Cleveland, OH – Playhouse Square presented its President’s Award to the nine founding members of Playhouse Square Partners – Jeffrey Cristal, Lawrence Hatch, John Marcus, Peter Rubin, Sara Stashower, Kurt Weaver, Neil Weinberger, Mark Weisman and Theodora Wolf - on July 12 during the organization’s annual President’s Reception in the State Theatre. Playhouse Square Partners is the young professionals group of Playhouse Square.
27 years ago, these individuals were recruited by Larry Wilker, president of Playhouse Square at the time, to, “create the future,” as Sara Stashower recalled in her remarks, “the kind of statement that at first blush seems really straightforward until you realize it’s loaded to the gills. But we shrugged our shoulders and said, ‘Sure! Why not?’”
After two years of research and planning – and jello shots, which have become synonymous with the irreverent group – Playhouse Square Partners was born. Now the longest-standing young professionals group in Cleveland, the Partners have raised more than $4 million in support of Playhouse Square’s not-for-profit mission. Most of the funds are raised through the annual Jump Back Ball, held in February each year.
“At the first Jump Back Ball we had the hubris to print refrigerator magnets projecting party dates for the next ten years. Never thought we’d get that far. And here we are, two and a half decades later,” said Stashower, who currently serves on the Playhouse Square board of trustees.
Since 1991, more than 2500 young professionals have been Partners, with a current roster of 300. In addition to hosting Jump Back Ball, members volunteer at Playhouse Square events and meet up for social and networking activities.
“I am happy to say Partners has been an overwhelming success,” said Art Falco, president and CEO of Playhouse Square.
The Playhouse Square President’s Award has been established to recognize members of the Northeast Ohio community whose leadership, perseverance and dedication have contributed to the success of Playhouse Square. Past honorees include Glenn Brown, the Richard J. Fasenmyer Foundation, David Frazier, Joseph Garry, Jr., Elaine Hadden, Julien McCall, William Miller, Raymond Shepardson and Senator George Voinovich.