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Ordway Center for Performing Arts Names Rod Kaats Artistic Director

The director, producer, and manager will bring his experiences from Broadway and national tours to Minnesota.

ST. PAUL, MINN.: The Ordway Center for Performing Arts has named Rod Kaats as its new artistic director. Kaats succeeds James A. Rocco, who stepped down last year.

Rod Kaats.

“This is an exciting time for the Ordway as we welcome Rod to build on our renewed commitment to producing Ordway original programming in addition to our work as a first-class presenting institution,” said Jamie Grant, president and CEO, in a statement. “We look forward to Rod bringing his vast experience on Broadway and from around the world to develop new work that will advance diversity and inclusion with the stories we tell on our stages and the artists who tell them.”

Kaats previously served as the vice president of programming for the Pace Theatrical Group. He was also a founder of the Booking Office, a theatrical booking agency for tours. He is part of the producing team for Girl From the North Country, which is currently on London’s West End. His other producing credits include Broadway’s American Psycho, and What You Will at American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco. He was on the management team for productions including Broadway’s Hay Fever and A Long Day’s Journey Into Night, and also for the national touring productions of Lost in Yonkers and Three Tall Women, among others. As artistic director of the Helen Hayes Theatre Company, Kaats produced 27 shows and 6 world premieres. He also served as the program director for the Harold Prince Musical Theatre Program. He wrote and directed the musical Cartas a Papá Noel, and received the Richard Rodgers Award for The Ballas of Little Jo, which he co-wrote the book for. He has directed at George Street Playhouse, Goodspeed Opera House, and the Cleveland Playhouse. He assistant directed on the Broadway productions of Pump Boys and Dinettes, Private Lives, and Joe Egg.

“I’m thrilled to be joining the Ordway team,” said Kaats in a statement. “Throughout my career, I have marveled at the richness, diversity, and vitality of theatre in the Twin Cities. The Ordway has led the way—balancing exciting performing arts programming with meaningful education and other outreach initiatives that make the organization an essential element of the community and theater in the U.S.”

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