‘Heart and Soul’ of Kirkland Performance Center says goodbye

When Steve Lerian sat in the audience for the first time, it was a cathartic experience.

Kirkland Performance Center Executive Director Steve Lerian celebrated his last day yesterday. He will move on to director of Cal Poly Arts at California Polytechnic State University.

Kirkland Performance Center Executive Director Steve Lerian celebrated his last day yesterday. He will move on to director of Cal Poly Arts at California Polytechnic State University.

When Steve Lerian sat in the audience for the first time, it was a cathartic experience.

A line up, including Broadway’s Bernadette Peters, had brought his hard work to fruition.

“It was a big deal for us, considering we’d never had anything in the theater,” said Lerian, Kirkland Performance Center’s executive director, of the center’s opening day 10 years ago. “It was very gratifying because we’d all killed ourselves to get this done and many times didn’t think it would happen.”

Since then, audiences have been amazed at the intimacy that KPC provides and the quality of artists that Lerian has strived to bring to Kirkland.

Yesterday, Lerian celebrated his last day as executive director of KPC.

Lerian resigned as he accepted a position as director of Cal Poly Arts, the arts presenting program at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.

“I ain’t no spring chicken anymore as they say,” Lerian joked. He looks at the new oppurtunity as one last new challenge.

Mary Pat Byrne, arts specialist for the City of Bellevue, said Lerian has made a difference in the arts not only on the Eastside, but also regionally. Both Byrne and Lerian helped found the Eastside Arts Coalition. In addition, Lerian served as board president of the Washington State Arts Alliance and on the legislative committee.

“This is a guy who will serve on any committee,” Byrne said of Lerian. “He is always ready to roll up his sleeves.”

Kirkland City Manager Dave Ramsey referred to Lerian as the “heart and soul” of KPC.

“He has brought in some high quality, diverse performance and kept KPC in a unique place in the whole entertainment market,” Ramsey said. “We thank him for all he’s done and we’re going to miss him.”

Lerian said his new opportunity means managing both a 500-seat and 1,300 seat auditorium, much different than the 400-seat auditorium at KPC.

While he looks forward to moving closer to his mother, who lives in Los Angelos, he said it will be a difficult move.

“I have a lot of ties here,” he said. “Leaving is going to be in many ways sad and many ways invigorating.”

He urged the community to continue to care for the Kirkland Performance Center.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@kirklandreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.kirklandreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in News

t
Kent teen charged with murder of teen during gun exchange

Two Renton teens also charged in September shooting in Kirkland

A South King Fire & Rescue firefighter places a used test swab into a secure COVID test vial on Nov. 18, 2020, at a Federal Way testing site. (Sound Publishing file photo)
Masks are still king in combating new COVID strains

A top UW doctor talks new strains, masks and when normal could return.

Washington State Capitol Building in Olympia. File photo
Democrats look to allow noncitizens to serve on school boards

A Senate bill takes aim at a state law requiring anyone seeking elected office to be a citizen.

file photo
Kirkland looking for non-police members to their police use-of-force review group

The investigative team is mandated by the Law Enforcement Training and Community Safety Act of 2019.

A CVS pharmacist prepares a COVID-19 vaccine at Village Green Retirement Campus in Federal Way on Jan. 26. Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing
State health leader: We have a plan, we don’t have the supply

Two months after the COVID vaccine landed in Washington, many still struggle to secure their shots.

File photo
How the pandemic and coronavirus variants can show us evolution in real time

Scientists say viruses reproduce and mutate at higher rates, creating viral variants.

An Island Park Elementary teacher and her students hit the books on Feb. 8 in the Mercer Island School District. The single largest amount of Gov. Jay Inslee’s newly announce relief package, $668 million, will go to public elementary and secondary schools to prepare for reopening for some in-person learning and to address students’ learning loss. Courtesy photo
Inslee signs $2.2 billion COVID relief package

The federal funds will go to fight COVID, aid renters and reopen shuttered schools and businesses.

file photo
Three charged in Houghton Beach Park murder

Kirkland police arrested three males under 20-years-old in relation to shooting.

Dr. Kristina Adams Waldorf, an ob-gyn with the University of Washington School of Medicine and senior author of the report (Photo Credit: University of Washington School of Medicine)
UW study shows high COVID infection rates among pregnant women

Study shows infection rates to be two to four times higher than expected among minority groups.

Most Read