Overture Center severs ties with Tom Wopat

Overture Center for the Arts announced today that the Tommy Awards program will sever all ties with namesake Tom Wopat.

Wopat, a Lodi native and star of the '80s TV show "Dukes of Hazzard" is facing charges after being accused of groping a female cast member of a musical he was supposed to appear in, in the Boston area.

The Overture Center, through its Tommy Awards, has had an affiliation with Wopat for nearly a decade.

The awards program has encouraged, recognized and honored excellence in high school musical theater.

Throughout this time, the program has grown into one that is recognized nationally and several Tommy Awards recipients have grown into career musical theater professionals. The program has always kept the best interest of involved students and schools in mind to maintain a positive, inspirational experience.

As part of the planning for the ten-year anniversary in 2019, there have been internal discussions for a timely change of the program name in a process that includes program partners, school communities, program alumni, Overture staff and stakeholders.

At the inception of this program in 2009, the Overture Center staff reached out to Wisconsin actor Tom Wopat to use his name and endorsement of the program with the intent to inspire Wisconsin young people that a career in the performing arts was possible. Wopat agreed to let Overture use his name to lend credibility to the new program. Since that time, he has neither participated or supported the program financially.

Given the recent news surrounding Mr. Wopat, Overture Center for the Arts has severed all ties with him and will be moving forward with discussions for the high school musical awards program’s name.

“Overture firmly believes the arts provide a safe haven for all to participate and enjoy inspirational experiences without fear or compromise of respect for others,” said Ted DeDee, Overture’s president and CEO. “We will especially continue to focus on providing a positive environment and influence for participating students and schools.”

When allegations against Mr. Wopat were first announced, Overture communicated with program partners and removed his signature from the program and partner website, all electronic and future print materials.

A statement was issued to all directors, reviewers, and representatives at program partner organizations including Wisconsin Public Television, Marcus Center for the Performing Arts in Milwaukee and The Grand Theater in Wausau to let them know that Overture was discussing internally awaiting the trial and verdict, while keeping students as the top priority and focusing on the integrity of the program.

For more go to WKOW: http://www.wkow.com/story/36661681/2017/10/23/overture-center-severs-ties-with-tom-wopat-following-actors-criminal-charges 

Sponsored Content

Sponsored Content