Richard Baker, president of Fox Associates in St. Louis, next month will become the the new president and chief executive officer of Starlight Theatre.
Baker is expected to begin work at Starlight on March 17. He will oversee all aspects of the Starlight operation, including the summer Broadway series, summer concerts, educational programs and development. The top executive position at Starlight has been vacant since Denton Yockey left in September after the completion of his four-year contract.
Fox Associates is a for-profit holding company that operates the historic Fox Theatre in St. Louis as well as Metrotix (described as an online ticket broker) and Fox Theatricals, which produces shows regionally and on Broadway. Fox Theatricals has produced or co-produced 14 Broadway shows which have collected multiple Tony Awards.
Baker, 57, is a Tony voter and is the outgoing vice president of the Independent Presenters Network, a coalition of national and international theater concerns that pool resources to invest in Broadway shows and touring productions. Starlight is a member. He is also on the board of governors of Broadway League, a national trade association.
Baker is a native of St. Louis but he and his wife Peggy have family in the Kansas City area. Baker said they were excited about the move.
Starlight Theatre is a not-for-profit company and Baker said he hopes to use his experience as a commercial producer to Starlight’s benefit.
“I’m a for-profit guy,” Baker said. “I think too many theaters don’t run as a business. Just because you’re not-for-profit doesn’t mean you can’t run it like a business. And frankly I think you have to in this day and age.”
One of the first things on his to-do list will be to book the 2015 season. Baker said he was impressed by Starlight’s technical facilities as well as the enthusiasm of the staff and the board’s open-mindedness when it comes to Starlight’s future.
“They have a really good core staff and they’re really excited,” he said. “And the board is all top-notch folks. Their engines are revved and ready to go and hopefully I can provide that catalyst.”