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Wisconsin 275
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Maria Van Laanen

Hospitality | Entertainment
President and CEO
Fox Cities Performing Arts Center | Appleton

Maria Van Laanen became one of the first employees at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center when she was hired as its director of marketing in 2001 – a year before the $45 million venue opened its doors to the public.

Since 2014, she has served as president and chief executive officer of the downtown Appleton performing arts center. During her tenure, she has been a part of more than 7,000 events at the center, ushering in 37 Broadway Wisconsin premiers. She’s also overseen the growth of its programming for area students, including the Frank C. Shattuck P.A.T.H.S. Program and Center Stage High School Musical Theater Program, and the launch of The Broadway League’s Family First Nights and Kennedy Center Partners in Education Program. She also helped the center reach its $30 million Keystone Fund fundraising goal.

Hosting roughly 400 events annually, the center includes a 2,100-seat opera-style theater, a 350-seat black box style theater and a 75-person private function space.

Van Laanen is a Tony voting member of The Broadway League, where she is a member of the board of governors, and a member of the National High School Musical Theater Advisory Board and the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and Government Relations committees. She also serves on the YMCA of the Fox Cities board and is a member of Imagine Fox Cities’ Belonging Group.

Education: Bachelor’s, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay

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