Show Business


Airdate: January 10, 2018

Tom Gabbard sets the stage for the arts and humanities in Charlotte. He is president and CEO of Blumenthal Performing Arts. The Blumenthal manages six performance stages and hosts over 1000 performances annually. He is a member of the Board of Governors of the Broadway League and a Tony Award voter. He is a recipient of the Samuel J. L'Hommedieu Award for Outstanding Achievement in Presenter Management. Tom serves as president of the Independent Presenters Network, a consortium of 40 leading touring Broadway presenters in North America, Asia and the United Kingdom. He was the founding managing director of Pepperdine University's Center for the Arts, and the executive director of the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities in Colorado and the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts in Wisconsin. Tom holds a B.A. in Music Performance from Pepperdine University and M.B.A. in Arts Management from Golden Gate University.    

This episode is perfect for anyone interested in producing and presenting shows that transform people and place.  


  • Tom outlines three elements of the Blumenthal Performing Arts mission, what the 25th year anniversary is about strategically, and the big ideas that inform it.

  • He explains why he funds the creation of new work and what informs the planning and scheduling of a season.

  • He discusses whether his personal taste drives programming and whether he has a responsibility to respond to the times in which we live.

  • Tom references Kinky Boots, Breakin' Convention, Spring Awakening and Rent, and explains why he did not show the Pulitzer-award winning play August: Osage County.

  • He talks about whether we are in a golden age of Broadway and co-producing Dear Evan Hansen and The Band's Visit.

  • Tom addresses perfectionist tendencies and mustering courage to be bolder.

  • He describes growing up in San Jose, how being a 'child of the sixties' influences him today, and a pivotal moment in 4th grade.

  • Tom reveals whether he would leave Charlotte for New York or London, and the best part of what he does.

plus Mark's Personal Word Essay: Producing What is Best in Ourselves   

To Learn More About Tom


  • What struck you about Tom's comments?

  • What informs your artistic taste?

  • Should theater always be uplifting?

  • What is the best part of what you do?

We invite your posts on our Facebook page.

This episode is sponsored by Blumenthal Performing Arts, celebrating its 25th year presenting the best in performing arts. 

Further support is provided by Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, one of America’s leading urban public libraries, delivering exceptional services and programs, with a mission to improve lives and build a stronger community. 

And support is provided by the Arts and Science Council, Charlotte-Mecklenburg's resource hub and lead advocate for the regional cultural community, providing Culture for All.