Leading the Action

Myron Martin ('80) (Photo by Jerry Metellus)

Myron Martin ('80) relished the opportunity to be student director for UNT's production of Carousel.

"There were lots of people who were better on stage than I was," he says. "I loved the inner workings -- making sure the music, the dancing, the sets were just right."

He worked with some of the world’s top musicians for Baldwin Piano Co. He currently is president and CEO of The Smith Center for the Performing Arts in Las Vegas, named one of the top 10 theaters in the world by Pollstar magazine. And he gets to vote in the Tony Awards every year thanks to his membership and high standing in The Broadway Leauge, which is made up of theater owners and operators.

“I pinch myself every single day,” he says. 

Martin began playing piano in the sixth grade and performed in musical revues as a student growing up in Houston. He also had an entrepreneurial streak -- as a kid, he collected pine cones from neighbors’ homes, decorated them with glitter and sold them back to the neighbors. 

A high school trip to New York City to see Broadway shows cemented his passion for music and theater. 

“There was no doubt I was going to go to North Texas because of the great reputation of the music school,” Martin, a music education major, says adding that he tried out for the lab bands but realized others had more talent.

“I received not only a great education,” he says “But it was humbling at times.” 

He was a member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, Kappa Sigma and North Texas 40, serving as that organization’s president in his senior year. 

“Those kinds of experiences led to a career and to being a leader,” he says.  

After graduation, he worked throughout the country for Baldwin, starting as division manager and working his way up to worldwide director for the concert and artist division in New York City. There he collaborated with such musicians as Billy Joel, Dave Brubeck and Liberace. He also earned his M.B.A. from Golden Gate University in San Francisco while working for Baldwin.

After Liberace died in 1987, he oversaw the entertainer’s estate and foundation in Las Vegas for four years. He then ran the Performing Arts Center at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas -- whose UNT President Neal Smatresk once served as president. And he worked as a producer, organizing a four-hour show after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks that raised money for the USO and promoted tourism to Las Vegas. 

He also dreamed of a world-class performing arts center in Las Vegas. As a result, he helped raise $470 million for The Smith Center, which features art deco designs helping to make the space appear timeless and elegant. The center can accommodate a variety of shows, from concerts and blockbusters like Hamilton, to concerts by jazz and other niche artists in Myron’s Cabaret Jazz, a 240-seat jazz club that is named after Martin.    

The Smith Center’s opening night ceremony in 2012 attracted Jennifer Hudson and Willie Nelson, and aired twice on PBS. 

“We wanted The Smith Center to be something for everyone,” Martin says. “And we’ve done that. I really do believe I gained much needed leadership skills at North Texas.” 

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