Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Meet Maria

Meet Maria Van Laanen, the Fox Cities P.A.C.'s new president! 

Maria Van Laanen joined the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center in 2001 as director of marketing and draws from more than 20 years of arts management experience. She has been instrumental in leading the organization since the beginning. For more than five years she served as vice president of communications and external relations. In 2011 she was promoted to executive vice president and assumed the role of overseeing the day-to-day operations for the Center. On July 1, she started her new role as president.

Get to know Maria with a few questions we asked her below.

Tell us about your background.
Before coming to the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center I worked for a company originally called Jujamcyn Productions and through a series of takeovers eventually became what is now known as Broadway Across America. I was based out of Minneapolis and led the marketing campaigns for many Broadway series across the country.

What is your favorite show and why?
Choosing just one favorite show is nearly impossible for me. A few of my favorites include: Les Miserables, my first major Broadway musical I saw. I fell in love with every aspect of the production, especially the music. The Lion King holds a very special place in my heart as I was part of the Minneapolis team who worked on its world premiere. Julie Taymor's vision and artistry truly transformed the way many experience musical theater. I am also incredibly moved by the beauty and athleticism of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater every time I have the chance to see them perform.

What is the first show you ever saw?
Music was a major part of my life growing up, so my first performances were concerts. The first concert my parents brought me and my brother to was the rock band Tesla opening for David Lee Roth on his first solo tour.

Tell us about your first day working at the Fox Cities P.A.C.
I started working for the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center in 2001 while the building was still under construction. At that time we worked out of what is now the 222 Building. Since I was only the second employee, my first day included ordering my computer and office supplies. I then began reaching out to local media and businesses to begin building many of the relationships that are still core to our work today.

Where are you from?
Although my family moved around quite a bit, the majority of my childhood was in Northeast Wisconsin and that is where most of my family still lives.

Tell us about your family.
My husband of 18 years, Chad is a high school teacher who works with at-risk students and coaches varsity football. My 13 year old daughter, is a great student and an avid swimmer for the Fox Cities YMCA Swim Team.

What are your hobbies?
I enjoy the outdoors when I am not in a theater. My family and I love to camp, canoe and hike when we have a weekend free. 

What are your questions for Maria? Ask them in the comments section.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Announcing the Broadway Nights Contest Winner

Have you been following the Fox 11 Broadway Night's Contest? This Morning Good Day Wisconsin was live from Thrivent Financial Hall to select a grand prize winner!

Congratulations to winner Kurt from Fond du Lac! Watch the clip on fox11online.com.

Kurt won a 2014-15 Broadway Season Ticket Package featuring The Book of Mormon, seven overnight stays at the CopperLeaf Hotel in downtown Appleton, seven $50 gift certificates to Fratellos Waterfront Restaurant and an autographed poster signed by the cast for each show.

Runners up received a pair of tickets to A Christmas Story, The Musical.

Good Day Wisconsin's Emily Deem kicks off the morning.

The 5 qualifiers chose their seats at random. 

And the winner is...

...Kurt from Fond du Lac!

Kurt and his wife, Jamie, with Emily Deem.

Season Ticket Packages are on sale now through June 25! To learn more about this season's performances or becoming a Season Ticket Holder, visit foxcitiespac.com or call our ticket office at (920) 730-3760.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Phantom by the Numbers

The spectacular new production of The Phantom of the Opera is coming to the Fox Cities 11-22. Think you know everything Phantom? See what it takes to pull together one of the largest shows touring the country!

75 local stagehands are hired in every market to load the production into the theater
35 local stagehands are used for each performance
20 trucks are used to move the production from city to city (16 trucks in the building, 4 more trucks for the jump/advance)

Linda Balgord as Madame Giry. Photo by Matthew Murphy.
• The design incorporates not only original Maria Bj√∂rnson designs from the original but also designs by Maria that were never used for Phantom before.
• There are a few pieces from the original production that are over 25 years old used in this production.
• Over 1,200 costume pieces used during the show.
• Each ballet girl goes through a pair of ballet shoes every 2-3 weeks
• Madame Giry has only 1 costume

Julia Udine and Cooper Grodin. Photo by Matthew Murphy. 

• Over 120 wigs travel with Phantom
• About 50 wigs are used in the show every night
• All wigs are made from human hair except for 5
• Stock of about 50 mustaches

• Phantom uses over 200 speakers
• Approximately 50 are used just for the surround sound package

• Over 85 moving lights in the design that utilizes 4 different kinds of haze/smoke effects.

• Over 6,000 beads are on the chandelier
• Each strand has 632 beads
• The chandelier weighs 1 ton
• This new chandelier was designed by Howard Eaton (who designed the Olympic rings for the London ceremonies)

• The main scenic wall weighs 10 tons and rotates around the stage
• The 2 opera boxes scenic elements together take up a full truck to travel from city to city
The Company performs Hannibal. Photo by Matthew Murphy. 
• 17 orchestra members plus conductor perform Andrew Lloyd Webber’s magnificent score every performance

Don't miss this spectacular new production! Tickets are on sale now and begin at $49. Visit foxcitiespac.com for details.

Friday, May 16, 2014

The Annual Chairman's Gala Unmask The Night

Susan Stockton and Founding Community Board of Directors 
to be Honored at Annual Chairman's Gala

The Annual Chairman's Gala Unmask The Night will be held on Wednesday, May 28 to benefit the Center's mission and honor the 2013 Distinguished Service Award recipients. The Fox Cities P.A.C. Board of Directors Chairman, John J. Hogerty II, will present the award at the gala to President Susan Stockton and the Center's Founding Community Board of Directors. 

2013 Distinguished Service Award Recipients:
Susan Stockton
Founding Community Board of Directors

  • John F. Bergstrom
  • Richard A. Bergstrom
  • Oscar C. Boldt
  • Robert C. Buchanan
  • John O. Gilbert
  • Timothy M. Hanna
  • James R. Hayes
  • Paul J. Heid
  • Michael Marsden
  • Thomas J. Prosser
  • Walter S. Rugland
  • Kathi P. Seifert

Susan Stockton and select members of the Founding Community Board of Directors* spoke on a panel at the Center's 10th Anniversary Open House on August 17, 2012. (l to r: Susan Stockton, Walter S. Rugland*, Paul J. Heid*, Timothy M. Hanna*, Kathi P. Seifert*, Paul Coenen (Vice President of Northern Operations of The Boldt Company), John F. Bergstrom*, Oscar C. Boldt*, moderator Dan Flannery (Executive Editor at Post-Crescent Media). 

The Distinguished Service Award is presented annually to members of the community or organizations in the community that have contributed to the Center’s success in a significant and meaningful way. Past honorees have advocated for the Center, contributed financially to the Center, assisted in the organization’s fundraising campaigns, programming or other activities advancing the Fox Cities P.A.C.’s mission. 

“This will be a special evening to celebrate Susan Stockton’s 10+ years of leadership and the Founding Community Board of Directors’ vision and dedication. Our remarkable Performing Arts Center would not exist today without their efforts, ” said Hogerty.

Join in the celebration at this year's Annual Chairman's Gala Unmask The Night, including cocktails, dinner, live auction items and more! Tickets are limited and on sale now

Thursday, May 8, 2014

$23 Million Raised-to-Date Toward Keystone Campaign

$23 Million Raised-to-Date Toward Keystone Campaign
$2 Million To Go

The Fox Cities Performing Arts Center is pleased to announce that $23 million dollars of contributions and pledges has been raised-to-date toward the Keystone Campaign, a $25 million endowment fund to support the arts now and for future generations. The funds raised will provide long-term financial stability to the nonprofit’s long-range business plan.

The Keystone Campaign was publicly announced in Nov. 2012. At the time of the announcement $17 million in contributions and pledges had been raised during a quiet leadership phase. Over the last year and a half the campaign received $6 million from individuals and businesses that made muti-year pledges, cash gifts, legacy gifts or donated to memorialize a loved one who was passionate about the arts.

The Keystone Campaign supports the Center’s subsidized mission-based programs by:
  • ·         Providing sufficient cash reserves to weather the volatility of the theater business
  • ·         Generating capital for unanticipated challenges like downturns in the economy
  • ·         Protecting and maintaining the facility by planning for long-term maintenance needs