Richard Baker Named New President & CEO of Starlight Theatre
Richard (Rich) Baker, President of Fox Associates in St. Louis, will take the helm as President and Chief Executive Officer of Starlight Theatre Association beginning in March. Baker will oversee all of Starlight's operations and programming including the not-for-profit's Broadway and Concert series, extensive education programs, and all development activities for the 64 year-old performing arts organization.
"Starlight is very fortunate to have found Rich Baker. Not only is he a passionate leader in the musical theatre industry in the US, but he has a proven track record of turning vision into reality," said Russ Welsh, Chairman of the Board of Starlight Theatre. "His experience in the performing arts industry combined with his business background makes him the perfect leader for Starlight as it looks to celebrate its 65th season next year and develops its strategic plan for future generations. His energy and enthusiasm are already proving to be contagious."
Baker joins Starlight from St. Louis-based Fox Associates, a private holding company that operates the historic 4,500-seat Fox Theatre, MetroTix and Fox Theatricals. Baker has held executive management positions with Fox Associates for more than two decades, and for the last 13 years has served as President.
Through his position at The Fox, Baker not only presented first-run Broadway tours but also produced a multitude of shows on Broadway including, "Thoroughly Modern Millie", "Legally Blonde", and "Death of a Salesman" to name a few.
Under his leadership, Fox Associates also developed MetroTix, an online ticket broker which today sells more than half of the ticket business in St. Louis, and represents a wide variety of venues across the Midwest and nationally.
"This is an opportunity of a lifetime, and I look forward to building on the incredible foundation that the Starlight board, patrons, volunteers, donors and civic community have laid in making Starlight one of the premiere entertainment organizations in the Midwest and iconic and beloved Kansas City tradition," Baker said. "It's an incredible legacy. My wife and I are looking forward to becoming an integral part of the Starlight family and the Kansas City community. I can't wait to get started."
Baker and his wife, Peggy, met in a singing/performing group in high school and have been sweethearts ever since. They both have family ties to Kansas City and will move to Kansas City from Saint Charles, Mo. The couple has two sons and five grandchildren.
At the Fox Theatre, Baker has led several major renovation and expansion efforts including development of the Fox Club, a private, corporate box seat section boasting full menu dining and numerous exclusive amenities for its members.
He also oversees Fox Theatricals which runs the Briar Street Theatre in Chicago, home of the Blue Man Group, and has produced more than 15 Broadway plays, musicals, West End (London) and national tours, as sole producer, co-producer and/or through its association with the Independent Producers Network, an international alliance of theatre presenters. Fox Theatricals has won multiple Tony Awards for its productions, most recently garnering six awards for its Broadway production of Red, including Best Play, Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Play, and Best Direction of a Play.
A leader in the musical theatre industry, Baker currently serves as Vice President of the Independent Presenters Network, and is a member of the Board of Governors of the Broadway League, the national trade organization for the Broadway industry. Baker also serves on the League's road labor, inter-industry and governance committees and is a voter for the American Theatre Wing's annual Tony Awards, celebrating excellence on Broadway, and is a member of the International Association of Venue Managers.
A native of St. Louis, Baker has been active in community pursuits, including service on the local Advisory Board of US Bank, and as a Board member and Committee Chair of the Grand Center Arts District. For Grand Center, Baker has led
Master Planning, helping the district become a catalyst for economic development and historic preservation. A certified public accountant, Baker is a member of the American Institute of CPAs and the Missouri Society of CPAs. He holds a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Missouri-St. Louis, where he graduated cum laude.
Starlight Theatre, winner of the 2013 Venue Excellence Award from the International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM), is the largest and oldest performing arts organization in Kansas City and the second largest outdoor producing theatre in the country. Opened as a theater in 1950 and as a not-for-profit organization in 1951, Starlight presents and produces Broadway musicals and concerts, offers extensive community outreach and educational programming including classes, scholarships and Starlight's Blue Star Awards, one of the largest high school musical theatre award programs in the country.
Located on 16 acres, Starlight's venue includes rehearsal halls, gift store, club area for dining, concessions, gardens, fountains and a 10-story, climate-controlled stage. For more information, visit www.kcstarlight.com