Carnegie's Theatre Director Resigns, Search for Replacement Underway

As Managing Director of Theatre at The Carnegie for the last seven years, Joshua Steele turned the Covington arts center’s theater series into one of the most respected in the Cincinnati region, garnering attention and awards, including last summer’s hit Chicago, named the 2013-2014 season’s outstanding musical by the League of Cincinnati Theatres.
 
Steele resigned over the weekend, effective immediately. Neither Steele nor Carnegie Executive Director Katie Brass is commenting. Carnegie's season opener, an artistically impressive revival of Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd, completed its run Aug. 23. Brass said the show did not factor “at all” in Steele’s decision.
 
Part of Steele’s artistic success was partnering with some of the best companies across the region, including University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Kentucky Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Ballet, and Northern Kentucky University, with NKU’s Ken Jones directing Sweeney Todd.
 
He actively recruited the region’s best talent, including Cincinnati’s top actress Dale Hodges, who will take the title role in Driving Miss Daisy in November, as well as area alumni. He also created an annual series featuring revivals of Golden Age musicals which have been an audience favorite. West Side Story is scheduled for January 2015. 
 
Steele posted on his personal Facebook page Monday, “It is with great sadness that I share today news of my resignation from The Carnegie, effective immediately. This may come as a shock to many of you. Although the timing of this decision has been regrettably sudden, it's a move I've been considering for a long time.My time at The Carnegie has seen both substantial challenge and deeply fulfilling moments.”
 
He gives kudos to his theater staff and the theater artists “who took a chance on an up-and-coming operation for far less pay than they deserve.”
 
Brass said Steele, “did a great job, he left a lot of good things in place and now it’s just a matter of executing.”
 
Brass promises the theater series will be produced as announced. Some arts organizations have offered “staff-sharing,” Brass said, until an interim director of theater is named, something she hopes will happen within two weeks. A search begins immediately.
 
-Written by Jackie Demaline, RCN Arts Contributor
 
Photo: The Carnegie