Theatre Under the Stars founder Frank M. Young dies

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Theatre Under the Stars founder Frank M. Young passed away peacefully on Sept. 20, nearly 50 years after he founded one of Houston's largest theater groups.

Young founded the company in 1968 when he was afforded the opportunity to produce a production of "Bells are Ringing" at Miller Outdoor Theatre in Hermann Park. The company has since produced more than 300 productions -- including two per summer at Miller -- that have attracted the likes of Patrick Swayze, Debbie Allen, Tony Randall, Cathy Rigby, Tommy Tune and Debbie Reynolds.

In 1993, TUTS had the opportunity to produce the stage premiere of "Beauty and the Beast" in collaboration with The Walt Disney Company.

"He was a visionary leader that created musical theatre for and by the Houston community that influenced the national musical theatre landscape," Dan Knechtges, the company's current artistic director, said. "Frank's love of his family, his love of artists and most of all his love of Houston, inspired him to create our first show 49 years ago at Miller Outdoor Theatre as a gift for all Houstonians."

Those wishing to honor Young's memory are encouraged to contribute to the TUTS Annual Fund or the Frank M. Young Scholarship Fund for students in TUTS Humphreys School of Musical Theatre.

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