Ted DeDee

Ted DeDee, president and CEO of the Overture Center Foundation, will retire next spring, the Overture Center for the Arts announced Friday. 

Courtesy Overture

Overture Center president and CEO Ted DeDee, credited with putting the arts center on solid financial footing, will step down in May.

DeDee replaced President Tom Carto in 2012 as the Overture Center Foundation took over from the Madison Cultural Arts District amid fundraising problems and a rift with Madison Mayor Paul Soglin.

In a joint statement, Overture Center Foundation chair Betty Harris Custer and immediate past chair Charlie Saeman credited DeDee with righting the ship.

“With his extensive experience and warm approach, he has been just the right person to take Overture from the beginning stages of private foundation to its present place as the leading performing arts organization in the state and admired throughout the region and country,” the statement says. “His retirement comes at the end of a very vital strategic planning process that will help establish an exciting path forward for his successor.”

DeDee was chosen after a national search. When he was hired he was director of the relatively small McCoy Community Center for the Arts in New Albany, Ohio, but also directed and helped open larger venues in Dallas, Nashville and Rochester, New York.

During his tenure, Broadway performances expanded from five weeks to a peak of 11 weeks, with attendance nearly doubling. He also oversaw a 44-percent increase in private donations, from $2.3 million to $3.3 million.

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He called his time at Overture “the perfect capstone to a 43-year career.”

“With the support of the community and the board, the Overture Center for the Arts is on its way to becoming a powerhouse in the industry,” he said in a statement. “In addition to the growth in the performing and visual arts, Overture has become a significant economic engine for Madison and the State of Wisconsin. I could not be more proud of what we’ve accomplished in such a short time.”

DeDee was the third director of the $205 million arts center, which opened in 2004. It's first director, Bob D'Angelo, abruptly resigned in 2005 amid charges of sexual harassment.

DeDee plans to work with the Overture board and staff during the search for his replacement.

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Steven Elbow joined The Capital Times in 1999 and has covered law enforcement in addition to city, county and state government. He has also worked for the Portage Daily Register and has written for the Isthmus weekly newspaper in Madison.