Broadway producer Andrew Kato, who celebrates 10 years with the Maltz Jupiter Theatre this year, has brought energy and passion back to his hometown performing arts center.
Theater runs through Andrew Kato’s veins. The producer wrote his first musical, “Switch!,” when he was in his early 20s. He lives by the motto that “anything can happen with hard work, perseverance and good ideas.”
Today, Kato, who grew up in Jupiter, fulfills this philosophy through his creativity and business acumen as the producing artistic director at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre. He’s celebrating 10 years with the theater, and boasts a resume that includes Broadway shows laced with A-listers like Audra McDonald and Savion Glover, plus 12 years of experience as the creative consultant and coordinating producer on the Tony Awards.
Yet for Kato, home is definitely where his heart is.
“It’s the best decision I ever made,” he says of accepting the position with Maltz. “No two days are ever the same.”
Kato, who recently signed a new contract for 10 more years with the burgeoning theater, takes tremendous pride regarding its prestigious status. “Every year it gets better and better,” he says.
Despite the fact that running a theater wasn’t in his game plan, Kato says he’s never looked back. Thanks to the support of Milton and Tamar Maltz and the theater’s board of directors, Kato has balanced budgets and met every goal, including endowments for scholarships to the Sandra Goldner Conservatory of Performing Arts.
“The Maltz is a world-class facility that is competitive with other theaters. We’re bringing in acting troupes from New York and Chicago, in addition to local performers,” he says. “There’s always something new.”
Broadway-caliber professionals at the theater’s conservatory teach after-school and weekend programs to more than 600 young actors, dancers and singers annually. In addition to delivering top-notch productions for the 2015-2016 season that include “The Will Rogers Follies” and “An Evening with Christine Ebersole,” the theater recently underwent a renovation revamping the lobby and the club level lounge that has increased the theater’s capacity.
Passionate about his livelihood, Kato is always in the thick of something big. If he isn’t in New York conducting auditions for “Billy Elliot the Musical,” he’s prepping a green screen for a video or meeting with set designers.
“I’m usually in 10 or more meetings a day and always switching gears,” he says, having just come from a brainstorming session for his producing and directing role for “A Musical Tribute to Seuss” with performances scheduled for January at The Gardens Mall.
Despite the accolades during his tenure for producing more than 60 shows, increasing subscriptions to nearly 8,000 patrons and bringing in more than 100,000 audience members annually, Kato isn’t about to take all the credit. “I’ve assembled a team that is the strength of the organization,” he says.
Looking forward, the future holds even more promise for the Maltz. Kato’s vision is at the forefront of what’s to come, as the theater presents classic productions, new revivals and more. “We create shows specifically for our audiences,” Kato says. “Our audiences have learned that they aren’t going to see the same production from Broadway or on tour.”
Ten years and counting, Kato’s energized and smart approach has truly turned it all around. This once struggling regional theater is now a star.