KC’s top art institutions are seeing new faces in the executive suites

Photography provided.

From the ballet to the jazz museum, KC’s art institutions have placed new top talent in their executive suites.

Let’s start with Kansas City Symphony’s new music director, Matthias Pintscher, and Kansas City Ballet’s new executive director, David Gray, both appointed in early summer of 2023. Then there’s the new American Jazz Museum executive director, Dina Bennett, appointed in August, and Kansas City Fashion Week’s new CEO, Teisha Barber, announced this past summer. All are very accomplished in their respective careers.

The latest shake-up is at the Coterie Theatre, a nonprofit children and young adults theater that, along with programming, provides writing and drama classes. Its new producing and artistic director, Khalia Davis, a San Francisco Bay Area native, will oversee the strategic artistic vision for the organization. “I’m deciding what shows to program in our season based on our mission and values, [introducing] new generations to diverse stories and characters,” Davis says.

The Coterie, founded in 1979 and located at Crown Center, is known for premiering dozens of plays for children and young adults. Even during the pandemic, they went about showcasing local talent and producing new and timely plays online—most notably, A Kids Play About Racism in August of 2020. 

Davis is no stranger to youth theater. She is the former artistic director of Bay Area Children’s Theatre, where she launched many original programs, including the world premiere of The Imaginaries: An Immersive Musical, a work that looks at what happens when a child discovers a way to cross over into an imaginary world and also where the audience participates, becoming part of the performance. Along with Coterie director Jonathan Thomas, Davis plans to establish funding for new and innovative programming that will support the next generation of KC art makers.

This month’s Coterie play is Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed: The Rock Experience. The play is based on a Mo Willems’ children’s book of the same name, where Wilbur, a rat not used to wearing clothing, learns to embrace his originality and love of rock ‘n’ roll through various costumes.   

GO: Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed: The Rock Experience runs from April 5–May 19 at the Coterie Theatre, Crown Center, 2450 Grand Blvd., Suite 144, KCMO. thecoterie.org.

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