After decades of discussion, the Fox Cities' dream of a performing arts center launched in September 1999 when Thrivent Financial for Lutherans pledged $8 million to the project.
The City of Appleton and the Appleton Redevelopment Authority dedicated $4.2 million to acquire and prepare the site.
The Boldt Company broke ground on a world-class theater designed by Zeidler Roberts Partnership, Inc. In just 31 months, the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center became a landmark in Downtown Appleton.
Fourteen Fox Cities municipalities committed to the construction of the Center with room tax revenues, making it a regional effort.
Within three years, more than 2,700 individuals, families, businesses (including employee gift matches), municipalities and foundations pledged $45 million to the Fox Cities P.A.C.'s Capital Campaign.
Winter 2002November 25, 2002
More than 1,500 patrons attended a breathtaking Opening Night Gala featuring legendary singer Tony Bennett.
The community celebrated the grand opening with an Open House and Realizing Dreams, a collaborative performance led by our resident partner, the Fox Valley Symphony.
Winter 2003January 21 - February 2, 2003
Mamma Mia! danced its way into our hearts as the first Broadway show to grace the Center's stage. You never forget your first!
Beyond Broadway, audiences of all ages enjoyed the first public performance, Franklin's Class Concert. Just think, those young fans of Franklin are almost grown up!
High school choirs from the area had the chance to perform onstage under the instruction of a guest conductor at the Fox Cities P.A.C. in the first annual Fox Cities Choral Music Festival. To date, 1,459 students have sung their hearts out! Tickets are on sale now for the Ninth Annual Fox Cities Choral Music Festival
During the 2003/04 Season, Fox Cities residents had rare opportunities to connect with world leaders including Mikhail Gorbachev and President George W. Bush.
The Arts Alive! series welcomed artists from throughout America and around the globe.
The community embraced the Center's mission by supporting the launch of the Annual Partner Campaign. In the first year alone, 467 local businesses, foundations and individuals invested in the arts.
By the 2005/06 Season, 77,000 students saw their lessons come to life through the Education Series, making it Northeast Wisconsin's largest classroom for the performing arts in just three short years!
The Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region brought together local arts and culture organizations for Youth Education in the Arts. The grant assisted the Center in expanding outreach education programs including Performing Arts Touch the Hearts of Students (P.A.T.H.S.). P.A.T.H.S. continued to inspire at-risk students with Broadway shows including Disney's The Lion King, WICKED, RENT and West Side Story.
Spring 2007May 10 - June 17, 2007
More than 88,000 people helped put the Fox Cities P.A.C. on the arts and culture map by attending Disney's The Lion King . The Wisconsin premiere was the Center's longest running show to date!
Local artists and school children brought 50 lions and 21 cubs to life for the popular public art project known as Lions of the Valley. You can still catch a glimpse as you journey throughout the Fox Valley.May 11, 2007
The Lion King Extravaganza and Evening on Safari raised more than $100,000 to support the Center's mission-based programs.
Shakespeare on the Fox partners presented The Tempest by London's AandBC Theatre Company throughout Northeast Wisconsin — onstage at the Fox Cities P.A.C., on the UW Oshkosh campus, at the Oneida Nation Pow Wow Grounds and under the night sky in a Berlin farm field.
Over the course of four seasons, Shakespeare on the Fox included American Players Theater, Appleton Area School District, Fond Du Lac Arts Council, Fox Valley Symphony, Grand Opera House, Lawrence University, Oneida Nation Arts Program, UW-Fond du Lac, UW Oshkosh and Windhover Center for the Arts.
Fall 2008October 16, 2008
The President's Own U.S. Marine Band performed a free concert at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center
During the 2008/09 Season, the Center celebrated its Fifth Anniversary with a return engagement of a Fox Cities' favorite, Mamma Mia! and welcomed its one millionth patron during a performance of Swan Lake.
Thanks for being one in a million!
Winter 2009February 4 - 28, 2009
The Wisconsin premiere of WICKED touched down at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center. As the country faced a recession, WICKED defied gravity and generated $18 million* in economic activity for the Greater Fox Cities.February 6, 2009
Community leaders, artists, volunteers, students, businesses large and small and an engaged audience came together for Wonderfully WICKED, raising more than $200,000 in support of the Center's mission-based programs.
*Americans for the Arts, Arts and Economic Prosperity III
Spring 2009March 28, 2009
More than four million listeners nationwide turned in for a live broadcast of Garrison Keillor's "A Prairie Home Companion"® featuring local talent from right here in the Fox Cities.
An outreach program called Mirror Image brought together "littles" and "bigs" from Big Brothers Big Sisters to learn about self-esteem in connection with Legally Blonde the Musical.
Since 2002, more than 50,000 theatergoers have gathered before and after performances to explore the arts with community engagement activities like preshow events and postshow Q&A's with the cast.
Local businesses and organizations have shared the spotlight with the arts hosting nearly 800 events at the Fox Cities P.A.C. by June 2010.
The Center built connections with local advocacy groups to expand open captioning, hearing loop technology and accessible seating options, making the arts accessible to all. The community was invited to explore the services at the first Accessibility Services Open House.
The community rang in the 2010 holiday season with Handel's Messiah featuring our local talent in a 145-member choir with guest soloists and the Fox Valley Symphony.
Spring/Summer 2011May 17, 2011
The Fox Cities Performing Arts Center was the home to a community celebration of The Compassion Project, created by The Trout Museum of Art and the Appleton Area Education Foundation.June 1 - 19, 2011
New theatergoers continued to discover the performing arts after more than 1,150 performances at the Center. Jersey Boys, for example, attracted 9,338 first-time visitors to the Fox Cities P.A.C.July 28-30, 2011
Lombardi: A Reading by the Broadway Cast added some off-season excitement to the Fox Cities P.A.C. calendar
Thank you to more than 1,500 volunteers who have contributed 266,466 hours (and counting) since 2002!
To date, more than 217,000 students have visited the Center for an education series performance.
Summer 2012June 8, 2012
Americans for the Arts reported that the Arts and Culture Industry, which includes the Fox Cities P.A.C., generates $32.3 million in economic activity each year in the Greater Fox Cities Region.August 17-18, 2012
The Center began the 10th Anniversary Season with a community open house. The free two-day event which featured performances by local artists, theater workshops and backstage tours attracted more than 2,000 attendees.
Thanks to the community leaders and support from the Hearing Loss Association of America - Fox Valley Chapter, the Center became the first Broadway presenting theater in Wisconsin to offer a t-coil hearing loop system. The technology is available in Thrivent Financial Hall, the main performance space, the Kimberly-Clark Theater and ticket office, increasing access to patrons with hearing loss, throughout the Center.
The Fox Cities P.A.C. was listed among the "Top Stops of the Decade" by Venues Today Magazine. Industry recognition helps draw the latest Broadway titles and big name tours to Northeast Wisconsin, including acts like Straight No Chaser, Bill Cosby and Willie Nelson.
The Fox Cities P.A.C. and the Appleton Area School District were selected to participate in the Partners in Education Program of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. The program creates professional development workshops to help educators learn how to use the arts in every curricular area.
Winter 2012Dec. 14-15, 2012
The Fox Cities P.A.C. along with local arts groups The Makaroff Youth Ballet, Fox Valley Symphony and White Heron Chorale (now New Voices) collaborated to create this special holiday production which was enjoyed by nearly 3,500 patrons.
Spring 2013April 9 - May 5, 2013
Disney's The Lion King celebrated its second sold-out engagement. The triumphant four-week return grossed more than $4.7 million and entertained more than 61,000 patrons. It is estimated that the Fox Cities engagement generated a $16.5 million economic impact.**
**The Economic Impact for Touring Broadway 2008-2009 by The Broadway League.
Future• Audiences enjoy the best of Broadway and embrace traditions from around the world.
• Students gain a greater understanding as classroom lessons come to life onstage.
• And people like you make the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center - Where the Arts Come Alive!