The sold-out “Ring of Fire” musical production and growing buzz of “Shrek the Musical” are only two feats Rochester Civic Theatre Executive Director, Kevin Miller, has secured in his five months on the job. Actionable items for Miller’s “big vision” have clearly already taken place; and, it’s just the beginning.
A New Season
With the 2018-2019 production season right around the corner (Sept. 7), Miller’s list of priorities for the theatre’s future has surfaced. “It’s critical to re-establish arts in Rochester - economically and culturally,” explains Miller. Goals for improving attendance and the financial state of the theatre were made, and - so far - have been met.
The list of well-known productions The Civic’s Board of Directors was able to schedule has blended smoothly with Miller’s vision. “They’re titles people will be familiar with, including productions for the whole family,” adds Miller. Titles such as “Shrek” and “Annie” are hoped to pique a wider audience’s interest.
The Advancement of Rochester Arts
Another major part of advancing arts in Rochester, is the establishment of The Civic as a viable option for entertainment and education. This warrants events outside of plays and musicals, including band performances and philanthropic opportunities. Events such as Celebrating Abilities 2018 (Sept. 13) and Women on Wednesdays (Sept. 19) are meant to “build a sense of togetherness and promote an institutional culture of philanthropy,” explains Miller.
Celebrating Abilities 2018 will be a moving display of masks created by individuals affected by brain injuries, communicating each unique perspective and altered outlook. The Minnesota Brain Injury Alliance began the Unmasking Brain Injury display in 2016 to empower and give a voice to those affected by brain injuries. The Civic is eager to host this special event.
Women on Wednesdays is an excellent chance to explore social issues impacting our community, promote inclusiveness, and showcase the richness of our culture. The upcoming Women on Wednesdays event will focus on the dynamics between the Baby Boomer and Millennial generations.
Miller realizes The Civic is a piece of the greater Rochester community, and is enthusiastic about future collaborations. His past experiences with theatre have prepared him to be the head of The Civic, as well as a community influencer. “Rochester is absolutely a unique community. It’s inspiring to be in such a diverse and innovative society,” says Miller. New events, partnerships, and special offers will be undoubtedly occurring in the future.
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Miller graduated from the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee after finishing the three-year acting program, complete with gigs in Milwaukee, Cleveland, Chicago, and New York. After receiving his Actor’s Equity card in 1995, Miller focused on arts administration, filling roles as Executive Director at Thelma Sadoff Center for the Arts and Chairman of the Wisconsin Arts Board.
His training and extensive experience has equipped Miller with the tools needed to help Rochester arts grow alongside major developments, namely, Destination Medical Center (DMC). “DMC is helping support the quality of life for visitors, as well as Rochester’s residents. We, as an organization, have the same goal. I feel I can say the same for the rest of the community,” he adds. Rochester visitors and residents can expect a flourishing and diversification of arts and culture parallel to the development of DMC, thanks in part to organizations like The Civic.
Since Miller has been in the Executive Director position, The Civic has seen improved attendance and has been able to turn its financial state around. Partners and sponsors have also made it possible to retain special programs like STAR, a performing arts youth educational program. It looks as though the rest of Rochester is just as ready to move arts forward as The Civic is.
Miller discloses, “We’d never be this far without the expertise of our staff and the incredible support of our community.”