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Kansas City’s Musical Theater Heritage executive director steps down after 20 years at the helm

Tim Scott
Musical Theater Heritage is known for presenting heritage musicals, as well as less well-known productions. The current show is Stephen Sondheim's "Company."

MTH's board of directors announced Tuesday that Chad Gerlt, executive director of development and special projects, is leaving the organization “to pursue other passions."

Musical Theater Heritage's board of directors announced late Tuesday night that “after nearly 20 years, our dear friend, Chad Gerlt, who has served in a multitude of capacities, has chosen to move on from MTH to pursue other passions.”

Radio host George Harter founded the organization in 1997 to help launch his show, "A Night on the Town," into national syndication.

Chad Gerlt.jpg
MTH board of directors announced Tuesday that executive director Chad Gerlt was stepping down from his role with the organization.

Chad Gerlt co-produced and starred in MTH’s first live production, Leonard Bernstein's "On the Town," in 2003. The venue was a loading dock at the Belger Arts Center in the Crossroads Arts District.

The organization evolved from that first bare-bones concert musical, with singers standing in front of microphones, to staged productions of musicals, cabarets and revues.

Gerlt went from marketing and design roles to serve as chief operating officer, executive director and, most recently, executive director of development and special projects.

Since 2008, MTH has performed on the third floor of Crown Center. In 2015, the nonprofit took over management of the former Off Center Theatre space and expanded into two movie theaters for rehearsal and classroom space while also expanding its mission and offerings.

"So, it is with a heavy heart that we say, 'Thanks for all you’ve done for MTH, Chad,'" the board of directors wrote in its news release, "and we wish you the very best in your future endeavor!"

Gerlt's last day on the job will be December 31.

In an email, Gerlt wrote that he planned to start a "new chapter" as a real estate agent joining friends in the real estate team of The Hendrix Group of Keller Williams.

"I will absolutely miss MTH," Gerlt wrote. "It has been my greatest joy and privilege."

He added, "I plan to stay involved with MTH as a fan and patron in the years to come — she’s my baby!"

Updated: November 17, 2021 at 1:18 PM CST
This story has been updated to include comments from Chad Gerlt.
Kansas City is known for its style of jazz, influenced by the blues, as the home of Walt Disney’s first animation studio and the headquarters of Hallmark Cards. As one of KCUR’s arts reporters, I want people here to know a wide range of arts and culture stories from across the metropolitan area. I take listeners behind the scenes and introduce them to emerging artists and organizations, as well as keep up with established institutions. Send me an email at lauras@kcur.org or follow me on Twitter @lauraspencer.
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