Madison, Wis. – Ted DeDee, President and CEO of the Overture Center of the Arts, announced he will retire in May, 2018, following six years of unparalleled growth of arts education and entertainment activity at Madison’s premier performing arts center.

Betty Harris Custer, Chair of the Overture Center Foundation (OCF) announced DeDee’s retirement at the October meeting of the OCF Board.

In a joint statement, Custer and immediate past chair Charlie Saeman praised DeDee’s impact on Overture Center and the overall local performing arts community.

“Ted DeDee became the CEO of Overture Center for the Arts early in its 2012 rebirth as a private foundation with public support,” the statement reads. “Ted has played an instrumental role in recruiting and maintaining the talented and gifted staff we now have, led by a team of Vice Presidents who have all been appointed during his tenure.”

“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. 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 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 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.” (See attached page)

DeDee started as Overture’s President and CEO on April 2, 2012. He moved to Madison with experience managing performing arts venues in Dallas, Nashville, Columbus, Ohio and New York State. He earned a degree in music education from the State University of New York (SUNY), College at Fredonia. During his career, he has managed the Eastman Theatre in Rochester, New York; opened and managed the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas; served as executive vice president and general manager of the Tennessee Performing Arts Center in Nashville; helped design, construct and open the Schermerhorn Symphony Center in Nashville; and opened and managed the McCoy Community Center for the Arts in the Columbus suburb of New Albany, Ohio.

Locally, Ted was appointed to both the Downtown Madison, Inc. (DMI) board and the Advisory Board of the Bolz Center for Arts Administration in the Wisconsin School of Business at UW. In 2014, Ted was recognized as Madison’sInBusiness Magazine Executive of the Year for mid-sized companies. He also serves nationally on the Governance Committee for the International Society for the Performing Arts (ISPA), the inaugural National Advisory Board of the College of Visual and Performing Arts at SUNY Fredonia, and the Board of the Tessitura Network, a unique, member-owned global nonprofit supporting a diverse range of arts, cultural and entertainment genres through a unique Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system and a highly collaborative network of nearly 600 organizations.

Professional colleague, Robert A. Freedman, retired CEO of Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater, FL and briefly served as Interim Overture CEO upon the passing of Dedee’s late wife, called DeDee a consummate professional and an industry leader.

“Ted has accomplished so much at the Overture Center and he was exactly the correct person for Madison,” Freedman said. “He has been a valuable leader and everyone turns to him as the guru of innovation, being at the forefront of the technological and social media revolution. He will be missed in Madison.”

DeDee is one of only about two dozen performing arts venue managers in North America to hold the title of Certified Facility Executive (CFE) from the International Association of Venue Managers.

Through May 2018, DeDee will collaborate with the board and staff during the search for his replacement to ensure a smooth transition.


OVERTURE CENTER FOR THE ARTS in Madison, Wisconsin, features seven state-of-the-art performance spaces and five galleries where national and international touring artists, ten resident companies and hundreds of local artists engage people in nearly 700,000 educational and artistic experiences each year.