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Cleveland Playhouse, CSU, To Take Residency at Playhouse Square

The deal would move the 96 year old Cleveland Playhouse from its home in the Fairfax neighborhood - to the Allen Theatre at Playhouse Square.

Wanting to escape a million-dollar-a-year cost in building upkeep, the Playhouse is investigating a partnership with Cleveland State University's Dramatic Arts Department to re-design the Allen, for performances and for teaching.

Playhouse Square CEO Art Falco says the option to bring the acting company into the nation's second largest theater complex does much more than save money.

ART FALCO: "We'll bring more people to Downtown Cleveland, thereby spurring more demand for restaurants and other compatible establishments. We'll solidify the majority of performing arts in the city to one location. We'll bring more opportunity for us to fulfill our dream of having a 24-7 environment."

The $30 million renovation includes placing two smaller theaters inside the current Allen space, building a third theater alongside... and creating scenery and costume shops. C-S-U has already obtained a grant for portions of `that' work to be completed.

But above all, Playhouse board chair Peter Kuhn insisted the one thing this is not - is a merger.

PETER KUHN: "We will continue to be the Cleveland Playhouse, an independent - self-governed, not-for-profit theater company."

The current Playhouse complex of the Bolton, Drury, and Brooks Theaters will be sold. None of the participants would speculate on a sales price or date for the site at East 85th and Euclid, or whether the Cleveland Clinic - owner of the property adjacent to the theater site - is a potential buyer.

Rick Jackson, 90.3.

Rick Jackson is a senior host and producer at Ideastream Public Media. He hosts the "Sound of Ideas" on WKSU and "NewsDepth" on WVIZ.