Otterbein Summer Theatre’s Man Behind the Curtain: Dennis Davenport

Posted Jun 16, 2023

There is always a lot going on behind the scenes of any Otterbein Summer Theatre production: Props are coming and going, scenery is moving, and costumes are changing.  Perhaps the hardest working member of our “backstage” crew is Musical Director and Pianist Dennis Davenport, our one-man-band during the 2023 season.

Dennis Davenport
Dennis Davenport

Dennis, Professor of Music here at Otterbein, has been at the keys for at least 5 hours a day since our season began back in May, coaching and accompanying the casts of both “I Do! I Do!” and “Baby,” sometimes performing and/or rehearsing both productions in the same day.

During the academic year, Dennis teaches courses in the BFA Musical Theatre program and in general education for the First Year Experience, Honors, and Senior Year Experience programs.  You can also find him in the orchestra pit on keyboard for many Otterbein Theatre & Dance musicals. During the summer, his schedule gets a little lighter and he says, “I enjoy the chance to concentrate on a production without having other demands on my time.”  

According to Otterbein Summer Theatre Artistic Director Lenny Leibowitz, Dennis Davenport is an integral part of the artistic team.  “Dennis is a STAR – a musical visionary, creative dynamo, and total mensch.  Equally brilliant as a pianist, musical director, teacher, and all-around great person, Dennis is the soul and engine of Otterbein Summer Theatre.”

In addition to his academic and performance work, Dennis is also an accomplished composer and has created, along with his wife Sarah as librettist, two one-act operas collectively titled “First Encounters.” The work, which will soon be a trilogy, includes “Isak Dinesen Meets Marilyn Monroe” and “Berthe Morisot Meets Edouard Manet.”  The pair are currently finishing the last piece, “Cole Porter Meets Rodgers & Hart.”

 After Summer Theatre closes, Dennis will next be the Musical Director for the Otterbein Theatre & Dance fall production of “Cabaret.”  Until then, enjoy the beautiful tones coming from behind the curtain as our students light up the stage in “Baby”!

Tickets for “Baby” are available for all performances June 15-18 and 22-24 and can be purchased online at or via the Cowan Hall Box Office (614-823-1109) Tuesday through Friday between noon and 4pm.