Harold Matzner Retires as Chairman of McCallum Theatre

After 17 years of service, Harold Matzner has announced his retirement as Chairman of the McCallum Theater. Harold will continue to work with the theater as needed and looks forward to attending as a spectator. He will remain as an active member of the McCallum Board of Trustees and Executive Committee.

During his tenure, the non-profit theater operated at a surplus every year, increasing its reserves from $8 million to over $40 million. “We’re going to have another nice surplus this year and will probably be adding over $2 million and spending $1 million on capital improvements,” Matzner said in The Desert Sun. The McCallum has been able to spend $7 million in improvements in the last 8 years, all coming from the surplus the theatre has been able to generate. “I’m proud of the overall success of the theater. Mitch and I did that together. He’s been an outstanding partner in this, and I think both of us had a lot of fun doing it once we got the theater into the black.”

Harold told The Desert Sun that “it’s time for a younger person with more vitality and strength to step into the role,” appointing Garry Kief as his replacement. Kief is an entertainment executive and the husband and business manager of singer/songwriter Barry Manilow. “Garry certainly fits that bill. I picked Garry because he knows the business, he is very smart and experienced and he has a wonderful imagination, all of which is important in operating the McCallum. He’ll be a good partner with (McCallum Theatre President and Artistic Director) Mitch Gershenfeld and they’ll do well together.”

Kief returned the kind words to Harold, saying:

“Harold has pretty big shoes. I’m not going to pretend to fill them, but maybe half the size. I get a kick out of it because we’re like oil and water. Sometimes we agree, sometimes we disagree, we argue and take different positions, but we’ve stayed friends. He’s been a great mentor to me on how to get things done, make your own personal commitment to improve things and he does a lot of things people don’t know about to help the valley.

“Harold did a magnificent job of getting the theater on firm financial footing. I’ve been to hundreds of theaters around the world and the McCallum is a jewel box. It stands out with tremendous community support, whereas a lot of other theaters in the country have closed up or shortened their seasons. We have the potential to do a lot more and I think Mitch (Gershenfeld) has a great team of people. I think we’re going to be able to evolve into doing more things rather than fewer things.”

Harold sends his gratitude and best wishes to Garry, Mitch, and the entire McCallum team. He’ll see you all at the theater!

Photo by Richard Liu for the Desert Sun