PlayhouseSquare honored Broadway producers Barry and Fran Weissler with its highest award, the PlayhouseSquare Star Award for Achievement in the Performing Arts, at its annual Chairman’s Dinner Monday night. Past honorees include legendary composer Marvin Hamlisch, Disney Theatricals President Thomas Schumacher, Broadway producers Margo Lion and Kevin McCollum, and pioneering PlayhouseSquare leaders Oliver C. “Pudge” Henkel, Jr. and John F. Lewis.
“What I admire most about the Weisslers is their inventiveness, resourcefulness and eye for quality,” said Gina Vernaci, senior vice president of theater operations at PlayhouseSquare. “Broadway road markets, like Cleveland, have always benefitted from the shows they have produced, and many of their productions have graced the stages of PlayhouseSquare.”
Barry and Fran Weissler are the recipients of seven Tony Awards: Othello, their Broadway debut, starring James Earl Jones and Christopher Plummer; Fiddler on the Roof with Topol; Gypsy with Tyne Daly; Annie Get Your Gun with Bernadette Peters and Reba McEntire; the worldwide hit, Chicago; the 2010 revival of La Cage Aux Folles with Kelsey Grammer; and the 2013 revival of Pippin starring Patina Miller and Andrea Martin.
Chicago, the longest running American musical on both Broadway and the West End, has featured countless stars including Bebe Neuwirth, Anne Reinking, Joel Grey, Melanie Griffith, David Hasselhoff, Chita Rivera, Denise van Outen, Duncan James, Lynda Carter, Ashlee Simpson, Kelly Osbourne and Usher. The show’s global success has reached over 25 countries and has been translated into a dozen languages.
Other notable Broadway credits include Cabaret with Joel Grey, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof with Kathleen Turner, Zorba with Anthony Quinn, My One & Only with Tommy Tune, My Fair Lady with Richard Chamberlain, William Finn’s Falsettos, Grease with Megan Mullally, Seussical with Rosie O’Donnell, Wonderful Town with Brooke Shields, Sweet Charity with Christina Applegate, the West End premiere of Neil Labute’s Fat Pig and Kander and Ebb’s The Scottsboro Boys directed and choreographed by Susan Stroman.
Multiple projects in development include The Heart of Robin Hood, Finding Neverland, Waitress and Band Wagon.
The PlayhouseSquare Star Award is bestowed annually to an individual(s) who exemplifies a lifetime dedication to the performing arts evidenced by a body of work that contributes to our culture, proven leadership within the industry, creativity, willingness to mentor young talent and respect from the artistic community