Feb 29, 2024

LEAP Back in Time to Jump Back Ball 1992

The year, 1992. The location, Cleveland. Two Partners members stand on Euclid Avenue wondering if anyone will show up to the inaugural Jump Back Ball (JBB). Spoiler alert...people showed up.


JBB invitation designed by Liggett-Stashower

No Flash in the Pan

Sara Stashower and Neil Weinberger, two founding Partners members and current members of Playhouse Square’s Board of Trustees, shared with us their memories of JBB 1992.

A few years before JBB 1992, the original nine Partners were recruited by Larry Wilker, then president of Playhouse Square. His one request? Create the future. But how?

After lots of researching, brainstorming sessions and Jello shots, preparations for “Jump Back to the 70s” were well underway.

Neil Weinberger explained, “Our goal was to be the party of the year and something young professionals had never experienced in Cleveland.”

Sara agreed, “No flash in the pan for us.”

The Partners aimed for an event that was more than memorable and, seeing as Chuck Berry was headlining the event, there was little doubt it would be. The 70s theme was set. But fate had other plans. Berry bailed at the last minute, and, in a scramble, Buster Poindexter of the New York Dolls was booked instead.

“It was a temporary trauma that resulted in a fabulous night,” said Sara. This was obvious to anyone who witnessed the Conga line that weaved its way around the KeyBank State Theatre stage during Poindexter’s performance of “Hot Hot Hot.”

The evening’s parting gift? A refrigerator magnet projecting JBB dates for the next ten years. As Neil Weinberger said, “Partners was to own the last Saturday of February.”


Buster Poindexter performing at JBB

Enduring Impact

Leap forward 32 years. JBB has become a Cleveland institution. And JBB is more than a party. The money raised at the event fuels Playhouse Square's education programs, shaping young minds and fostering a love for the arts. This year's JBB, “Villains Unleashed: A Night of Chaos,” smashed attendance and on-site fundraising records.

For Partners members, the impact goes beyond fundraising.

Sara had this to say of how her involvement with Partners and JBB impacted her career and continued involvement with Playhouse Square: “I am a better person and broader thinker because of what I’ve been exposed to and allowed to do at Playhouse Square. I have given but I have taken, too — friendships, challenges, excitement, leadership. 30 years on the Big Board! Can’t believe it.”

As for Neil, the impact of Partners has been profound as well. “As a founding member of Partners and co-chair of the 1st JBB, little did I think I’d be reflecting on this journey 30+ years later. Rising through the ranks of Partners and then privileged to join the Board of Trustees, has been the highlight of my civic

involvement. I’ve been provided exposure to other enthusiastic young professionals and business leaders and the experience has led to valued and long-lasting friendships.”

More than 30 years after its inception, Jump Back Ball is still growing. Don’t forget to mark your calendar for JBB 2025 on Saturday, March 1. If only the original Partners had made a bigger magnet!


JBB article from the Plain Dealer 

Join the Legacy:

Interested in joining Partners and cultivating the future of Playhouse Square?

Learn more here: playhousesquare.org/partners