C. L. Hoover Opera House Names New Interim Director

By: From 13 News, Posted by Ralph Hipp
By: From 13 News, Posted by Ralph Hipp

Junction City is pleased to announce Randal K. West as Interim Executive Director of the C.L. Hoover Opera House. West brings over 30 years of experience in musical theater production, creative, artistic and executive direction in the fields of advertising and theatrical administration, most recently as Executive/Artistic Director of Way Off Broadway, Iowa’s only professional musical theater company. West will begin his new position at the Opera House sometime in early to mid-February.

“I’m extremely pleased with the selection of Mr. West as he has an established reputation as a dynamic, creative, caring leader who is able to articulate his vision and will inspire and engage his Board, staff, donors and stakeholders – and most importantly, the community”, said Mayor Aska.

“On behalf of the Board of Directors of the C.L. Hoover Opera House, I am delighted to welcome Randal West as the new Interim Executive Director,” said Board Chair Janette Vogelsang. “His wealth of experience and demonstrated leadership in the field of fine and performing arts will help the Opera House move forward in its mission as the Flint Hills’ premier (performing) fine arts and civic center.”

As Interim Executive Director of the C.L. Hoover Opera House, West, along with the City Manager and Board of Directors, will take the lead in defining the mission, goals and objectives for the Opera House. He will direct all fundraising efforts and programming for the Opera House and support the ongoing partnerships between the Opera House and all of Junction City’s arts agencies – the Junction City Little Theater, the Junction City Arts Council and Junction City Community Band – all of which reside at the Opera House.

“The CL Hoover Opera House is a terrific performing arts facility and my wife and I certainly enjoyed Junction City and its people when we visited. The whole family is thrilled about the prospect of coming to Kansas,” said Randal West.

The selection of West to the Interim Executive Director’s position was the culmination of a comprehensive competitive selection process that included 34 candidates from around the country. “It was clear from the outset that Mr. West was clearly a unique candidate within the field of his peers and will expect great things from his leadership at the Opera House” said Gerald Smith, City Manager.

West earned his BA and MA in Musical Theater from the University of Redlands. He was a Professor of Musical Theater at Redlands for three years and spent five years as the Theater Co-Coordinator for the City of Phoenix. During his time in Phoenix he directed and choreographed over 30 major musical productions. A production of the musical Working guest-directed by West became the first community college production to win the American College Theater Festival and went on to be presented at the Kennedy Center.

He was chosen five times as Outstanding Director of Musical Theater for the state of Arizona by the Arizona Press Media. Randal’s five-year tenure culminated in his collaboration with Stephen Sondheim and George Furth on their musical Merrily We Roll Along.

At Mr. Sondheim’s recommendation, West moved to the San Francisco Bay Area where he continued to direct, choreograph and conduct for a variety of theaters in Northern California. He won multiple regional theater awards as Best Director, Best Choreographer, and for Best Musical Production. He has also been awarded thirteen Telly Awards, seven Vision Awards, eight Aegis awards, and two Videographer Awards for his directorial work in television.

In 2000, Mr. West became the Vice President and Creative Director of Hawthorne Direct, Inc., a full-service, brand response advertising agency, specializing in strategic planning, creative development, production, media planning and campaign management for integrated marketing campaigns.

Although he enjoyed great success in the advertising business, Randal’s first love remained musical theater. On March 19th 2007, he became the first Executive and Artistic Director for the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center, home of the Stephen Sondheim Center for the Performing Arts. Mr. West was responsible both artistically and administratively for the 524-seat theater. [The naming of the Sondheim Center was the first time Stephen Sondheim – the recipient of more Tony’s, and Oscars than any other living Composer/Lyrist and Pulitzer Prize - honored songwriter of West Side Story, Gypsy, and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, among others – agreed to give his name to a theater.

He approved due to his long-standing professional relationship with Mr. West and his strong belief in Mr. West’s artistic vision to train the next generation of musical theater talent and the theater’s strong contribution to the cultural landscape of the Midwest. Since then, Mr. Sondheim has given his name to only two other theaters, one in London and the other in New York City.] The Sondheim Center in Fairfield, Iowa is now home to a new vision for professional musical theater in the Midwest.


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