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Fox Cities PAC planning fall return of Broadway shows

Fox Cities Performing Arts Center
Fox Cities Performing Arts Center in downtown Appleton (WLUK/Jerry Van Handel)

APPLETON (WLUK) -- Broadway shows are expected to return to the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center Oct. 27 -- with “Wicked” -- while the center hopes to resume in-person shows in August.

The PAC has been dark since the March 12 performance of “Baby Shark Live!” And while the center hoped the 2020-21 season could take place, it’s now clear that touring shows won’t resume until fall, according to PAC president Maria Van Laanen.

“As we are looking at the rollout of the vaccine and the continued high-level of spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s becoming very obvious that the touring industry is not going to be able to start this spring as we had hoped. So, we are now moving our calendar and looking ahead to the fall as a time when we think the nation will be much better prepared to have shows that are touring across the country and welcoming people back inside to live theatre performances,” she said.

The PAC has not decided upon additional measures -- such as if masks will be mandatory for audience members. Those will be assessed as the performance dates draw closer. But don’t expect social distancing in the seats, such as how the Green Bay Packers did for recent games.

“In order for our industry to work, for these large touring productions, you need large audiences. We would need to have everyone together,” she said. “We are focused on when we re-open, we’re going to do so safely, with full audiences.”

While the Broadway season doesn’t start until late October, other shows are expected to resume in August. That schedule will be announced in April.

Without shows, the PAC continues to suffer financially. It has received about $500,000 in CARES Act government assistance, but has furloughed staff and launched what’s called its ACT 2 fundraising campaign to help survive, Van Laanen said.

Meanwhile, the setting of dates for shows to resume is exciting news.

“I know there are so many people, like us, who are so excited to be able to come back and engage in those live experiences again. It will be an absolutely magical time when we are able to get back together. And I think anybody who maybe took it a little for granted in the past, when we are able to get back together, I know they are very excited and will cherish that opportunity,” she said.

Those holding tickets to shows which had been canceled should continue to hold on to them, and can contact the PAC through the website for additional details.

Season ticket holders can get tickets for the Broadway shows now. New season ticket packages and individual show tickets will go on sale later on.

2021-22 Kimberly-Clark Broadway Across America

Wicked

  • Oct. 27 – Nov. 14, 2021
  • Season ticket holders will have first access to purchase tickets to this season option upon completion of their package.

Hadestown

  • Dec. 14 – 19, 2021

Mean Girls

  • Jan. 18 – 23, 2022

Hairspray

  • Feb. 15 – 20, 2022

Disney’s Frozen

  • May 18 – 29, 2022
  • Season Ticket Holder Week: May 18 – 24, 2022

Dear Evan Hansen

  • April 19-24, 2022
  • Season ticket holders for the 2021-22 season and those with tickets to "Dear Evan Hansen," rescheduled from the 2019-20 season, will be contacted via email with additional information.
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