Playhouse Square: An Economic Driver for Northeast Ohio

Performances and education programs need a place to call home.  In Cuyahoga County, Playhouse Square is bustling with life and energy, with eight performance spaces indoors and even the street is a stage, thanks to the recent installation of the world’s largest outdoor chandelier.

Even more, Playhouse Square is a model for the arts as an economic driver. From the time its historic theaters, built in the 1920s were saved from demolition, Playhouse Square has taken a lead role in creating an ideal neighborhood in which to live, work and play where a once-deserted downtown district existed.  

The largest performing arts center in the country outside of New York, Playhouse Square attracts more than one million guests to 1,000+ shows, concerts, comedy, dance and family-friendly events each year. A top tour spot among Broadway producers, Playhouse Square is one of only 10 markets in the country that can support two-week runs of touring Broadway shows.  In fact, there are more Broadway season ticket holders in Cleveland than in any other city visited by Broadway tours.

In addition to Broadway, Playhouse Square is home to a robust calendar of educational and enrichment programs—many of which are offered at little to no cost. By introducing young audiences to the performing arts, preparing teachers to use the arts in classrooms and engaging learners of all ages, Playhouse Square inspires creativity and opens new pathways for learning.

In addition to investing in residents, Playhouse Square is investing in organizations as home to five resident companies: Cleveland Play House, Cleveland State University Department of Theatre and Dance, DANCECleveland, Great Lakes Theater and the Tri-C Jazz Festival.  Playhouse Square’s audiences drive revenue to the 16 restaurants, the Wyndham Hotel and other local businesses, bringing CAC’s investment in Playhouse Square full circle.

Playhouse Square has received general operating support from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture each year since 2008.

“The support we receive from the residents of Cuyahoga County through Cuyahoga Arts & Culture helps us fulfill our nonprofit mission and directly affects our ability to positively impact the local economy,” said Art J. Falco, president and CEO of Playhouse Square.

Combining onstage programming, educational offerings and district development initiatives, Playhouse Square generates an estimated $60 million impact on the Northeast Ohio regional economy. Over time, the organization has achieved a series of carefully planned goals—becoming a dining destination, adding residential living (which now has a 100% lease rate and waiting list), developing an iconic identity—with each success building on the one before.  

Together, these efforts make Playhouse Square a dazzling neighborhood that will remain a gem in Cuyahoga County’s arts and cultural landscape for years to come.