You never know what you’ll discover when you visit the Monroe Historical Society. 

I dropped in for a meeting last night. I was early, and filled the time by browsing their collections. Incredibly, the first thing I opened turned out to be a 1940 yearbook featuring this beautiful photo of our treasured Wagner Performing Arts Center, taken before its first “birthday”.

First, read the rather moving text dedicating the school’s first yearbook to the Wagner family.   The auditorium was named in memory of mill owner George Wagner, and a large portion of the funding for it (about 22%) was provided by his son Frank Wagner, whose generous donation quite literally made it possible for Monroe to build the school and its auditorium.

Then, take a close look at the photo.  Even after a year and a half of researching this family and the building, some of the details seen here came as a complete surprise to me:  the railing atop the portico, now gone; and the columns that go all the way down to the ground – no concrete footings! 

Our thanks to the Monroe Historical Society for permission to share this image.  






The stairway handrails at the Wagner Performing Arts Center get a facelift, courtesy of A Master's Touch refinishing in Monroe.

It’s All in the Details!

Brian Sullivan, owner of A Master’s Touch refinishing and restoration business in Monroe, recently donated his shop’s services to restore the interior stairway handrails at the Wagner Performing Arts Center. 

These rails, in the stairway on the right (east) side of the stage, were… well… just look at the “before” picture.  Enough said! 

Brian and his crew peeled away the many layers of ugly paint to reveal the natural beauty of the old fir handrails, which are now clear coated in a beautiful, durable satin finish. (He even stripped the paint from the original mounting brackets to restore them to their original condition.)

We can’t say for sure, but it’s very likely that the wood came from the old Wagner mill.  “You couldn’t replace wood like this today,” said Brian when we brought the railings to him.  We thank Brian for his donation!

Brian Sullivan of A Master's Touch
The M.A.C. presented Brian with a certificate of appreciation for his work on the auditorium hand rails.
Wagner Performing Arts Center pit cap stage extension.

The Wagner Performing Arts Center just added a whole lot of real estate to its stage!

After carefully considering feedback from organizations that rent the WPAC for performances, the Monroe Arts Council made the decision last year to invest in this major improvement to the facility.  Because while seating capacity at the auditorium is huge, the stage could sometimes feel a wee bit tight for performers in modern productions.  

Not anymore! The installation was complete in mid-January, and what difference it makes.

The pit cap stage extension takes advantage of the area over the infrequently used orchestra pit. The increased space opens up a whole new range of possibilities for performers on stage.  Split Second Improv has already put on two shows using the extended stage, and are giving it rave reviews.  SSI director (and M.A.C. president) Robert Bogue reports that it is a dream to perform on.  

But fans of live orchestra productions need not worry!  The extension is designed for easy removal when the pit is needed for musicals. 

You can see the extension in use at a number of upcoming performances.  Split Second Improv performs twice monthly, and Sky Performing Arts presents the comedy The Imaginary Invalid in April.  Check our Events page for dates, times, and ticket information. 

WPAC pit cap installation
The pit cap installation in progress.




Volunteers, you have really outdone yourselves! 

January’s work party was the best one yet.  Our members showed up in force, but we were really bowled over when some non-members also unexpectedly showed up to pitch in!  (Special shout-out to Sky Valley Education Center and Cascade Community Theater. You are the best.)

So. Much. Done.  

♥ Walls patched and paint touched up. 
♥ Cobwebs cleared from proscenium arch.
♥ Stage storage room completely reorganized. 
♥ Surplus equipment donated. 
♥ Aisle carpets shampooed.
♥ Broken door-closers repaired – no more slamming! 
♥ Portico light fixtures taken down and cleaned out.
♥ Light bulbs replaced with bright, energy-efficient LED’s. 

THANK YOU to everyone who helped show the Wagner a little love!

December was a terrific month at the Wagner Performing Arts Center.  

First, Sky Performing Arts brought us two full weekends of the hilarious and beloved A Christmas Story – complete with the legendary leg lamp, a misbehaving furnace,  and even a tongue frozen to a lamppost.  

Next, the Monroe Concert Band brought the holiday spirit to musical life with a A Joyous Christmas, their final concert of 2018. What a celebration of the season!  

Finally, Cascade Community Theater presented a wonderful production of Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka, the timeless story of the world-famous candy man and his quest to find an heir. 

Watch for a similar lineup in December 2019.  It’s a great way to get in the holiday spirit!

Congratulations to our new M.A.C. officers! 

President: Robert Bogue  

Vice President: Lise Sexton  

Treasurer: Anita Flickinger  

Secretary: Connie Goss  

The new board is looking forward to the challenges and opportunities of the coming year.  


It was an evening to remember! These talented local musicians based in Snohomish put on an incredible benefit concert for the M.A.C. on October 27th at the Wagner Performing Arts Center. They have to be heard to be believed!  

The program consisted of driving jazz, blues, and rock classics spanning several decades, and interwoven with some humorous  surprises. 

The caliber of F Street’s musicianship is top-notch and the song choices are real crowd-pleasers. A few audience members couldn’t resist the impulse to get up and dance! 

F Street will be back at the Wagner again in late 2019, exact date to be announced.  Watch our events calendar and save the date!

For a preview of this amazing band, visit their website at