PlayhouseSquare in Cleveland has named Gina Vernaci its new executive producer, charging her with identifying new opportunities for programming the not-for-profit performing arts center and its neighborhood 365 days a year.
Vernaci says she hopes to spend the next two years on “planning and execution,” with results to show in her third year. “Performances—the stages—are at the core of what we do and who we are at PlayhouseSquare,” says Vernaci, “It could encompass some level of producing projects for the stage and exploring the possibility of bringing existing festivals to PlayhouseSquare, with the ultimate goal of having a steady flow of visitors all year.”
Vernaci joined PlayhouseSquare in 1984. In 1988, she was made director of programming, in which capacity she booked all attractions in the newly refurbished Connor Palace (then known as the Palace Theatre), along with the State and Ohio Theatres. In 2005, she was appointed vice president of theatricals, encompassing programming, marketing and sales, then senior vice president of theater operations in 2011, adding PlayhouseSquare’s community engagement and education initiatives and front-of-house operations to her purview. Vernaci also serves as liaison to PlayhouseSquare’s five resident companies: Cleveland Play House, Cleveland State University’s Department of Theatre and Dance, DANCECleveland, Great Lakes Theater and the Tri-C Jazz Festival.
Vernaci has a broad resume in the performing: She’s the founder of the national concert network (TIPCON) and president of the Independent Presenters Network (IPN). She’s also a Tony Awards voter and sits on the Board of Governors and Executive Committee of the Broadway League. She holds a master’s degree in Urban Studies from Cleveland State University’s Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs.