As it opens its 60th anniversary season, the Milwaukee Rep is in a good place.
Ticket sales are strong, Artistic Director Mark Clements just signed on for another 4 years, and a new managing director takes the helm of the business side of the operation.
Chad Bauman comes to the job from the Arena Stage in Washington, D.C., which is, like the Rep, one of the great American regional theatres. During his six-year tenure at the Arena, Bauman more than doubled the earned revenue and smashed several of the company’s sales records that had stood for more than 50 years.
It’s safe to say the Rep board of directors is excited to have him here in Milwaukee.
“Chad’s experience in helping bring to the stage some of the best theater being performed in America will be a significant addition to our already strong team,” says board president Judy Hansen, in a release. “His skills in strategic planning, team building and leadership made him a standout candidate among the wonderful pool of theater professionals that were interested in this prestigious position."
While his position may work mostly behind the scenes, don't think Bauman won't have a big impact on what's happening onstage.
"Usually the artistic director sets artistic ambition and the managing director is responsible to develop resource to match that artistic ambition," he says.
Bauman says it's important for a managing director to be on board with that ambition and "connect with the art" that he is marketing. But that clearly won't be a problem in his new role - Bauman calls the Rep's productions "world class."
"I don't think there's any theater in the United States that can do work better than the Milwaukee Rep," he says.
Bauman also praises the Rep's sound financial footing.
"The finances are very solid," he says. "The company has seen 26% growth from 2010 to 2014 and they have done it in a relative stable way. No debt, we own our building – so financially the company is very sound."
The Rep’s 60th season opened on Friday with the cabaret show I Left My Heart in San Francisco.