Professor and alumnus Brian Kite, who currently serves as the special academic senior associate dean at the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television and chair of the theater department, has agreed to serve as interim dean of the school.
Kite will begin his term on Jan. 1, 2020, after Dean Teri Schwartz steps down on Dec. 31.
“Chancellor Block and I appreciate Brian’s willingness to serve as interim dean, and we have every confidence in his ability to provide strong leadership and continuity for the school,” said UCLA Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Emily Carter in an email.
Before joining the faculty of UCLA in 2015 as a professor and chair of the theater department, Kite was the producing artistic director of La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts and directed many of its critically acclaimed productions, including “Billy Elliot,” “Miss Saigon,” “Little Shop of Horrors,” “Dinner with Friends,” “Driving Miss Daisy” and “Proof.” Under his innovative leadership, La Mirada Theatre saw tremendous growth in both revenue and prestige.
Kite is also the recipient of the Ovation Award for Best Direction of a Musical for his production of “Spring Awakening” and was also nominated for his productions of “Les Misérables” and “American Idiot.”
He directed the national tours of “Steel Magnolias,” “Judgment at Nuremberg,” “In the Heat of the Night,” “The Graduate” and “Pride and Prejudice” for L.A. Theatre Works, and staged the first production of “Miss Saigon” to ever play in China. He also directed “Top Secret: The Battle for the Pentagon Papers,” which toured throughout China and was the first U.S. presentation of a play to perform at Beijing’s National Centre for the Performing Arts.
Kite led a production of “Cabaret” in Bermuda under the patronage of the Queen’s Governor and last spring staged the South China premiere of David Lindsay-Abaire’s “Rabbit Hole” in Mandarin at the Guangzhou Dramatic Arts Centre.
During his tenure as chair, the theater department launched the Hearst Playwright-in-Residence initiative, bringing Pulitzer Prize-winning playwrights Paula Vogel and Nilo Cruz to campus; reorganized much of its approach to undergraduate curriculum; and increased summer program participation by more than 200 percent.
Kite teaches courses at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, and he recently directed the world premiere of the musical “Rebel Genius.” The UCLA production was designed by graduate design students and performed by undergraduates from the Ray Bolger Musical Theater Program.
He earned his bachelor of arts in theater and an M.F.A. in theater with a directing specialization from UCLA. Kite is a chair emeritus of the Board of Governors of the LA Stage Alliance and holds an appointment as a visiting professor at the Shanghai Theatre Academy.