Julien McCall and Glen Brown to be honored for their help in establishing credibility during organization’s beginning years
The two were recognized for their hard work and dedication in establishing the credibility of the then young PlayhouseSquare organization with the communities corporate leaders.
“Without the leadership and perseverance of Julien and Glenn, it is unlikely that the business community would have rallied around the idea of saving the historic PlayhouseSquare theaters,” stated Art J. Falco, PlayhouseSquare President and CEO. “And without that support and financial backing, it is unlikely that the vision of saving the theaters would have become a reality.”
In the early days, Julien McCall was president and CEO of National City Bank and was approached to serve on the steering committee whose job was to seek desperately needed support of the business community and Cleveland Tomorrow. In spite of the risks, the fact that renovation work had not even begun and no resident companies had yet committed to PlayhouseSquare he agreed to serve. In 1982 he was elected to the PlayhouseSquare board and became the chairman in 1985. In the three year term that he served, Mr. McCall oversaw the miracle of PlayhouseSquare from project status to operational enterprise. It was through his skill that the organization entered the operating phase with no outstanding debt and the commitment to end each fiscal year with a balanced budget which has held true for the past 25 years.
“I remember a meeting with Julien and our former president, Larry Wilker, when Julien said with that wonderful southern drawl, ‘Banks don’t lend money; they rent money.’ And so Julien, in that spirit, we thank you for renting us your wisdom, your reputation and your credibility in moving PlayhouseSquare forward,” said Falco.
At the same time, Glenn Brown was senior vice president in charge of strategic planning for Sohio when he was elected to the board in 1980. Sohio at that time was the largest corporation in Cleveland and their support was greatly needed. Sohio committed $500,000 that put the campaign goal over the top. Brown later became a key member of the PlayhouseSquare board and served as chairman from 1991 to 1996. Among his accomplishments as finding a chairman to find a replacement for Wilker (who had been recruited by George H.W. Bush to run the Kennedy Center), naming Art Falco the next president and CEO of PlayhouseSquare, moving the Front Row Theater operations to PlayhouseSquare, the saving of the Allen Theatre from demolition, the development of the Wyndham Hotel and the commissioning of the streetscape plan that is the basis for the neighborhood transformation currently being undertaken.
“Glenn has always been a quiet but brilliant leader. If you know him well, you know he often sits in a meeting doing hisNew York Times crossword puzzle---which he always completes—while never missing a word of what was said in the meeting. And when he speaks, everyone listens, because his points are always well thought out and right on the mark. Glenn, we thank you for the belief and wisdom that PlayhouseSquare was an importation project in the redevelopment of downtown Cleveland,” said Falco.
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. Past honorees include David O. Frazier, Joseph J. Garry, Jr., Elaine G. Hadden, William F.
PlayhouseSquare is a not-for-profit performing arts center whose mission is presenting and producing a wide variety of quality performing arts, advancing arts education and creating a destination that is a superior location for entertainment, business and residential living, thereby strengthening the economic vitality of the region.
PlayhouseSquare receives public support with local tax dollars from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture, to preserve and enrich our region’s artistic and cultural heritage.