Don't let his name fool you: Kenneth T. Novice sounds extremely qualified to be the next president of Dallas Summer Musicals. The arts organization, which unexpectedly fired longtime leader Michael Jenkins in May 2016, announced the hiring of Novice following a 10-month nationwide search.
Novice was previously based in California, where he had served as the managing director of both the Geffen Playhouse and Pasadena Playhouse. He's also worked at the Tony Award-winning Old Globe in San Diego and Circle Repertory Theatre in New York. For California State University Long Beach's Theatre Management MFA/MBA program, Novice served as Head of Theatre Management, designing curriculum and teaching courses.
"Ken has an engaging personality, as well as a broad vision of where we can and should go as an organization," says Ted Munselle, DSM board chair, in a release. "His ability to think outside of the box will help keep DSM relevant and exciting for future generations of arts patrons. We sincerely believe that Ken is the best person to take us forward into our next 77 years, continuing and expanding DSM’s great legacy, while ensuring DSM’s financial and artistic success in the future."
Novice will assume the position on May 1 and continue the work that DSM interim managing director David Hyslop started last year on "instilling stability and sustainability for the organization," according to the release.
That's good, because the plan has already proven impressive. After several lackluster seasons, Dallas Summer Musicals revealed a hot lineup of current Broadway hits, including Waitress, The Color Purple, On Your Feet!, and School of Rock. Longtime favorites Les Miserables, Irving Berlin's White Christmas, and Disney's The Lion King are also on the schedule, along with Love Never Dies, the sequel to The Phantom of the Opera.
But the real clincher was the two shows announced for the 2018-19 season: Disney's Aladdin and the unstoppable smash Hamilton. In order to guarantee tickets to these coveted musicals, patrons are required to become season subscribers this year. Smart, smart, smart.
"Dallas Summer Musicals has been the crown jewel of the Dallas arts community for decades; the opportunity to lead this venerable company into the future with new partner Broadway Across America and the dedicated board and staff is an honor," says Novice. "I look forward to engaging deeply with the Dallas community, building community and business partnerships, and deepening the positive impact that the best of Broadway can have on young people through education and outreach initiatives."