The president of the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts has resigned. Stephen Klein, 66, says ongoing health concerns, which he describes as “slightly debilitating but not fatal,” have slowed him down.
“With the continuing responsibility of the institution, I think maybe somebody, God, I hate to say this, but maybe someone a little bit younger, with a little more energy – and again, I’ve been doing this for 35 years, not here, but all around the country – might be a breath of air,” he says.
Klein joined the organization in 2005. He will remain involved with the Center as an independent consultant through the end of the 30th anniversary season.
“I’m going to help everybody figure out what the next steps are,” he says. “We have a fabulous foundation for the Center. We’ve increased the number of people coming, increased our revenue, but it’s a tough business.”
Under Klein’s leadership, the center implemented an ongoing strategic plan and successfully obtained a $9 million deferred maintenance fund from the Kentucky General Assembly.
Kentucky Center senior vice president Kim Baker says that the timing of Klein’s departure, weeks before the start of the Center’s anniversary season, is “pretty good.”
“I think he is at a time in his career where he’s done a lot of really amazing things and wonderful things and he’s taking this as an opportunity to spend probably more time with his family but still stay involved with the Center and see us through our 30th anniversary,” says Baker.
“A lot of the hard work for the 30th anniversary was getting ready for it,” she adds.
Board member Don Parkinson will step in as interim president during the search for new leadership. Baker says the board has already put together a search committee.
“[Klein] can still be involved to help shepherd that through,” she says.
Klein came to Louisville from Pennsylvania, where he spent nine years as managing director of Pittsburgh Public Theatre. Prior to that, he focused on orchestra management, serving the National Symphony Orchestra, Denver Symphony Orchestra and Cleveland Orchestra.
The Center is home to many of Louisville’s flagship arts organizations, including the Louisville Ballet, Kentucky Opera, the Louisville Orchestra, Broadway Across America Louisville and Stage One Family Theatre. Several venues comprise the center: the 2,300-seat Robert S. Whitney Hall, the Moritz von Bomhard Theatre, the intimate black box Boyd Martin Experimental (MeX) Theatre, and the historic W.L. Lyons Brown Theatre on Broadway.