By GUY D’ASTOLFO
The board of directors of The Youngstown Playhouse has named Bernie Appugliese operations manager.
Appugliese had been serving as interim operations manager of the theater since February. He will manage daily operations of the Playhouse and report directly to the board.
He also will be charged with developing community partnerships.
“As we are on the doorstep to our 90th season, we needed to cement a permanent position for Bernie,” said Tom DeToro, president of the board of directors. “We are very excited about what is happening at the Playhouse and are going into the historic year on solid ground. The Playhouse is a treasure in our community, and we are ready to highlight our work, past and present.”
DeToro said the board felt that Appugliese had shown tremendous passion and energy in his time as interim operations manager and that it will be an easy transition to permanent status.
“With Bernie in a permanent position, we hope to continue our momentum from the fantastic productions to end our 89th season, including many sold-out shows of ‘The Wiz,’ ‘Tuesdays with Morrie’ and the most successful year of Voices of the Valley [new one-act play festival].”
Appugliese also will oversee the renovations to the Playhouse’s front room, which will be used for rehearsals, meetings and rentals. The room is just off the main lobby. Funding for the project will come from grants from the Youngstown Foundation and the J. Ford Crandall Foundation.
“I am very excited to stay on as operations manager at this incredible theater,” said Appugliese, who replaced former executive director Mary Ruth Lynn after she was let go by the board. “I am even more excited by the show of support I received from the board of directors and especially the theater community when I stepped into the position. They identified the challenges, some major, some minor, and acted quickly to fix them. And because of that, the second half of our past season was extremely successful. The positive attitude with which we started the new year was reflected in everything from show quality to ticket sales.”
Appugliese said the Playhouse has experienced a return to its roots as a true community theater, both on stage and off.
“People made it known that they want the Youngstown Playhouse to be here for another 90 years,” he said. “I am honored to help make that happen.”