2012–2013 Performing Arts Preview

Behind-the-scenes interviews and full schedules introduce the robust new arts season

Aug 16, 2012

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A New Beginning at Overture Center

Meet president and CEO Ted Dedee

There is a new leader at Overture Center, and despite the facility's tumultuous last few years, Ted Dedee is ready to take on existing budget challenges while maintaining the reputation of Madison’s largest arts center.

While Dedee is a newcomer to Madison, he is no stranger to managing performing arts facilities similar to Overture. He’s been doing it for more than thirty-five years at venues in New York, Texas and Tennessee. But Overture, he says, presents a “unique challenge” that intrigued him and influenced his decision to make the move north.

“It seemed to me that while I was looking into this opportunity that a lot of things were positively taking place behind the scenes,” he says. “Specifically with the creation of a new nonprofit organization ... that interested me a lot, given the challenges required to make that transition possible.”

The shift at Overture from city management to the creation of a new managing nonprofit organization, the Overture Center Foundation, brought many uncertainties earlier this year. According to Dedee, he will be able to apply previous experience to make the new entity function, and he is excited to make it happen.

His positive outlook is guided in part by a genuine love for the arts, which he said have captivated him since he encountered a performance in third grade by the Bill Baird marionettes, a troupe many will recognize from an appearance in The Sound of Music. Local children can find inspiration at events such as the free Kids in the Rotunda series. Early inspiration "is what it’s all about,” says Dedee. “You’re building memories.”

This seaon, Overture's resident companies and traveling acts from Broadway and elsewhere bring diverse audiences to the center' four stages. Certain performances thrive in an intimate setting—they play in the 350-seat Playhouse. Meanwhile, larger, often touring acts, occupy Overture Hall with a seating capacity surpassing 2,200.

The season is also carefully planned to offer performances to theater-lovers and first-timers alike.

“We look for opportunities that people in Madison have never seen before, and to see if there is something that can pique interest and give a new experience to people they’ve never had before," Dedee says. "Part of the whole deal with the arts is trying something new."

Dedee values bringing in touring artists to fill in the gaps that local companies don’t offer, such as Broadway hits like Wicked and Jersey Boys.

“The whole idea is to let people discover something new that they’ve never experienced before, to captivate them. To entertain them, yes, but to engage them in such a way that they want to do something again.”

It all goes back to Dedee’s philosophy of building memories. While Dedee has plenty of his own, he is eager to forge even more this season—he has already purchased tickets to the majority of the shows this season.

“It’s one of the greatest jobs in the world to be able to make things come together behind the scenes ... Sometimes I will be listening to the show, but I will have my head turned and watch faces in the audience because I want to see if they’ve got their mouth open, or how they’re reacting to things going on stage. It’s very rewarding, and it’s just so much fun.”

Overture Center's 2012–2013 schedule

​The Capitol Steps October 5

Disney in Concert: Magical Music from the Movies October 6

Ballet Folklorico de Mexico October 9

An Evening with Bill Cosby October 19

LEO October 20

Live at Birdland featuring the Birdland Big Band October 23

Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet: Moulin Rouge – The Ballet October 30

Jersey Boys November 7–25

Away in the Basement: A Church Basement Ladies Christmas November 17–18

3-Legged Tale November 25

Songs of the Season: A Holiday Celebration with 3Girls3 November 29

Rock of Ages December 4–9

A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor January 26

Diavolo Dance Theater February 1

The Little Prince February 3

West Side Story February 12–17

Guess How Much I Love You and I Love My Little Storybook February 16

Golden Dragon Acrobats: Cirque Ziva February 24

Branford Marsalis Quartet February 28

Juan Siddi Flamenco Theatre Company March 1

Live & Let Die: A Symphonic Tribute to the Music of Paul McCartney March 2

Mary Poppins March 12–17

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and LINES Ballet Unite March 20

The Intergalactic Nemesis Book 2 March 23

Max Raabe and Palast Orchester April 8

Kindur: The Adventurous Life of Icelandic Sheep April 14

PSY (Les 7 Doigts de la Main) April 20–21

The Belle of Broadway with Susan Egan May 2

Four Bitchin’ Babes: Mid-Life Vices May 11

Wicked May 22–June 9

Mormon Tabernacle Choir June 18


Photos courtesy of Overture Center.


Read on for interviews and season schedules for Madison-area theater, dance and music organizations.



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