Cleveland, OH – PlayhouseSquare presented its inaugural President’s Award to Senator George V. Voinovich on October 27th during the organization’s annual President’s Reception in the Palace Theatre.
Senator Voinovich was recognized for his commitment and significant contributions to the success of PlayhouseSquare. “PlayhouseSquare would not be where it is today without the efforts of Senator Voinovich,” stated Art J. Falco, PlayhouseSquare President and CEO. “Many individuals played important roles in saving our beautiful theaters, but his support, especially during the initial stages of the restoration project, was absolutely crucial for its success.”
PlayhouseSquare Trustee Thomas E. Wagner introduced Senator Voinovich and chronicled his support of PlayhouseSquare. Wagner began by stating that “no one more epitomizes the spirit of the PlayhouseSquare President’s Award, or is more deserving, than George Voinovich.”
This story begins in 1977, when Voinovich and the other Cuyahoga County Commissioners purchased the Loew’s building for the Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court. This act ultimately saved both the Ohio and State Theatres from demolition as PlayhouseSquare was granted a long-term lease for the two theaters.
Voinovich continued his support of PlayhouseSquare while mayor of Cleveland. He persuaded Great Lakes Theater Festival to become the first resident company of PlayhouseSquare, aiding the credibility of the fledgling performing arts center. Further, he introduced the concept of public/private partnerships, and PlayhouseSquare was the first such partnership to be established. The success of that partnership started the renaissance of Cleveland in the 1980s, and was followed by public/private partnerships in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, the Great Lakes Science Center and the Gateway District. During his remarks at the reception, Voinovich named PlayhouseSquare “the most successful public/private partnership in the United States.”
PlayhouseSquare was not forgotten when Voinovich became governor of Ohio. He continued to support PlayhouseSquare’s plans, endorsing a state capital grant for the renovation of the Allen Theatre. This secured PlayhouseSquare’s position as the world’s largest theater restoration project.
From his Senate seat in Washington D.C., Voinovich assisted in obtaining a federal grant for the Idea Center at PlayhouseSquare, the unique collaboration between the performing arts center and Cleveland’s public broadcasting stations.
Voinovich concluded his remarks by stating, “There is no question that PlayhouseSquare has enhanced the quality of life in our community, and it’s the best place in the nation to enjoy live theater.”
There is no question that the success of PlayhouseSquare is owed in large part to the honorable George V. Voinovich.
The PlayhouseSquare 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 PlayhouseSquare.