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Youngstown Playhouse meets, elects new board of directors



Published: Wed, July 27, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



The Playhouse has reduced its debt to around $50,000.

YOUNGSTOWN -- Raising money, supervising personnel, reviewing policies and being goodwill ambassadors to the community.

That's the daunting challenge facing the newly elected board of directors at The Youngstown Playhouse. "They are the true captains of the ship," said Bentley Lenhoff, executive director.

The board was elected at the Playhouse's annual membership meeting Monday, the first to undertake a full season since the upheaval at the theater swept out the previous board and installed Lenhoff as director.

Returning president

Lenhoff said board president Anthony Donofrio is back in that post after "a great job" last year.

"He deserves credit for coming into a situation where there were many, many problems," Lenhoff said.

Donofrio, who wasn't available to comment Tuesday, took over a board that was hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. With a series of successful shows, plus negotiated settlements for some debts, that burden was reduced to around $50,000, Lenhoff said.

The theater also faced a copyright infringement lawsuit involving a 2002 production of a musical based on Youngstown's former amusement park Idora.

In a report to the stockholders at the Monday meeting, Lenhoff said the copyright suit has been settled for $16,000. He said season subscribers have increased from 25 in August 2004 to 1,823 today.

The new roster

Board vice president Michael Jordon and treasurer David Wolfe return from last year. An added VP slot is filled by Deborah Kaleel. Joann Barry is new to the board and the post of secretary.

Other returning board members include Jack Ballantyne, Monica Beasley-Martin, Nathan Bell, John Burgan, Marc Dann, Darlene DiLullo, David Frank, Rennie Griffith, Jim Kaster, Lynn Kirkwood, Betty Jo Licata, Harry Meshel, Joe Scarvell, Sis Soller, Ruth Wean, Krista White, Glenda Whitehouse and Rick Woolford.

New members are Rand Becker, John Grove, Dennis Henneman, Richard Machuga, Paul Musselman and David Rees.

Lenhoff told the board he plans to offer a seminar to train new directors for theater productions.

Meanwhile, Lenhoff will be looking for a successor, and feels a good board of directors will be especially crucial when the new executive director takes over, especially if that person is from outside.

He said he'll stay for the near future. "I'll get us out of debt."

Lenhoff added that once the theater is on solid ground, he'll step down.

"I'll be taking my exit. I'm 75. Until that time, I'm here, and I need a good board."




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