Playhouse Square Cuts Staff, Expects $4M Revenue Loss From COVID-19

A Playhouse Square sign is lit-up high above the currently dormant theater district
Playhouse Square is reducing staff by 193 employees due to an anticipated loss of almost $4 million in 2020.[Shutterstock]

With theaters dark until at least the end of August, Playhouse Square announced that it is laying off or furloughing nearly 200 employees. It’s the latest blow to the local arts community due to the pandemic.

Playhouse Square is reducing staff by 193 employees due to an anticipated loss of almost $4 million in 2020. A statement issued by the performing arts non-profit says more than 450 performances and events have been canceled or postponed since closing theaters in March, including touring Broadway shows. The reductions mostly affect part-time employees idled by the closings. The statement says Playhouse Square will help those laid off with accessing unemployment. The organization anticipates that the furloughed workers could come back as soon as late summer.

Playhouse Square President and CEO Gina Vernaci is quoted in the statement as saying, "We must take the necessary measures to overcome the impact caused by the crisis so that Playhouse Square can return to a place of strength, continue our not-for-profit mission and welcome our audiences back safely."

Vernaci also stated that, though the rebound would be lengthy, the organization would explore “creative solutions and new possibilities, including working with our resident companies to present their shows in our larger spaces this fall.”

A Playhouse Square publicist said Vernaci has been in contact with Governor Mike DeWine's office about the eventual lifting of performance restrictions in Ohio. The governor has yet to announce any dates or plans for reopening theaters.

Ticket holders for delayed or canceled performances can get refunds, receive credit to their accounts or donate the ticket value to Playhouse Square.

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