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Arts Center Executives Marry, See No Professional Problems

February 13, 1987|ALLAN JALON | Times Staff Writer

The Orange County Performing Arts Center's executive director, Thomas R. Kendrick, and its general manager, Judith O'Dea Morr, were wed in a civil ceremony at the County Courthouse in Santa Ana on Jan. 30, according to courthouse records. Kendrick, 53, and Morr, 45, confirming what was the second marriage for both of them, said this week they had considered the wedding a private matter and had made no public announcement.

Both said they did not believe it would affect the Center's operations. Henry Segerstrom, chairman of the Center's Board of Trustees, said if anything, the marriage would be a boon to the working atmosphere in the cluster of administrative offices on the Center's ground floor.

"I think that their happiness will reflect beneficially on everybody," Segerstrom said. "I have the highest regard for both of them personally. . . . I absolutely, absolutely, absolutely think they are a team. They are wonderful people."

The couple informed only "leading board members" at the Center of the wedding, Kendrick said. "We've obviously been extremely busy and just wanted to keep this a private matter for the time being. We just walked into the Santa Ana courthouse one day shortly after I found out my divorce was final and got married. We went back to work the same day. . . . We're very happy."

Morr, who also was divorced, said of her marriage to Kendrick: "We just did it and went back to the office. Honestly, I haven't thought a lot about it. We've been very busy."

The wedding did not seem to surprise people who know the couple. "I didn't know they'd gotten married, but I knew it was going to occur and so did others," said one Center board member, who asked not to be named.

Before being hired in Costa Mesa in the summer of 1985, they worked together in administrative posts at Washington's Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts--he as director of operations, she as general manager for theaters.

At a May 9, 1985, press conference in Costa Mesa, the two were described as "the best one-two team in the field" by Center president Timothy Strader. "Getting them was an absolute coup for us," he said.

Morr, who said she intends to keep her name, mostly manages the day-to-day operational details of the Center, Kendrick said, while he generally oversees policy and budget matters. Although Kendrick said he is clearly her boss on the administrative hierarchy, he said they work together and share some responsibilities. "We both get involved in bookings . . . and programming," he said.

"We've worked together for a long time," Morr said. "I don't think anything will change." Said the board member who requested anonymity, "I've never heard one word about nepotism or any negative reaction out of the board or Center supporters or the staff. And it certainly is a situation fraught with difficulties in terms of management. But I'm convinced they will be able to handle this professionally, or I know somebody would have started sniping at them already."

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