Goodman announces plan to step down as managing director of First Stage

Rob Goodman, managing director of First Stage Children’s theater has announced his plants to transition out of his current role during the 2011-2012 season. Goodman, founding artistic director of First Stage and a long-time arts and theatre education advocate, was selected by the Milwaukee Performing Arts Center to develop First Stage in 1987. 
“Rob’s strong vision of using theater arts to develop character and leadership skills in children built First Stage into an institution that is now a Cornerstone member of the United Performing Arts Fund (UPAF) and is essential to the quality of life for our community’s children and families,” said Carol Gehl, partner at Godfrey & Kahn S.C and First Stage board president.
Under Goodman’s leadership First Stage has grown to become one of the largest theater companies for young people and families in the nation, the second-largest theater company in Milwaukee and the only theater arts education program of its kind in the nation.   
 “Board, staff and key investors and partners of the community developed an intensive Strategic Succession Plan in 2010, examining the core mission, values and culture that make First Stage unique,” Gehl said. “This plan prepares a framework for First Stage’s growth over the next five to ten years and a process for the transition.”
According to Gehl, the board formed a search committee which has begun the search for a new managing director.
“It is clear that finding the right person for the organization will be crucial,” said Bob Arzbaecher, chief executive officer of Actuant Corporation and chair of the search committee. “The ability to partner with long time First Stage artistic director Jeff Frank to build on the vision of using theater for positive transformational change in our children, schools and families as well as the culture of inclusivity at First Stage is an exciting opportunity that we are looking forward to.”
Goodman will remain with First Stage in an emeritus role working on an arts education capitalization campaign to provide all children in our community the opportunity to access First Stage’s theater shows, its Theater Academy or participate in educational programs that use theater to improve academic performance and build character. 
“First Stage is a positive solution for young people that engage in our programs,” Goodman said.  “By broadening our reach and providing access to more young people over the next 25 years, we can have a direct impact on the myriad of challenges facing young people and families in our community.  All it takes is access.” 

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