop, participants will build language and dance vocabulary and learn practical strategies for space, time and behavior management. Creative dance educator Kate Kuper, will also model several activities from her popular CD, AlphaBeat, which participants take home at the end of the workshop.

Teaching Reading Comprehension Strategies Through Visual Arts
Tuesday, April 19, 2016, 4-7 p.m.
How can students gain skills in questioning and making inferences from a text? In this workshop, the “text” is a work of visual art. In this workshop, led by Sandi Hammonds, teachers examine techniques for helping students develop their questioning strategies—posing relevant questions to gather information and progressing to more in-depth inquiry about the artwork.

For more information on these workshops including fees and how to register, visit our website.

Partners at the Fox Cities P.A.C


Exclusive Annual Partner backstage tour during Dirty Dancing – The Classic Story On Stage

As a nonprofit arts and educational organization, the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center provides a diverse palette of shows every season; this would not be possible without the financial support of our Annual Partners!

Since opening, the Center has generated $200+ million of economic activity in the Fox Cities region. Imagine the impact you can make on the community by becoming an Annual Partner and supporting the growth of our community while creating meaningful experiences that influence your life. Through your support, people from all walks of life will be encouraged to gather, enjoy and participate in the arts.

For example, Annual Partners make a huge difference in the lives of students. Thanks to yearly donations subsidizing costs, the Bemis Company Education Series is able offer tickets for $5-7 to performances such as Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse, Curious George, and The Great Gatsby.

By investing in the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center as an Annual Partner, you can also receive great benefits such as backstage tours, invites to special events and access to the Partners Lounge which includes complimentary beverages, desserts and a private coat check. Benefits begin with gifts of $50 and vary based on giving level.


2014 Presidents Luncheon

New benefits for the 2015-16 Season include:

2 drink vouchers as a $150 Supporting Partner

4 drink vouchers and a President’s Luncheon invitation as a $350 Contributing Partner

Partners Lounge access and an invitation to a wine tasting as a $500 Directing Partner



We value all the ways you support the Center as a Season Ticket Holder, ticket buyer, advocate, volunteer, and donor. Thank you to all of the individuals and businesses who support the Annual Partner Campaign! If you haven’t already, consider joining hundreds of others supporting the Center’s mission through the Annual Partner Campaign at a level that is meaningful to you.

For more information about Annual Partners and the assortment of benefits you can receive, visit or contact the Annual Partner team at (920) 730-3782.

Fox Cities P.A.C. serves full generation of students

Did you know that the senior class of 2015 had access to the Center through our Bemis Company Education Series during their entire K-12 academic career?

DSC_0217 That’s right! This past year’s graduating seniors were in kindergarten when the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center kicked off its Education Series, introducing an arts-focused way of learning for more than 250,000 students over the years in the Fox Valley and beyond. The Bemis Education Series hosts performances that tie into classroom lessons and meet the Wisconsin Academic Standards. Thanks to donors and sponsorships, these performances are made affordable for all students with scholarships available for students in need of financial assistance to attend this series.  Each performance is enhanced with study guides and tips for teachers on incorporating the performance into their lesson plans.

“The Center takes an active role investing in the next generation of arts enthusiasts by providing programming that will instill a passion for the arts, while teaching core classroom lessons in an engaging manner,” said Cassie Schroeder, Education Coordinator at the Center. “Whether sparking a love of ballet or bringing a Shakespearian text to life, the arts encourage students to develop and dig deeper in their educational experience. Having the opportunity to inspire students in our community is an honor for us and a goal that we do not take lightly.”

The series has also taken on popularity with area educators like Nate Kallies, Principal and 8th grade teacher at St. Paul Lutheran School in Appleton. Kallies said that as a teacher he’s enjoyed performances along with his students.

Photo credit: Ken Cobb

Photo credit: Ken Cobb

“The performances at the PAC bring our lesson plans alive!  Because the children of our school have enjoyed the PAC so much, it makes the teachers’ jobs that much more enjoyable in bringing the theatre—and how you can learn about history, music, etc. through the theater—to the children,” he said.

Growing over the years, the education component at the Center has expanded to include special Classroom Connections workshops for teachers on integrating the arts in their classrooms and unique opportunities to network with each other prior to performances at the Center’s Education Outlet events.

The Bemis Company Education Series will explore neighbors, communities and friends when it presents a season entitled “Together Through the Arts.” The stories of Junie B. Jones, Martin Luther King Jr., the Harlem Renaissance, Aesop’s Fables, Daniel Tiger and more will come alive on our stage as students in PreK through 12th grade explore their world through the lens of the arts.

Spotlight On: Amy Gosz

amyHave you ever wondered about what it takes to put together a season?

Amy Gosz, Director of Programming and Community Engagement, has been with the Center since 2002 and coordinates the Center’s programming. She works with a programming team to select the artists that will be the best fit for the Center to present after much research and discussion. To identify potential artists she thoughtfully considers patron suggestions, attends conferences, talks with colleagues and attends performances.

Amy also oversees the Center’s education and community engagement programs, such as Family First Nights and residencies such as it gets better. Her position allows her to combine her two passions, education and the performing arts!

We asked Amy three questions to understand her job a little better:
1. Part of your job involves booking artists. Do you get to meet a lot of awesome acts? 
Although I attend a variety of performances throughout the year, my role of booking performances is centered around the relationships I build with agents, artists, other presenters and community members. Through those relationships with artists and agents I am able to learn when tours are coming through our area, who has a new project, determine artist compatibility and fit with our size venue and explore potential education program opportunities. But it is just as important for me to learn from other presenters what artists they are having success with and what kind of performances the community has enjoyed at the Center and is interested in seeing. It is the information I gather from these relationships that help shape our programming each season.

2. How do education and community engagement tie into what performs on stage?
As an organization, our goal is to provide diverse programming that entertains, inspires and educates. In addition to those artists who are easily recognizable, we strive to introduce the community to the rich variety of world-class dance companies, theater productions and musicians to our stage. Those performances then provide the context for our education and engagement programs. Our Community First Community Engagement Activities provide opportunities to further engage with performances including interactive dance demonstrations, historical presentations and family activities.

3. What is your favorite act you’ve booked at the Fox Cities P.A.C.?
I have many, so some favorites include Montana Repertory Theatre’s To Kill a Mockingbird, Cheyenne Jackson and Yamato: The Drummers of Japan.

Let Amy know what you’d like to see at the Center by commenting below!