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Dallas Summer Musicals Hires New President

by Jerome Weeks 23 Apr 2017 4:47 PM

Veteran manager Kenneth Novice, formerly with LA’s Geffen Playhouse, will replace long-term president Michael Jenkins – who was fired last year.


But the job won’t be the same.

Some 11 months after the Dallas Summer Musicals fired long-term president and managing director Michael Jenkins — a move that led to charges and counter-charges of age-discrimination and financial mismanagement — the DSM has hired Kenneth T. Novice as president. Novice is an experienced theater manager who has run the Geffen Playhouse in LA and the Pasadena Playhouse, both major theater companies and presenters. He has also worked with San Diego’s Old Globe and New York’s Circle Repertory and headed up the theater management MFA/MBA program at California State University, Long Beach. He starts his new job May 1.

But during the 11 months while veteran arts executive David Hyslop served as interim managing director, the DSM made a fundamental change in its 77-year-long function as North Texas’ leading musical presenter. It cut a partnership deal with Broadway Across American (formerly Pace Theatrical Group, once owned by Live Nation), one of North America’s biggest tour producers. During the 23 years Jenkins was president, the DSM frequently produced its own shows, creating tours that even went to Broadway. He also invested in nascent Broadway musicals with the intention that their success would eventually lead to tours coming to Dallas. The latest example was his Tony Award-winning production of ‘An American in Paris.’

Ever since the Winspear Opera House opened and created the Lexus Broadway Series in 2009, the competition between the DSM and AT&T PAC has not been so much over audiences but over the limited amount of touring product available to the two presenting organizations (hence, all the repeats of such long-running shows as ‘Jersey Boys,’ ‘The Phantom of the Opera,’ ‘The Lion King’ and ‘Rent’ among many others). Jenkins sought to cultivate the DSM’s traditional family audience, while AT&T PAC pursued lucrative, popular but darker or ‘more adult’ shows such as ‘The Book of Mormon,’ ‘Fela!’ and ‘Hedwig and the Angry Inch.’ In fact, when the DSM had a separate, short-lived series at the Majestic Theatre expressly for such fare, they were often Broadway Across America shows.

But Jenkins’ approach led to drastically declining subscription numbers for the DSM — currently at less than half its high point of 20,000 members before the AT&T PAC opened in 2009. Almost as crucial to the non-profit’s worried board was the amount of money and effort the DSM was regularly risking on producing its own tours and investing in Broadway musicals.

In the interest of financial stability, all of that is gone. The burden to deliver product is now entirely Broadway Across America’s. Or put another way, last year, Dallas joined more than 40 cities in the United States as another venue for Broadway Across America.

The DSM’s dispute with Jenkins was settled in July last year with the former president being given the title ‘managing director emeritus’ and all financial differences declared resolved.


Here’s the full release:
10 Month Nationwide Search Culminates with One of the Top Professionals in the Country as the New Head of 77-Year Old Beloved Performing Arts Organization

Dallas, TX (April 22, 2017) – Dallas Summer Musicals, Inc. (DSM) announces the appointment of Kenneth T.
Novice as its President. Novice will begin his position on May 1, 2017 with an immediate plan of action to
continue the work that David Hyslop, DSM’s Interim Managing Director, started last year of instilling stability and
sustainability for the organization.

“We are thrilled to welcome Ken to Dallas as the next President of the Dallas Summer Musicals,” said Ted
Munselle, DSM Board Chair. “His experience is the perfect blend of what DSM needs to continue to excel at what
we do best, and to build upon our storied history as a leader in the Dallas arts community. Ken has an engaging
personality, as well as a broad vision of where we can and should go as an organization. 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 is a seasoned theater management executive with over three decades of leadership experience. He
previously served as Managing Director of Los Angeles’ Geffen Playhouse and Pasadena Playhouse in Pasadena,
CA. Novice’s career includes organizations with rich cultural histories similar to Dallas Summer Musicals, including
San Diego’s The Old Globe and Circle Repertory Theatre in New York. Novice also served as Head of Theatre
Management, designing curriculum and teaching courses for the California State University Long Beach Theatre
Management MFA/MBA program.

Novice led the Geffen Playhouse from 2009 to 2015, developing and executing the organization’s strategic plan
and producing such notable productions as the West Coast premiere of John Logan’s I’LL EAT YOU LAST starring
Bette Midler, the world premiere of Beth Henley’s THE JACKSONIAN starring Ed Harris which transferred to New
York, the West Coast premiere and Kennedy Center productions of THURGOOD starring Laurence Fishburne
among many others. Novice’s credits at Pasadena Playhouse include the world premiere of the Tony Award-nominated
musical SISTER ACT THE MUSICAL and the acclaimed production of August Wilson’s FENCES starring
Laurence Fishburne and Angela Basset among many others. Novice’s career is marked by a dedication to education
and outreach, developing community partnerships, building brands and communication programs and increasing board engagement.

“On my first visit to Dallas Summer Musicals I was immediately impressed by the dedication, pride and passion of
the Boardvof Directors,” said Novice. “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. 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. There is a great deal of
momentum behind Dallas Summer Musicals at the moment; there is no better time to build long-term
philanthropic support for an organization that will not only bring the acclaimed HAMILTON and other top-notch
musicals to Dallas audiences but also spark a deeper interest in musical theater as an art form and provide
excellent educational programs derived from the work on stage.”

David Hyslop, a respected arts veteran, has served as DSM’s Interim Managing Director since May of 2016 while
the Board of Directors launched a search for a permanent President. Immediately recognizing the potential of
DSM, Hyslop begin establishing collaborative partnerships and building on the opportunities to revitalize the
organization. Hyslop will stay on in an advisory capacity to ensure a smooth transition as Novice begins his new

“We are extremely grateful for all that David has done for DSM over the last year. His extensive experience and
contacts in the arts community in Dallas and across the country have been invaluable to DSM. David provided
significant leadership, as well as a calm voice of reason, to DSM and our Board, and helped provide stability and
leadership to the organization throughout this transition,” commented Munselle on Hyslop’s time at DSM.

DSM’s Search Committee was headed by Executive Board Member Scott Collier. The committee interviewed many
candidates but felt that Novice had the right skills to keep the beloved tradition of DSM, expand the outreach
programs and funding and help obtain financial security for the organization. “The search committee spoke with
various members of management, Board members and colleagues from Ken’s former positions at the Geffen, The
Broad Stage, Pasadena Playhouse and The Old Globe and without exception, Ken was enthusiastically
recommended for this position,” said Collier. Novice will also steer DSM into the new era that the organization
promised the community as part of the new partnership with Broadway Across America, to bring the best and
brightest shows from Broadway and beyond to the Metroplex.

Dallas Summer Musicals’ 2016-2017 season continues with CIRCUS 1903 – THE GOLDEN AGE OF CIRCUS, May 23 –
June 4, 2017 and closes the season with THE BODYGUARD, July 18-30, 2017. Single tickets are available at, by phone at 1-800-745-3000 or in person at the Music Hall at Fair Park box office
Monday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Dallas Summer Musicals’ highly anticipated 2017-2018 Broadway season will kick off with the season add-on
IRVING BERLIN’S WHITE CHRISTMAS, Dec. 5-10, 2017; followed by THE COLOR PURPLE, Jan. 23 – Feb. 4, 2018; ON
YOUR FEET!, Feb. 27 – Mar. 11, 2018; WAITRESS, Mar. 28 – Apr. 8, 2018; LES MISÉRABLES, Apr. 24 – May 6, 2018;                                        DISNEY’S THE LION KING, Jun. 13 – Jul. 8, 2018; LOVE NEVER DIES, Jul. 24 – Aug. 5, 2018; and closing the season
will be SCHOOL OF ROCK, Aug. 15-26, 2018.