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Queens Theatre in the Park chooses new exec director

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After 21 years under the guidance of founding Executive Director Jeffrey Rosenstock, Queens Theatre in the Park has a new man at its helm.

Ray Cullom, the institution’s choice for its new leader, brings 20 years of experience in arts administration, programming and production to the job, where he will oversee the venue, leading its artistic direction, finances and education programs as it moves into its third decade serving the borough.

Cullom started his tenure at the theater, located in a historic building in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, March 14 and he said he hopes to enhance and expand on the services the theater provides its audiences.

“This theater has a great history and has done wonderful things, and I hope to build upon that and elaborate on it,” he said Tuesday. “What I would really love to do is fully use this venue. With its location and the great diversity and number of people that live within a short distance of the theater, this is a theater that should be more active several days a week. I hope to build the audience to include more of Queens and its surrounding communities.”

Frances Resheske, president of the theater’s board of directors, said in a statement that Cullom’s experience will complement and enhance the theater’s goals.

“He has done a remarkable job by setting both artistic and management vision at several institutio­ns,” Resheske said. “Our patrons and donors stand to benefit from Ray’s leadership.”

He said one of his key hopes is that he can lead the theater into a period where it draws new audiences who might not usually attend arts performances.

Cullom said Queens Theatre in the Park had great appeal to him because of its magnificent resources and its unique approach to both producing performances in-house and presenting outside works. Those assets were two of the key reasons he was drawn to Queens from his previous post as managing director of the Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, Conn. Before that, Cullom served as executive director of the Bethesda Theatre in Bethesda, Md.

Rosenstock said he is proud of the work he did at QTIP.

“During my tenure, I led the transformation of an abandoned World’s Fair building into a premier performing arts center,” he said in a statement. “I am proud of our diverse programming and to have laid the foundation for future artistic development.”

Rosenstock’s final season of programming at the theater will wrap in the coming weeks, and the fall QTIP season will be the first led by Cullom, who said the calendar should be released by mid-May.

The theater recently completed a $27 million renovation and expansion that included the addition of a cabaret performance space and other amenities.

For more information or to see a schedule of performances, visit queenstheatre.org.

Reach reporter Connor Adams Sheets by e-mail at csheets@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4538.

Updated 10:56 am, October 12, 2011
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