By: Nancy Bizjack | Category: In Our Communities | Issue: June 2017
Photo by Michelle Pollard Tulsa Performing Arts Center Director, John E. Scott.
After 28 years of running the Tulsa Performing Arts Center, Director John E. Scott has announced he will retire at the end of June.
The longest-serving director in the city-owned facility’s history, Scott has been associated with the building in some fashion from the very start. As principal oboist with the Tulsa Philharmonic, he performed onstage at the PAC’s grand opening concert in 1977. Scott continued to work for the orchestra until 1987, when he joined the PAC staff as assistant director before being promoted to director two years later.
“I can’t say enough about what John Scott means to the City and to the Performing Arts Center,” says Mayor G.T. Bynum, whose grandfather Robert J. LaFortune was mayor when the PAC was built. “From its early days until its 40th anniversary as a Tulsa institution, the Performing Arts Center has benefited from John’s wise and steady leadership. In the process, he has enhanced the quality of life in our city and — through the PAC — he has impacted the lives of thousands for the better.”
As PAC director, Scott has worked under six different mayors, supervised up to 33 employees, and overseen rental agreements with the many groups that present performances at the PAC, including Celebrity Attractions, Tulsa Ballet, Tulsa Symphony, Tulsa Opera, Chamber Music Tulsa, Choregus Productions and Tulsa Town Hall, as well as various touring shows and local theatre companies such as Theatre North, Theatre Tulsa and American Theatre Company.
One of Scott’s most delicate tasks was persuading Tulsa Ballet, Tulsa Opera and Tulsa Philharmonic to reschedule their previously contracted dates to make room in Chapman Music Hall for a five-week, 40-performance (sold-out) run of The Phantom of the Opera in 1996, a milestone event in the building’s history.
Scott shepherded two major improvement projects while director: a $250,000 Americans With Disabilities Act enhancement in 1992 and an expansion of the PAC in 2000, which added the Kathleen P. Westby Pavilion, the Robert J. LaFortune Studio, and additional restrooms to the west side of the building.
For the past 10 years, even as the BOK Center and performance venues at local casinos have been established, the Tulsa Performing Arts Center has consistently booked more than 500 performances per year, generating annual economic impact dollars in the tens of millions for Tulsa.
The City of Tulsa is conducting a national search for Scott’s successor.
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