Staging Success: The PlayhouseSquare Story


>>THESE THEATERS ARE VERY
UNIQUE. THERE ARE NOT MANY OF THESE
MOVIE PALACES LEFT IN AMERICA. THEY ARE LANDMARKS. THEY’RE PART OF WHAT CLEVELAND
IS AND WAS.>>CLEVELAND WOULD BE SO MUCH OF
THE POORER IF WE DID NOT HAVE PLAYHOUSE SQUARE.>>I AM SO GRATEFUL THAT AT A
TIME WHEN THINGS LOOKED SO DIRE, THAT THE OPPORTUNITY TO DREAM
WAS NEVER LOST.>>THE PEOPLE INVOLVED EARLY ON
WENT BEYOND PRESERVATION OF HISTORIC THEATERS, AND WENT ON
INTO OUR REGION TO THE COMMUNITY IN A WAY THAT HAD
NEVER BEEN DONE BEFORE.>>IT WAS BEYOND PLAYHOUSE
SQUARE AS A NOTION. IT WAS ABOUT THE ARTS IN
CLEVELAND AS AN ECONOMIC ENGINE. IT WAS SOMETHING VERY UNIQUE
THAT I THINK IS A GOOD MODEL FOR THE OTHER PARTS OF THE UNITED
STATES OF AMERICA, MAYBE OTHER PARTS OF THE WORLD, TO SEE HOW A
COMMUNITY CAN COME TOGETHER, HAVE A VISION, AND MAKE IT
HAPPEN.>>TODAY, WE ARE THE LARGEST
PERFORMING ARTS CENTER SECOND ONLY TO LINCOLN CENTER IN NEW
YORK. NO ONE WOULD HAVE IMAGINED THAT
IN THE 1970’S, 1980’S, I AM NOT EVEN SURE IF THEY WOULD HAVE
IMAGINED THAT IN 1990’S.>>THE 1970’S WERE A VERY
DIFFERENT TIME FOR THE CITY.>>THERE WAS CRIME IN DOWNTOWN
CLEVELAND.>>COULD THE SAME MIND THAT
BOMBAY THEATRE ALSO SET FIRE TO A HOTEL?>>AT 5:00, EVERYBODY WENT HOME.>>THE CITY WAS DEALING WITH
URBAN UNREST AND THE RACE TO THE SUBURBS.>>IT WAS A REFLECTION OF THE
COUNTRY.>>THIS AREA WAS LIKE A GHOST
TOWN. IT WAS EMPTY.>>WE JOKED ABOUT HOW THERE WAS
SO LITTLE HAPPENING IN DOWNTOWN CLEVELAND, THAT YOU COULD THROW
A BOWLING BALL DOWN THE AVENUE.>>THE THEATER CLOSED, AND WHEN
THEY CLOSED, IT EMPTIED OUT.>>PEOPLE WERE MOVING OUT AND
DOWNTOWN WAS A LONELY PLACE.>>IT WAS SAD. I HAVE ALWAYS LOVED DOWNTOWN. EVERYBODY WENT TO THE THEATER
WHEN WE WERE GROWING UP IN CLEVELAND. IT WAS THE ONLY PLACE YOU COULD
GO, DOWNTOWN.>>THESE BUILDINGS ARE ALL
SPECIAL. THEY WERE ALL BUILT IN A SHORT
TIME. THEY WERE ALL DIFFERENT.>>FOR MANY OF US, WE COULD
REMEMBER AS CHILDREN THAT THE ONLY PLACE TO GO TO THE MOVIES
WAS DOWNTOWN.>>ARE REMEMBER LOOKING AT A BIG
SCREEN AND SEEING — BEING DAZZLED BY IT. IT WAS GREAT TO COME DOWNTOWN
NOT ONLY TO SEE A MOVIE, BUT TO SEE SOME FOG BUILD.>>WHEN MY FRIENDS AND MYSELF —
VOWED OF!!!!!!!AUDEVILLE.>>MY FRIENDS AND I WOULD SKIP
SCHOOL TO COME HERE.>>THERE WAS A FAN DANCER.>>SHE WAS WEARING A BODY SUIT
THAT WAS FLESH COLORED.>>VERY TITILLATING FOR A GUY
THAT IS 15, 16, WHENEVER WE WERE AT THE TIME.>>I THINK MY FIRST DATE WAS AT
SOME THEATER DOWN HERE. STANDING IN LINE TO GET IN.>>I WAS COURTING MY WIFE, AND I
COURTED HER OF THOSE THEATERS. IN THE OLD DAYS, THEY USED TO
HAVE PHOTOGRAPHERS ON THE STREET TO SNAP YOUR PICTURE. THAT IS THE FIRST PICTURE WE
HAVE AN HOUR PHOTO ALBUM OF OUR LIFE TOGETHER. BJ IN OUR PHOTO ALBUM OF OUR
LIFE TOGETHER.>>NONE OF THESE THEATERS HAD
BEEN USED AT ALL FOR ANY PURPOSE WHATSOEVER FOR A LONG TIME.>>THEY WERE FALLING APART. WATER HAD BEEN LEAKING THROUGH
FOUR YEARS.>>THE DAMAGE WAS DEVASTATING.>>THE THEATERS WERE VIRTUALLY
UNUSABLE.>>IT WAS HOPELESS.>>PLASTER WAS FALLING IN THE
AUDITORIUM ALMOST CONSTANTLY, LIKE A LIGHT RAIN FALL. ALL THE THEATER SEATS FOR GONE. THE FLOOR LOOKED LIKE A
WASHBOARD. THE STAGE WAS IN RUINS. THERE WAS NO WAY THAT SPACE
COULD BE USED BY THE GENERAL PUBLIC. QUAKES’ THE OHIO THEATER,
UNFORTUNATELY, WAS VERY BADLY DAMAGED IN THE FIRE. IT WAS ALL RED. AND THEN ALL THIS PEELED AWAY. IT HAD A LOT OF WATER DAMAGE SO
PLASTER AREAS WERE JUST CRUMBLING AWAY.>>THE PALACE WAS NOT USABLE
BECAUSE WE DID NOT HAVE LIGHTING INSTRUMENTS. DRESSING ROOMS WERE A MESS. FROM A THEATRICAL PRODUCTION
POINT OF VIEW, WE DID NOT HAVE WHAT WE NEEDED TO MAKE THAT
WORK.>>THE ALLEN, ODDLY ENOUGH, WAS
IN A LITTLE BETTER SHAPE. PEOPLE WOULD SIT IN AIRLINE
SEATS AND WATCH A LASER SHOW IN THE SKY.>>WE REALLY DID NOT HAVE A USED
FORD AT THE TIME. IT WAS A MATTER OF MAKING SURE
— USE FOR IT AT THAT TIME. IT WAS A MATTER OF MAKING SURE
DID NOT DETERIORATE OR GET TORN DOWN BY A DEVELOPER. IT WAS SO MASSIVE. WE NEEDED TO SAVE THESE SPACES.>>JUST ABOUT THAT TIME, RAY
SHEPPARD AND HAD COME TO TOWN.>>HE IS ONE OF THE MOST
INTERESTING CHARACTERS I HAVE EVER MET.>>HE IS CRAZY.>>HE IS ECCENTRIC.>>HE IS A GENIUS.>>I CAME TO CLEVELAND IN 1968,
GRADUATED FROM COLLEGE. I WAS A 26 YEAR-OLD FARM KID
FROM SEATTLE AND I DID NOT HAVE — I WAS NOT REAL REFINED.>>AT THE TIME, HE WAS WORKING
FOR THE CLEVELAND BOARD OF EDUCATION AND WAS RECRUITING
TEACHERS FROM ALL OVER THE COUNTRY. HE WAS LOOKING FOR A PLACE IN
WHICH THESE TEACHERS COULD GATHER, AND HE CAME UPON THE
PLAYHOUSE SQUARE THEATERS.>>THE MAIN THEATERS WERE THE
PLAYHOUSE, THE OHIO, THE ALLEN.>>WHEN HE WALKED INTO THE
THEATERS, IT WAS A TRANSFORMING MOMENT IN HIS LIFE.>>HE HAD SEEN THE MAGNIFICENT
MURALS, AND HE LOOKED AROUND AND SAW THAT THE ARCHITECTURE WAS
SWATHED IN COBWEBS WITH RATS RUNNING AROUND. BUT YOU COULD SEE THE QUALITY. AND BECAUSE HE IS SUCH A
VISIONARY, HE IMMEDIATELY SAW IT AS ALL KINDS OF OTHER THINGS.>>BASICALLY, WE WANTED TO TAKE
THE FOUR CLOSE THEATERS AND USE THEM AGAIN.>>HERE IS AN IDEA. LET’S SAVE THESE THEATERS. WHAT A CRAZY IDEA THAT MUST’VE
SEEN LIKE.>>WHO WOULDN’T? HOW COULD THIS HAPPEN? ALL HE HAD TO DO IS POINT THIS
OUT AND EVERYBODY WOULD BE LIKE, WHAT A GREAT IDEA. NOT SO.>>I SAID MR. SHEPHERD, PEOPLE
DO NOT GO OUT TO VENTURES LIKE THAT. THEY ENTERTAIN IN THEIR HOMES
AND A LOT OF PEOPLE HAVE NOT BEEN DOWNTOWN IN 15 YEARS.>>I SAID THIS IS AN IMPOSSIBLE
DREAM, BUT IT IS CERTAINLY SOMETHING YOU SHOULD PURSUE.>>AT THAT POINT, IT WAS
STRAIGHT UP HELP FOR EVERYBODY. — UP HILL FOR EVERYBODY.>>I DID NOT KNOW WHAT I WAS
DOING.>>THEY WOULD GO ON SPEAKING
ENGAGEMENTS AND SAY WE ARE PROMOTING THE HOUSE WHERE. WE’RE OFFERING MEMBERSHIPS TO
PLAY HOUSE WHERE AS FOUNDING MEMBERS.>>HE WOULD HAVE EVENTS THAT WE
WOULD BE INVITED TO. IT WAS BASICALLY NOTHING. IT WAS A WAY OF SUPPORTING THE
IDEA OF SAVING PLAY HAS SQUARE.>>THE OHIO WAS BUILT AS A
LEGITIMATE THEATER AND WOULD BE RESTORED AS A LEGITIMATE
THEATER.>>CHARISMATIC LEADERSHIP
FEATURING TOTAL CHAOS.>>HE WAS NOT THE GREATEST
BUSINESSMAN, BUT WE KNEW WHAT HE WANTED TO DO. IT WAS A DREAM AND A GOAL WE ALL
SHARED.>>HE WAS CONVINCING. IT COULD WORK. WE NEEDED TO GET THE COMMUNITY
ROUNDED UP IN THE START OF MONEY. IF YOU HAVE A QUESTION, HE HAD
TWO ANSWERS.>>I TALKED TO THE OWNERS OF THE
ALLEN THEATRE AND SAID I WILL MANAGE THE ALLEN THEATRE FOR
YOU. I WILL GIVE YOU ALL THE RENT IN
RETURN FOR WHATEVER — WHENEVER I WANT TO DO A SHOW, I CAN KEEP
THE CONCESSIONS.>>HE WAS ABLE TO OPERATE THE
THEATER AS A THEATER.>>I STARTED BRINGING THINGS
AND. THE FIRST THING WAS THE BUDAPEST
SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA. WE HAD THE LARGEST HAM MIRIAM
POPULATION OUTSIDE OF BUDAPEST, I — HUNGARIAN POPULATION
OUTSIDE OF BUDAPEST. I FIGURED WE WOULD GET A CROWD.>>THEY FILLED THE PLACE. THEY WERE DELIGHTED. THERE WAS ENORMOUS COMMUNITY
PRIDE. UNFORTUNATELY, IT WAS A WINTER
DAY. IT SNOWED. WHILE THEY WERE PLAYING, THE
SNOW CAME DOWN. THEY WERE SUCH GOOD SPORTS. THAT REALLY KICKED IT OFF.>>IT GAVE CREDIBILITY TO THE
ISSUE. HE KEPT SAYING IT WILL WORK, IT
WILL WORK, IT WILL WORK.>>SOMETHING THAT SEEMS TO BE
GOING ALONG SMOOTHLY USUALLY DOES NOT WORK BECAUSE INERTIA
OVERTAKES IT.>>THE PLAIN DEALER, MAY 25TH,
1972. OHIO AND STEVE THEATERS TO BE
RAIS!!ZED. THE VACANT THEATERS WILL BE
RAZED TO MAKE WAY FOR A PARKING LOT. A CRITICAL SITUATION HAS BEEN
REACHED UNLESS THE PEOPLE OF CLEVELAND COME FORWARD TO
IMPLEMENT HIS ORGANIZATION’S PLAN. THE STATE AND A HIGHER THEATERS
ARE DOOMED, HE SAID.>>I CAN ONLY IMAGINE HOW YOUR
HEART WOULD RACE. YOU COME INTO THIS BUILDING, YOU
ARE SO ENCHANTED, SO IN LOVE, AND SOMEONE IS GOING TO GRAB IT
AND TAKE IT AWAY.>>WHEN THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE
POSSIBLE DEMOLISHING OF THESE THEATERS CAME OUT, THAT SPURRED
THE JUNIOR LEAGUE AND EVERYBODY ELSE.>>I THOUGHT IT WAS PRETTY COOL
BECAUSE IT GOT PEOPLE CHARGED UP, MORE SO THAN ANY SPEECH I
COULD GIVE.>>I WAS VISITED BY RAY SHEPPARD
SENT!!!!!SON WHO ASKED ME TOREPRESENT THE CLEVELAND FINE ARTS
COMMITTEE BEFORE THE CITY COUNCIL TO RESIST THE DEMOLITION
OF THE BUILDING.>>BIG DOWNTOWN LAWYER. HE WAS MARVELOUS.>>ALL OF THE STRUCTURE
IMMEDIATELY BEHIND US TO THE NORTH WOULD HAVE BEEN
DEMOLISHED.>>HE SAID WE CANNOT HAVE
ANOTHER CURB CUT OR TWO ON EUCLID AVENUE.>>IT WAS THE NEED FOR THE CURB
CUT THAT ALLOWED US TO RAISE THE ISSUE OF WHETHER THE DEMOLITION
WAS APPROPRIATE OR NOT.>>THE COMMITTEE MEMBERS
DISCUSSED IT. THEY WERE THOROUGHLY ENGAGED. THEY ASKED THE REPRESENTATIVES
OF THE CORPORATION TO SEE IF A RENTAL AGREEMENT COULD NOT BE
REACHED.>>ONE OF THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES
WAS SPEED. I AM AMAZED HOW PEOPLE RALLIED
SO QUICKLY BECAUSE THOSE BUILDINGS WERE GOING.>>AND THEN, THANK GOD, ALONG
COMES THE JUNIOR LEAGUE OF CLEVELAND.>>THE IDEA THAT HIS DREAM WOULD
GO TO DUST ALLOWED US TO VOTE THEM THE BIGGEST AMOUNT OF MONEY
WE HAD EVER PUT INTO A PROJECT.>>THE PLAIN DEALER, JUNE 3RD,
1972. JUNIOR LEAGUE PLEDGES CASH TO
SAY THEATERS, BY WILLIAM F. MILLER. THE JUNIOR LEAGUE OF CLEVELAND
GUARANTEED $25,000 TO THE PLAYHOUSE SQUARE ASSOCIATION
YESTERDAY IN AN EFFORT TO SAVE THE THEATERS FROM DEMOLITION. THE LEAK’S PAST PRESIDENT SAID
MEMBERS WERE CONVINCED THAT RAY SHEPPARD SEN!!!!SON’S PLANS WERE
SOUND. ALL THAT IS NEEDED IS MONEY AND
COMMUNITY INTEREST, SHE SAID.>>WITHOUT THE SUPPORT OF THE
JUNIOR LEAGUE, I AM NOT SURE WE WOULD HAVE MADE IT OFF THE DIME
IN THE BEGINNING. THE INFLUENTIAL WOMEN OF THE
COMMUNITY AT THAT TIME REALLY RALLIED IN MANY PUBLIC WAYS SUCH
AS THEIR VERY GENEROUS SUPPORT, AND A LOT OF VERY BEHIND-THE-
SCENES.>>BECAUSE WE WERE ALL SO
EXCITED ABOUT IT, WE GENERATED THE EXCITEMENT TO OUR HUSBANDS,
BROTHERS, FATHERS AND LAW, FATHERS, AND THEY BEGAN TO CATCH
THE FIRE. SOMEONE SAID, YOU KNOW THEY
SLEEP WITH THE MOST POWERFUL MEN IN CLEVELAND, AS THEIR HUSBANDS. WE ALSO TALKED TO THEM.>>THE PRESIDENT OF THE JUNIOR
LEAGUE BECAME VERY FRIENDLY WITH RAY AND BECAME ONE OF HIS
PRINCIPAL DISCIPLES. WHEN YOU SAW HER COMING, YOU
KNEW YOU WERE GOING TO TALK ABOUT PLAYHOUSE SQUARE AND GRAY. HER ENERGY CREATED A BUZZ THAT,
WITHOUT HER, WOULD NOT HAVE HAPPENED.>>THE REALITY IS WHEN HE PULLED
THE JUNIOR LEAGUE AROUND HIM, THAT GAVE HIM SOME DEPTH.>>WHAT DO YOU DO WITH THREE
HUGE THEATERS AND ONE 1100-1200 SEATER? THAT WAS NUTS. I TRY TO FIGURE OUT WHAT WE
COULD DO BESIDES THEATER.>>THERE WAS A SHOW IN TOWN. QUAKES!!!!!!>>SHEILA SAID THERE
IS A
WONDERFUL SHOW UP THE STREET.>>ON THE LAST PERFORMANCE OF
THE LAST NIGHT OF THE SHOW, RAY AND HIS WIFE CAME TO THE SHOW.>>I SAT IN THIS RIDICULOUS
CLASSROOM WHERE THE ARMS COME OUT AND YOU CAN DO TESTS AND I
HAD THIS RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE IN A CLASSROOM.>>HE SAID I WOULD LIKE TO
PRESENT THIS SHOW AT PLAY HOUSE. I SAID IT IS IMPOSSIBLE. YOU DO NOT HAVE THE SPACE.>>I SAID IT WILL BE PERFECT FOR
FEBRUARY. HE SAID WE DO NOT HAVE A
FEBRUARY. I SAID WE WILL.>>RAY AND LOCKED THE STATE
THEATER AND STARTED FRANTICALLY WALKING AROUND. IF ANYBODY KNOWS HIM WHEN HE IS
IN HIS FRANTIC THINKING PROCESS.>>HE RECOGNIZED THE POTENTIAL
OF THAT UNUSUAL LOBBY OF THE STATE THEATER.>>I REALIZED IT WAS NO M! LONGER A MATTER OF SHOULD WE DO
IT, IT WAS A MATTER OF WE WILL DO IT. IT WAS VERY CLEAR.>>YOU GET THINGS DONE IN THE
AMOUNT OF TIME YOU ARE ALLOWED TO DO THEM. NOBODY HAD TIME FOR THIS. YOU HAD TO MAKE IT HAPPEN.>>EVERYBODY HAD THIS
COMMITMENT.>>I WAS FIXING THE ROOF, THE
TAKING OUT TRASH, SCRUBBING RESTROOMS.>>WE HAD TO BUILD A STAGE.>>REBUILT THE KITCHEN.>>BEGOT A CATERER.>>THE SOUND SUCKED.>>THE SEATS WERE DREADFUL.>>WE LAID DOWN TWO DOLLARS PER
YARD ORANGE MOHAWK CARPETS FOR ACOUSTICS.>>WE WERE SELLING TICKETS FOR
$7.75 WHICH INCLUDED THE PERFORMANCE, A BUFFET DINNER AND
A BOTTLE OF WINE AT YOUR TABLE.>>IT WAS A NICE BOTTLE OF WINE. THAT LASTED A WEEK.>>THERE WAS A HANDY MAN WHO
WORK HERE. PLAYHOUSE SQUARE COULD NEVER
HAVE HAPPENED WITHOUT HIM. HIS NAME WAS SMITTY.>>HE WAS FROM SOMEPLACE IN
MISSOURI.>>HE HAD A VERY CHIC BACHELOR
PAD OF STAIRS. HE HAD LIKE 16 URINALS IN HIS
BEDROOM.>>I THINK HE WAS AN
ELECTRICIAN. HE PRETENDED TO BE AN
ELECTRICIAN.>>HE WAS SO RESPONSIBLE FOR
GETTING THE SHOW READY THAT WHEN I FINALLY STARTED THE
LIGHTPROOF, I REALIZED HE WAS SITTING NEXT TO THE STAGE AND
HAD FALLEN SOUND ASLEEP AND HIS HEAD WAS RESTING ON THE EDGE OF
THE STAGE. HE STAYED THERE THROUGH THE
ENTIRE OPENING OF THE SHOW, ASLEEP.>>I THINK THERE WERE ABOUT A
HUNDRED PEOPLE THERE. THE TABLES WERE SPREAD OUT SO WE
LOOK LIKE WE HAD MORE PEOPLE THAN WE DID. WE WERE SURPRISED. WE HAD DONE THE SHOW BEFORE, BUT
THIS TIME PEOPLE WENT CRAZY. THEY HOLLERED AND THROUGH
NAPKINS IN THE AIR AND WE ALL JUST THOUGHT, WELL.>>THE PLAIN DEALER, APRIL
23RD, 1973. CABARET THEATER OFF TO A GOOD
START HERE. BY PETER BELLAMY. THE SHOW IS JOCK IS ALIVE AND
WELL AND LIVING IN PARIS. IT IS A MUSICAL WITH LOVE,
TRAGEDY AND THE SINS AND WOES OF THIS PLANET. LOCATED IN THE LOBBY OF THE OLD
STATE THEATER, THE NEW PLAYHOUSE SQUARE CABARET HAS OPENED IN A
BLAZE OF GLORY.>>IN 1973, PEOPLE DID NOT COME
THROUGH THE FRONT DOORS OF THE THEATER. THEY CAME THROUGH THE SIDE DOOR. IT WAS A FIRE EXIT. THEY CAME IN, PAID FOR THEIR
TICKETS, WALKED UPSTAIRS TO THE MEZZANINE LEVEL OF THE LOBBY
WERE THEY HAD COCKTAILS. MEANWHILE, DOWN HERE ON THE MAIN
FLOOR, THIS WAS FILLED WITH TABLES AND CHAIRS. AT A CERTAIN POINT, THEY WOULD
COME DOWN, BE SEATED, HAVE A MEAL, HAVE A DRINK. WAITERS AND WAITRESSES WOULD
CLEAR THE TABLES AND THEN WE WOULD BE READY FOR THE SHOW.>>WE CAME DOWNSTAIRS EVERY
NIGHT AND DID THE SHOW. PEOPLE TOOK US INTO THEIR
HEARTS.>>I LOVED THAT SHOW. I THOUGHT IT WAS A GREAT SHOW. I MUST HAVE SEEN IT 15 TIMES.>>20 TIMES.>>32 TIMES.>>HOW MANY? NOT THAT I EVER GO, BUT HOW
MANY. MANY TIMES.>>I STILL TALK TO PEOPLE WHO
TALK ABOUT IT AS THOUGH IT WAS A RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE.>>YOU FELT THE CLOSENESS TO THE
PERFORMERS AND EACH OF THE FOUR UNDERSTOOD THAT RELATIONSHIP
WITH THE AUDIENCE SO WELL.>>BY THE TIME IT WAS OVER YOU
SAID WAIT A MINUTE, I DO NOT WANT THIS TO END.>>AFTER THE SHOW, WE WENT DOWN
TO HAVE A DRINK AND THE WAITER SAID, THIS MAN WANTS TO TALK TO
YOU. I SAID HI. HE SAID, I WORK IN A STEEL MILL. I HAVE NEVER BEEN IN THE
THEATER. I DO NOT KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THE
THEATER. I CAME TO NINE AND I LOOKED
AROUND AT ALL OF THESE PEOPLE AND I SAID, I AM FEELING THE
SAME THING THEY ARE FEELING. THE IDEA THAT LIVE PERFORMANCE,
ONCE IT IS GONE, IT IS GONE FOREVER.>>♪ ♪ THE DAY IS DONE, THE DAY
IS DONE ♪ ♪>>YOU FEEL PRETTY GOOD. HOW IS IT THE FIRST SHOW YOU
PRODUCE BECOMES THE LONGEST- RUNNING SHOW IN CLEVELAND
HISTORY? WHAT ARE THE CHANCES OF THAT?>>HAD IT NOT BEEN SUCCESSFUL,
IT WOULD HAVE BEEN VERY DIFFICULT FOR US TO CREATE THE
LONGEVITY THAT WOULD HAVE ALLOWED US TO RENOVATE THE
THEATER ITSELF.>>PEOPLE WOULD NOT ONLY DREAM
ABOUT WHAT PLAYHOUSE SQUARE MIGHT BE, BUT WHAT THE CITY OF
CLEVELAND MIGHT BE AGAIN. IT WAS A POWERFUL TIME IN
CLEVELAND HISTORY.>>I THINK ALL OF US KNEW THAT
SOMETHING WAS GOING TO HAPPEN, SOMETHING WAS COMING, BUT I DO
NOT THINK WE COULD DREAM THAT BIG. MAYBE RAY COULD DREAM THAT BIG. I THINK THE REST OF US WERE JUST
ALONG FOR THE RIDE OF OUR LIVES.>>THIS IS STARTING, AND NOW IS
THE TIME TO GET ON THE BANDWAGON, GET IN ON THE GROUND
FLOOR.>>WE FELT THAT BECAUSE WE NOW
HAD CONTROL OF MORE THAN ONE THEATER, THAT WE HAD TO DO SOME
PROGRAMMING AND OTHER THEATERS. THE LOGICAL SPACE WAS THE GRAND
LOBBY OF THE PALACE.>>THE FIRST PRODUCTION WE
PRESENTED WAS THE RISE AND FALL OF THE ENTIRE WORLD AS SEEN
THROUGH THE EYES OF COLE PORTER.>>WE FOLLOWED THAT WITH ANOTHER
SHOW.>>AFTER THAT CAME MARVELOUS,
WACKY THINGS.>>THE SHOW WAS SUPPOSED TO TAKE
PLACE IN A RUNDOWN NIGHTCLUB IN HONDURAS. THIS PLACE LOOKED LIKE A RUNDOWN
NIGHTCLUB. AND WE HAD NO AIR CONDITIONING
AND IT WAS SUMMER. IT FELT LIKE HONDURAS.>>THERE WERE MORE THINGS PLANS
LIKE BRINGING IN BIG-NAME ENTERTAINMENT.>>DELLA REESE, RUPERT
HUMPERDINCK.>>WHAT DO YOU THINK OF OUR PLAY
HOUSE?>>FANTASTIC. I THINK IT IS SO EXCITING, THE
WHOLE RESTORATION PROGRAM IS WONDERFUL. I THINK PEOPLE SHOULD BE VERY
PROUD OF IT.>>IN THE OLDEN DAYS WE WERE
ABOUT WHERE OUR NEXT CALLER WOULD COME FROM. THE DOLLAR WOULD COME FROM.>>YOU HAD TO MAKE SURE THAT
ENOUGH MONEY WOULD COME IN THAT EVERYBODY COULD BE PAID.>>HOW DO YOU DRUM UP THE
AUDIENCE?>>TICKET SALES, THAT IS ALL WE
HAD. SOME DAYS IT WORKED. SOME DAYS IT WAS NOT ENOUGH.>>SHARE WAS SIGNED TO PERFORM
— CHER WAS ASSIGNED TO PERFORM AND WE HAD A MILLION DOLLARS IN
ADVANCE TICKET SALES.>>WE SPENT ALL THE MONEY.>>CHER CANCELED AND WE HAD TO
FIND A WAY TO GIVE PEOPLE BACK A MILLION DOLLARS.>>THERE WERE MANY INSTANCES OF
TWO STEPS FORWARD, EIGHT STEPS BACK, ONE STEP FORWARD, 12 STEPS
BACK. IT IS ASTOUNDING THAT THE
PLAYHOUSE SURVIVED THE FIRST DECADE.>>THE FOLKS IN CITY HALL, IN
THE FOUNDATIONS, IN THE CORPORATION SAID BOY, THIS HAS
GOT TO BECOME MORE SOPHISTICATED.>>IT IS FINE AND DANDY TO HAVE
VOLUNTEERS, OF PEOPLE WILLING TO QUIT THEIR JOBS AND COME IN AND
DO THINGS THAT NEEDED TO BE DONE ON A DAILY BASIS, BUT WE NEEDED
TO THINK BETTER.>>PEOPLE MEANT WELL AND
PROBABLY WERE BEHIND A LOT OF SUPPORT THE PLAY HOUSE GOT, BUT
THEY WERE NOT THE PEOPLE TO RUN THE ORGANIZATION.>>WE NEEDED TO HAVE A BODY THAT
WAS IN CONTROL, THAT COULD GO OUT AND REPRESENT TO POTENTIAL
DONORS THAT THEY RAN THINGS.>>THE VERY FIRST THING TO BE
DONE WAS TO FIND SOMEONE, AN ARCHITECT WHO COULD DO A MASTER
PLAN OF PLAYHOUSE SQUARE.>>THEY HIRED ME TO HELP
MOTHBALL THEATERS BECAUSE THEY WERE LEAKING AND THEY DID NOT
WANT THEM TO DETERIORATES ANY FURTHER. IN DOING THAT WORK, I THOUGHT
GOSH, WE SHOULD HAVE A BIGGER PLAN. WE BUILT A MODEL OF THE WHOLE
AREA. IT SUGGESTED UNDERUSED PROPERTY
IS, HOW THEY MIGHT BE CHANGED, A HOTEL, MUSEUM, PARKING
STRUCTURES, OTHER THEATERS. THESE WERE POSSIBILITIES THAT
OVER 20-70 YEARS, SOMETHING COULD CONTINUE TO GROW.>>AND REIS SAW THAT YES, IT IS
GREAT TO HAVE A FEW WONDERFUL THEATERS, BUT THEY WENT WELL
BEYOND THAT AND STARTED TO DEVELOP A COMMUNITY AROUND IT.>>WHEN WE BOUGHT THE BLACK
ANGUS RESTAURANT ON THE CORNER OF 14TH AND HERE ON OUT OF
BANKRUPTCY FOR A SONG AND WE CONVERTED IT TO THE REST THE
SUPPER IN FROM CALIFORNIA, PEOPLE SAID IT COULD NOT BE
DONE. WELL, WE DID IT. LIKEWISE, WE BOUGHT A BUILDING
FOR ALMOST NOTHING WERE THE WYNDHAM HOTELS STANDS TODAY.>>THAT IS WHAT MADE THEM REALLY
UNIQUE. THEY HAD A VISION EARLY ON THAT
THEY NEEDED TO COME IN AND DEVELOP THE WHOLE PACKAGE.>>IT IS TRYING TO FIGURE OUT
WHAT IT WANTS TO BE. IT IS A LITTLE UNCERTAIN. THERE IS A DREAM, A BIG DREAM
ABOUT WHAT IT COULD BE IN TERMS OF A PERFORMING ARTS CENTER. YET AT THE SAME TIME, IT IS
TRYING TO PRESENT THINGS ON THE STAGES. THAT HAS NOT REALLY BEEN
SUCCESSFUL TO THE ORGANIZATION.>>THAT IS A TIME WHEN WE HAVE
REAL CONCERNS ON THE BOARD BECAUSE FRANKLY WE DID NOT THINK
WE HAVE THE BEST STAFF TALENT, AND SOME OF US WERE CONCERNED
THAT MAYBE WE SHOULD NOT BE IN THIS THING. WE’RE GOING TO FIND OURSELVES IN
REAL TROUBLE.>>THERE IS A SENSE AMONG THE
TRUSTEES SAID — THAT IN THE WHITE BUSINESS COMMUNITY, THERE
IS NOT A BELIEF THAT THE ORGANIZATION — WHY DID!!!!!!IDE
BUSINESS
COMMUNITY, THERE IS NOT A BELIEF THAT THERE!! ORGANIZATION CAN
PULL
IT OFF.>>RAY WAS AN UNKEMPT GUY. HE LOOKED LIKE HE WAS OUT OF THE
BOWERY. THAT DID NOT BRING ON THE
SUPPORT AND ENTHUSIASM OF THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY.>>THE PLAIN DEALER, DECEMBER
24TH, 1979. IDEALIST LEAVES, SEEKS NEW
THEATER CHALLENGES. RAY K SHEPHERDSON DARED TO
DREAM BIG DREAMS AND TO MAKE THOSE DREAMS COME TRUE. HE WAS DISMISSED BY DOWNTOWN
BUSINESSMEN AS AN IDEALIST WHEN HE BEGAN HIS CRUSADE TO SAVE THE
DISTRICT ALMOST A DECADE AGO. HE SAID HE IS NOT BITTER AND HAS
NO REGRETS.>>I WAS PLANNING TO LEAVE. I STARTED THINKING ABOUT LEAVING
TWO YEARS BEFORE I LEFT. I HAD DONE EVERYTHING I COULD
DO, AND WHAT I WAS STARTING TO DO, I THOUGHT, WAS DAMAGING.>>WE WERE ALL MOVING ON, ALL OF
US. WE KNEW THAT PLAYHOUSE SQUARE
WOULD HAVE ITS OWN LIFE AND REQUIRE DIFFERENT TYPES OF
PEOPLE.>>IT IS HARD TO LET GO, BUT
LETTING GO IS A GOOD THING. YOU HAVE TO MOVE ON.>>A STARTED CRYING. I JUST BROKE DOWN. IT WAS CRAZY. JUST THINKING ABOUT IT, SAYING
GOODBYE TO ALL THESE WONDERFUL PEOPLE. IT IS THE HARDEST PART.>>THE TRANSFORMATION THAT
OCCURRED FROM THE LATE 1970’S TO THE EARLY 1980’S WAS ENHANCED
IMMEASURABLY BY BRINGING PEOPLE ON BOARD OF THE HOUSE WHERE
BOARD OF TRUSTEES WHO HAD — PLAYHOUSE SQUARE BOARD OF
TRUSTEES WHO HAD THE BUSINESS SAVVY TO FINANCE AN ENTERPRISE
LIKE THIS.>>WE WENT TO THE FOUR TOP
EXECUTIVES IN CLEVELAND AND ASKED, WOULD YOU BE A CONSULTANT
TO US? WOULD YOU SERVE AS A RESOURCE TO
THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY IN GENERAL TO KNOW THAT WHAT WE’RE
DOING MAKES SENSE AND ADDS UP?>>IF I HAD TO IDENTIFY ONE
IDENTIFIABLE MOMENT WHEN THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY STARTED TO
TAKE US MORE SERIOUSLY, IT IS WHEN THE CLEVELAND FOUNDATION
LENT THEIR CONSIDERABLE VOICE TO WHAT WE WERE DOING HERE.>>THE PLAIN DEALER, JUNE 26TH,
1980. PLAYHOUSE SQUARE AWARDED A GRANT
FOR THEATER RENOVATION, BY WILLIAM F. MILLER. THE CLEVELAND FOUNDATION AWARDED
YESTERDAY A $710,000 GRANT TO THE PLAYHOUSE SQUARE FOUNDATION
FOR THE RENOVATION AND OPERATION OF THE THEATER COMPLEX. STANLEY PACE, CLEVELAND
FOUNDATION CHAIRMAN, SAID WE BELIEVE THAT PLAYHOUSE SQUARE
FOUNDATION HAS DEVELOPED SOUND PLANS FOR THE FUTURE TO CARRY
THEM OUT.>>THAT MADE PEOPLE IN THE
BUSINESS COMMUNITY FEEL A LOT MORE COMFORTABLE. HERE WAS THE MONEY COMING IN,
ALTHOUGH IT WAS FROM A FOUNDATION AND NOT FROM ANOTHER
CORPORATION. THAT SAID TO THE BUSINESS
COMMUNITY, HERE IS A BUSINESS CORPORATION JUMPING INTO THIS. THAT WAS A BIG SUCCESS STORY.>>THE ACTIVITY, BEGINNING IN
1980, REALLY BEGAN TO DECELERATE.>>WE WERE BUILDING COMMUNITY
SUPPORT — BEGAN TO ACCELERATE.>>WE WERE BUILDING COMMUNITY
SUPPORT.>>AT SOME POINT, IT WAS
ANNOUNCED THAT WE HAD A BUNCH OF MONEY AND WERE GOING TO
RENOVATE THE OHIO THEATRE.>>IT WAS GEORGE VOINOVICH WHO
HAD THE JOY OF SAYING THE SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL IS GOING TO
MOVE FROM LAKEWOOD AND MAKE THE OHIO THEATER ITS HOME.>>THE ARTISTIC DIRECTOR OF
GREAT LAKES SHAKESPEARE HAD IN MIND BUILDING UP PLAYHOUSE
THEATRE OUT ON LAKE ERIE.>>I HEADED TO THE OFFICE AND
SAID TO HIM, YOU KNOW, I AM NOT GOING TO BE SUPPORTIVE OF IT,
BUT I WILL BE SUPPORTIVE OF IT IF YOU DECIDE TO PUT IT IN PLAY
HOUSE SQUARE.>>HE SAID WE CANNOT, BECAUSE
THEY CANNOT GET IT READY FOR US. HE SAID, I WILL HAVE A BY 1982. THAT WAS THE END OF THE MEETING.>>I WANTED TO MAKE SURE THAT
EVERYBODY KNEW THAT THESE THINGS HAPPENING DOWNTOWN WERE
NOT JUST FOR A FEW PEOPLE, BUT FOR THE ENTIRE COMMUNITY. MAYBE PEOPLE WHO WOULD NEVER GO
TO THE THEATER. AT LEAST IT WOULD HELP MAKE THE
TOWN MORE COMPETITIVE.>>THE OHIO WAS IN TERRIBLE
SHAPE. WE ALMOST THE DID THE WHOLE
THING. — GUTTED THE WHOLE THING. EVERYTHING HAD BURNED. WE HAD A MODEST BUDGET TO CREATE
AN ELEGANT ROOM.>>THE OHIO THEATER WAS DESIGNED
AS A LEGITIMATE THEATER TO DO SHOWS LIKE SHAKESPEARE, SHAW,
THAT KIND OF THING. THE GREAT LAKES SHAKESPEARE
FESTIVAL GOT US AWAY FROM BEING A PRESENTER OF CABARET STYLE
SHOWS AND GODDESS INTO THE ROLE OF LANDLORD AS WELL AS — GOT US
INTO THE ROLE OF LANDLORD AS WELL AS PRODUCERS AND
PRESENTERS.>>WITH THE SUCCESSFUL
COMPLETION OF THE RENOVATION OF THE OHIO THEATER, WE HAD ENGAGE
A CONSULTANT TO HELP US IDENTIFY SOMEBODY WHO REALLY COULD TAKE
PLAY HAS SQUARE TO A WHOLE NEW LEVEL.>>WE BEGAN TO BRING IN PEOPLE
WHO KNEW SOMETHING ABOUT THEATER, I E. BERRY WALKER.>>I BEGAN IN EARLY MARCH OF
1982. THE JOB BASICALLY WAS TO RUN THE
PLACE ON A DAY-TO-DAY BASIS, TO RAISE MONEY FOR OPERATION AND
RENOVATION OF THE THEATERS.>>LARRY BROUGHT A SENSE OF
THEATER, A SENSE OF WHAT THEATERS COULD PROVIDE, A LOT OF
PROFESSIONALS INTO THE OPERATION.>>WHEN I CAME IN AND, I REALIZE
WE HAD TO ORGANIZED DIFFERENTLY AND PUT A FOCUS ON NOT ONLY WHAT
HAPPENED IN THE THEATER — BECAUSE IF WE DID NOT HAVE FINE
SHOWS IN THE THEATER, IT DID NOT MATTER WHAT ELSE WE DID.>>HE GAVE EVERYONE THE BELIEVE
THAT THIS IS POSSIBLE.>>I THINK WE REALLY FELT THAT
WE HAD TURNED A CORNER WHEN WE OPENED THE STATE THEATER. THE STATE WAS A VERY LARGE, VERY
BEAUTIFUL THEATER. IT APPEARED ON THE COVER OF LIFE
MAGAZINE IN 1956.>>THE STATE WAS THE LARGEST OF
THE THEATERS. THERE WAS BEJO THEN — THE HOPE
THEN THAT WE WOULD HAVE MORE RESIDENT COMPANIES. THE BALLET IS HERE, THE OPERA IS
HERE. IT GIVES A BRAND NAME TO WHAT IS
GOING ON WITH THE PROJECT AND A ROUT IN THE COMMUNITY THAT WAS
DESPERATELY NEEDED.>>WE WANTED TO USE IT FOR OPERA
AND BALLET. FOR THAT, ALL WE HAD TO DO WAS
BUILD A BIGGER STAGE.>>THIS IS ONE HUGE STAGE.>>THAT ALONE WAS A $6 MILLION-
$8 MILLION PROJECT.>>THE IDEA WAS TO MAKE SURE
THAT THIS BUILDING WOULD BE A FIRST-CLASS MACHINE.>>JUST BY SHEER SIZE, A
SELLOUT OF THE STATE IS TRIPLE WHAT IT IS AT THE OHIO. IT HAS A DIFFERENT KIND OF
ADRENALIN FLOW.>>THE PLAIN DEALER, JUNE 10TH,
1984. BELIEVERS IN JOY OPENING NIGHT. IT WAS THE LONG-AWAITED
UNVEILING OF PLAYHOUSE SQUARE CENTER, ATTENDED BY 1580 PAYING
GUESTS FOR THE SIT-DOWN DINNER. IT BEGINS THE END OF THE DREAM
AND THE START OF A LEGACY FOR CLEVELAND SAID JOHN F. LEWIS. LEWIS SINGLED OUT THREE
INDIVIDUALS WITH SPECIAL PLACE, RE!AY SHEPHERDSMN FOR HIS DREAM,
HIS WIFE FOR STANDING BEHIND HIM, AND LARRY MILLER FOR
BACKING IT ALL THE WAY.>>EVERYBODY TURNED OUT.>>THERE WAS A HUGE CELEBRATION.>>I THINK PEOPLE BEGAN TO
UNDERSTAND THAT ONE DAY ALL OF THESE THEATERS WOULD BE
RENOVATED AND PROVIDE PERFORMANCE SPACES FOR THE
PEOPLE NOT JUST OF OHIO, BUT FOR A WIDE SWATH OF THE MIDWEST.>>PLAYHOUSE SQUARE HAS
MEASURABLE SUCCESS. WE HAVE IMPORTANT RESIDENT
COMPANIES. WE HAVE GATHERED MANY OF THE ART
FORMS AND PLACED THEM HERE. THERE WAS A SENSE OF, WE ARE
DONE.>>THERE WAS A PERIOD WHERE
THERE DID NOT SEEM TO BE THE EXTRA EFFORT THAT WAS NEEDED.>>WE ARE TALKING ABOUT THE
REVITALIZATION OF PLAYHOUSE SQUARE. IT ENDED WITH A GALA REOPENING
CELEBRATION. NOW THAT THE STREAMERS HAVE COME
DOWN, WE’RE WONDERING IF THE MILLIONS OF DOLLARS POURED INTO
THE DISTRICT HAVE PAID OFF.>>THERE WAS A SENSE THAT PLAY
HOST!!!!!HOUSE SQUARE MIGHT NOTMAKE IT.>>DOLLARS WERE SCARCE.>>BUT THE PALACE WAS STILL
HANGING OUT THERE.>>WHAT HAS HAPPENED SO FAR IS
THAT TWO THEATERS ARE OPEN AND. THE PALACE IS GOING TO NEED
ABOUT $4 MILLION MORE IN CONTRIBUTIONS.>>WE HAD AN EFFORT TO RAISE
MONEY FROM THE PUBLIC.>>THERE WERE PEOPLE WHO WOULD
SAY YOU HAVE TWO THEATERS. DO YOU NEED THREE? HOW WILL YOU EVER SELL ENOUGH
TICKETS?>>WHEN THE PALACE IS FINALLY
OPEN, THAT WILL GIVE THE COMPLEX ABOUT 7000 SEATS. HOW ARE YOU GOING TO FILL THAT
MANY SEATS?>>THAT IS THE $64 MILLION
QUESTION.>>WE CONVINCE THE FEDERAL
RESERVE TO DO A STUDY OF THE ECONOMIC IMPACT OF PLAYHOUSE
SQUARE. THEY DETERMINED IT BROUGHT IN
$40 MILLION TO THE COMMUNITY THAT WOULD NOT BE THERE IF THE
THEATERS WERE NOT OPERATING. THAT BECAME A MAJOR TOOL TO
ALLOW US TO PUSH FUNDRAISING OVER THE TOP.>>ONE OF THE THINGS YOU DO TO
GET PEOPLE FIRED UP IS HAVE PROJECTS THAT SHOW COMMUNITIES
COMING TOGETHER WHERE YOU CAN SEE PHYSICAL IMPROVEMENTS BEING
MADE.>>IS RESTORED A SENSE OF
CONFIDENCE IN THE CITY OF CLEVELAND THAT WE COULD DO
SOMETHING OF MAJOR PROPORTION. WE WERE ABLE TO TURN IT AROUND
AND START TO LOOK AT THINGS IN A MUCH MORE POSITIVE WAY.>>WE DO NOT HAVE TIMES SQUARE,
BUT WE HAVE BRIGHT LIGHTS IN PLAY HOUSE SQUARE.>>THE PARTY WE ARE TALKING
ABOUT IS IN PLAY HOUSE SQUARE DOWNTOWN.>>ALL THREE THEATERS ARE OPENED
AND HAVING PARTIES. EACH HAS A DIFFERENT MOTIF.>>IT WAS NEARLY ON ITS DEATHBED
AND NOW HAS COME BACK WITH THE OPENING OF THE THEATERS AND SIX-
EIGHT NEW RESTAURANTS. WE ARE HOPING THIS CAUSES A
REVITALIZATION OF THE AREA.>>I GET A PHONE CALL FROM LARRY
WILBUR. HE SAYS, UGG GEORGE AND BARBARA
BUSH WERE OVER LAST NIGHT. THEY WANT TO GO DOWN AND RUN THE
KENNEDY CENTER. WE STARTED A NATIONWIDE SEARCH
TO REPLACE HIM. WE OF PEOPLE FROM BOSTON,
CHICAGO, SAN FRANCISCO, L.A., NEW YORK, ALL OVER THE PLACE. WE ALSO TALKED TO PEOPLE HERE IN
TOWN. ONE THAT BEGAN LOOKING VERY
INTERESTING TO US WAS ART FALCO.>>WE LOOKED IN OUR OWN BACKYARD
AT ART FALCO AND SAID WAIT A MINUTE, WE MAY HAVE THE PERSON
IN ART THAT HAS THE ABILITY TO CARRY THIS ORGANIZATION FORWARD.>>I FELT HE WAS THE BEST PERSON
TO LEAVE THE ORGANIZATION AND I TOLD THE BOY IS SO.>>ART WAS AN ACCOUNTANT BY
TRAINING AND PROFESSION AND HE WAS A VERY LOYAL LIEUTENANT TO
LARRY WHEN MARY WAS HERE.>>LEARY WAS A GREAT MENTOR TO
HIM — A VERY WAS A GREAT MENTOR TO HIM.>>I LEARNED THE THEATER
BUSINESS THROUGH, IT ESSENTIALLY, TUTORING.>>PEOPLE WHO WORK WITH OUR
LOVED HIM. HE WAS A DECISIVE MANAGER, THE
GENTLEMAN HIS APPROACH.>>IT IS THAT LAST $3 MILLION
WERE WE HAVE TO KICK AND SCRATCH AND WHATEVER.>>HE WAS VERY SMART AND HAD
GREAT BUSINESS SENSE. IT WOULD BE A SMOOTH TRANSITION,
BUT NOT STATUS QUO. WE SPENT A FEW YEARS TRYING TO
DETERMINE WHAT TO DO WITH THAT THEATER. WE KNEW THE GREAT LAKES THEATER
FESTIVAL WAS IN NEED OF A 500 SEAT THEATER. THE OHIO THEATER HAD SERVE THEIR
NEEDS FOR 20 PLUS YEARS. WE APPROACHED THEM AND SAID DO
YOU HAVE ANY INTEREST IN MOVING, AND THEY SAID IN ABOUT ONE
NANOSECOND, ABSOLUTELY.>>IT IS REMARKABLE HOW ART HAS
BEEN ABLE TO PUT TOGETHER THE OPERATIONS OF THE THEATERS WITH
OUR COMMERCIAL OPERATION IN AN ABSOLUTELY SEAMLESS FASHION.>>I AM NOW KNOWN ON THE BOARD
AS SAYING, ART, WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO BRING US SOME BAD NEWS? EVERYTHING WE HAVE IS SOMETHING
BIG AND SOMETHING DIFFERENT, SOMETHING MORE.>>THIS WILL BE ONE OF ONLY
THREE THEATERS IN THE COUNTRY THAT IS IN THIS TYPE OF
CONFIGURATION. THE DIRECTOR CAN DECIDE HOW THEY
WANT THE SEEING LAID OUT, EITHER IN THE ROUND, PROSCENIUM’S FILE,
RUNWAY — PROSCENIUM’S STYLE, RUNWAY, AND THEN IF YOU LOOK
NORTH, THAT WILL BE THE LABORATORY THEATER.>>RIGHT NOW WE’RE GETTING READY
TO REOPEN THE ALLEN THEATRE ON SEPTEMBER 15TH, 2011. THE WORKERS ARE PUTTING THE LAST
FINISHING TOUCHES ON IT. WE HAVE CHANGED THE AUDITORIUM
RADICALLY. SEATING CAPACITY HAS BEEN CUT
FROM 2500 TO 500.>>TOTALLY DIFFERENT LOOK. IT HAS TAKEN 40 YEARS TO FILL
THE DREAM. THIS WILL BE THE LAST THEATRE ON
THE LAST — LIST AND WE HAVE A VERY INTENSE USE PROGRAM FOR IT.>>ONE OF THE REASONS IT HAS
BEEN SUCCESSFUL IS BECAUSE WE LOVE TO PARTNER. WE BELIEVE THAT BRINGING
PARTNERSHIPS TOGETHER MEANS WE ARE ALL STRONGER.>>WE ARE AT AN HISTORIC MOMENT
AT THE PLAYHOUSE. WITH OUR WONDERFUL PARTNERS AT
CLEVELAND STATE UNIVERSITY.>>IT IS A STUNNING, STUNNING
THEATER. IT IS A CONTEMPORARY DESIGN
INSIDE IN HISTORIC SHELL. WE DO NOT KNOW OF ANY OTHER
BUILDING LIKE THAT IN THE COUNTRY. I THINK WE SHOULD TOAST THE
POWER OF THREE AND THE FUTURE OF CLEVELAND.>>HERE HERE.>>THERE WAS ALWAYS THIS SENSE,
EVEN IN THE EARLY DAYS, THAT WE HAD TO CREATE AN ENTICING
NEIGHBORHOOD.>>THE ORGANIZATION DECIDED IT
WAS IN ITS BEST INTEREST AND STRATEGY TO TRY TO CONTROL SOME
OF THE REAL ESTATE IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD.>>PLAY HOUSE PARTNERSHIP IS ONE
OF THE LARGEST PROPERTY OWNERS IN CLEVELAND.>>PROPERTIES RANGE FROM A 100
SEAT CLUB TO WHICH 3000 SEAT THEATER.>>THEY SAID YES, IF YOU WANT A
ROBUST COMMUNITY, YOU HAVE TO HAVE HOTELS. WHAT DID THEY DO? THEY PARTNERED WITH A NATIONAL
HOTEL CHAIN.>>WE ENHANCED OUR RESTAURANT
CAPABILITY.>>A PARKING GARAGE.>>AN OFFICE BUILDING. THE IDEASTREAM BUILDING IS A
PERFECT FIT.>>WE HAVE THIS TECHNOLOGICAL
PARTNERSHIP. IT IS AN ENTIRE MIX.>>WE HAVE REVITALIZE THIS
NEIGHBORHOOD AND I THINK IT IS THE SPEARHEAD FOR REVITALIZATION
IN CLEVELAND.>>WHEN YOU GIVE VITALITY AND
ROBUSTNESS IN AN ARTS COMMUNITY, YOU FIND YOU OF
BUSINESSES FROM OTHER PARTS OF THE COUNTRY YOU WILL BE
ATTRACTED. OUR VIEW IS THIS NEEDS TO BE
NEIGHBORHOOD WHERE PEOPLE NOT ONLY ARE WORKING, NOT ONLY ARE
COMING TO SEE THEATER, BUT WHO LIVE HERE.>>LOTS OF FREE ACTIVITIES, A
WONDERFUL PEDESTRIAN LANDSCAPES SO IT FEELS GOOD TO WALK AROUND.>>IT IS NOT JUST PEOPLE RENTING
A FEW THEATERS. NOW IT IS HOW DO WE CREATE THE
MOST DYNAMIC NEIGHBORHOOD, NOT JUST IN THE CITY, BUT IN THE
COUNTRY? IN THE EARLY DAYS, IT WAS
THOUGHT THAT PLAYHOUSE SQUARE HAVE LITTLE ECONOMIC IMPACT ON
THE COMMUNITY. TODAY, IN A CONSERVATIVE SENSE,
IT IS WELL OVER $43 MILLION PER YEAR, PROBABLY THE BEST RETURN
ON INVESTMENT OF ANY PROJECT OF THIS SCALE IN THE COMMUNITY.>>IT HAS HELPED TO RESTORE THE
CONFIDENCE OF PEOPLE WHO LIVE IN THE CLEVELAND AREA IN CLEVELAND.>>PLAYHOUSE SQUARE STARTED TO
BE DEVELOPED. IT WAS CLEAR THE CLEVELAND WAS
IN A PRETTY BAD SITUATION. THERE WOULD NOT BE ANY
SIGNIFICANT DOWNTOWN CLEVELAND IF IT WEREN’T FOR THIS.>>THE PRESERVATION OF
PLAYHOUSE SQUARE HAS GIVEN CLEVELAND A CHANCE TO REALIZE
HOW BEAUTIFUL IT IS.>>TO THINK YOU COULD DRAW
HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE OR A MILLION PEOPLE YEAR, THAT
WAS UNFATHOMABLE.>>IT IS A TRUE STORY ABOUT A
COMMUNITY COMING TOGETHER FOR A PROJECT THAT NOT EVERYBODY
BELIEVED COULD HAPPEN, BUT BELIEVE THE DOW WAS WORTH
TRYING.>>I WILL NEVER — BELIEVED DEEP
DOWN IT WAS WORTH TRYING.>>I WILL NEVER BE PART OF
ANYTHING LIKE THIS AGAIN IN MY LIFE. IT WAS A ONCE-IN-A-LIFETIME
OPPORTUNITY.>>IS THE HIGH PART OF OUR
LIVES.>>IT IS VERY HUMBLING TO
REALIZE YOU ARE A PART OF SOMETHING THAT IS SO ENORMOUS,
THAT HAS SUCH IMPACT.>>I DON’T KNOW, I WAS A KID. MAYBE I THOUGHT THIS WOULD BE
REALLY UGLY IF IT DID NOT GET RESTORED. WHAT REPLACES SOMETHING LIKE
THIS? NOTHING. CERTAINLY NOT A PARKING LOT.

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