August 23, 2002
Catherine Foster, Globe Staff
TONY MCLEAN NAMED NEW BROADWAY IN
Tony has been an ATPAM member since 1995
Tony McLean, who has spent his
professional life in for-profit theater, has been named president of
Broadway in Boston, succeeding a man who sought to bridge the gap between
for-profit and nonprofit theaters.
McLean, who takes office Sept. 30, joins
the Broadway in Boston organization after serving two years as vice
president of domestic touring for Disney Theatrical Productions. He
replaces William Conner, who left Broadway in Boston in July to become
president and chief executive officer of the Columbus Association for the
Performing Arts, which is a not-for-profit arts organization that is based
in Ohio. The announcement was made by Scott Zeiger, CEO of Clear Channel
Entertainment Theatrical North America, which owns Broadway in Boston.
"Tony is an old and dear friend of
Clear Channel Entertainment, with vast experience in presenting,
producing, and real estate operations," Zeiger said in a statement.
"We are lucky to have Tony and welcome him back to his original
McLean has managed more than 35 stage
productions since 1979, when the Dorchester native received a BFA from
Boston University's School of Theatre Arts. He was the general manager for
the Zev Bufman Theatre Partnership, and executive producer for Pace
Theatrical Group-Florida, Inc.
He also managed the Las Vegas company of
"Starlight Express." His most recent responsibilities at Disney
Theatrical included overseeing its touring division and its domestic tours
of "Beauty and the Beast," "Aida," and "The Lion
"I'm thrilled to be rejoining a
group of people I've known and respected for years, and to bring my
presenting experience and my years at Disney Theatrical back to my
hometown," McLean said. "I look forward to once again becoming
an active participant in the Boston arts community."
When Conner took the helm in 2000, the
Wilbur and the Colonial theaters, which Broadway in Boston leases and
runs, had only sporadically been lit. Since then, he's filled the Wilbur
with "Wit," "The Vagina Monologues," and
"Hamlet," and the Colonial with the musical hits
"Contact" and "Mamma Mia!"
But more than bringing in good shows,
Conner had a reputation for reaching out to the often-fractious arts
community to build bridges between nonprofit and for-profit theaters. One
of those partnerships resulted in a run at the Wilbur for the Huntington
Theatre production of "Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards
Josiah Spaulding, president and CEO of
the Wang Center for the Performing Arts, said he and McLean had worked
together successfully on numerous shows, with plans to co-present 10 this
year. "We get along well, and we respect each other," Spaulding
said. "I welcome the opportunity to work with someone I know. "
For others in the Boston theater
community, McLean is an unknown quantity.
Michael Maso, managing director of the
Huntington Theatre Company, doesn't know the new Broadway in Boston
president. "[The hiring] probably means that this is a guy who's been
successful in the commercial touring environment, and that's job number
one here for Clear Channel," he said. "That doesn't mean he
can't have a broader sense of his responsibilities and a role in the
community. So I look forward to meeting him and seeing if we can continue
to work together with Clear Channel."
Jeff Poulos, executive director of
StageSource, a group that promotes professional nonprofit theater, said
McLean has "some impressive commercial credentials and with a Boston
tie that works to his advantage." But he also said the new president
has some pretty big shoes to fill.
"Conner opened the door to
nonprofits and encouraged collaboration," he says, "and we in
the theater community will benefit from the groundwork that's been laid.
We hope McLean will pick up the gauntlet."