Julia Wesselkamper Group: Playhouse in the Park - Celebrating & Supporting the Power of Live Theatre in Cincinnati

Julia Wesselkamper Group: Playhouse in the Park - Celebrating & Supporting the Power of Live Theatre in Cincinnati

Generations of Cincinnatians have enjoyed theatrical productions at Playhouse in the Park, which recently ushered in its 63rd year. The 2023-24 season is particularly exciting because it marks the grand opening of the all-new Mainstage Theatre Complex. The building houses Moe and Jack’s Place –The Rouse Theatre, which features a 537-seat stage named after Moe and Jack Rouse, who gave the lead gift that helped make this once-in-a-generation project possible.

“There are people coming to our production of A Christmas Carol who came as children, and now they’re bringing their children,” notes Blake Robison, Producing Artistic Director at Playhouse in the Park. “That sort of arts tradition is deeply embedded in Cincinnati.”

Robison heralds Playhouse in the Park as the center of Cincinnati’s thriving arts ecology. He describes the Mainstage Theatre Complex as “the theatre of the future.” But it’s not just the theatre that makes the new complex magnificent, he notes. There’s also a beautiful new lobby, two fantastic rehearsal studios, and amazing backstage areas. Robison believes it’s the best theatre facility in the country.

“I’ve worked at theatres all over the nation, and I can tell you that nobody else has a theatre as beautiful and state-of-the-art as this one,” he says.

In March, Playhouse in the Park presented “Chorus Line,” its first big production in the Mainstage Theatre Complex. It enjoyed a sold-out, five-week run.

In addition to Playhouse in the Park bringing diverse works of great artistry featuring the best people in the industry to Cincinnati, it has a proven track record of creating shows that move on to perform at theatres across the country. Occasionally, a show will transfer to Broadway, such as Stephen Sondheim’s musical, “Company,” which won a Tony Award.

“Most people know the Playhouse because they come to see a show, but they don’t realize how busy we are out in the community all year long,” Robison continues. He notes that the Playhouse provides an extensive education and outreach program that serves between 50,000 and 60,000 children per year by sending artists into the classrooms, offering summer camps and presenting morning matinee performances.

“The arts tell us who we are and who we can be. We reflect people’s experiences back at them,” Robison says. “By introducing people to stories and cultures that are not their own, we bridge cultural divides. We talk about what the future could be. Playwrights like to imagine what society could become ideally.”

Equality for All

Realtor and Home Staging Stylist Julia Wesselkamper, owner of The Julia Wesselkamper Group, is a long-time loyal supporter of the Cincinnati arts community. She has attended productions at the Playhouse in the Park for many years and has served on its board of trustees for the past eight.

“If you know Julia, you know that when she commits to something, she’s all in,” says Robison. “She’s a model board member and a great ambassador for the arts.”

“It is beyond an honor to be associated with The Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park,” Wesselkamper says. We not only have world-class, Tony Award-winning theatre, but deeply rooted community and charitable works actively happening daily to improve the lives of others. Blake Robison’s leadership has been second to none, and it is inspiring!”

Wesselkamper and her spouse, Julie Johnson, also support the Cincinnati Opera. On Saturday, July 8, the couple will be honored at The Cincinnati Opera’s Pride Night, which celebrates Greater Cincinnati’s LGBTQIA+ community.

“Julia and Julie have been generous supporters of Cincinnati Opera’s annual Pride events over the years,” says Nicolette Rader, Events Manager and Staff Liaison for Center Stage Board Associates at Cincinnati Opera. “They were also a large part of the successful promotion for our 2016 world premiere of ‘Fellow Travelers’ by Gregory Spears, the acclaimed opera that centers on LGBTQ+ characters.

“We are delighted that they agreed to be our 2023 Pride Night honorees,” Rader continues. “We’re truly inspired by their compassion for their fellow citizens and the work they do throughout the community to promote equality for all.”

Adds Wesselkamper, “Julie and I believe in living with open hands for others. We believe we are called to serve others, give back generously, and bring others with us as we rise. It’s how we were raised and what we are committed to as a family.”

Volunteer of the Year Nominees

Both Wesselkamper and Robison have been nominated to receive the annual National Philanthropy Day Volunteer of the Year award for their Playhouse Pride Committee leadership, notes Bethany Doverspike, Playhouse in the Park Director of Development. The award, she explains, is given to an individual or group that has generously devoted their time to support an organization or cause, encourages others to do the same, and serves as a role model for other community volunteers.

National Philanthropy Day (NPD) is a day set aside for members of the Association of Fundraising Professionals to promote philanthropy and recognize individuals, organizations and businesses inspiring change through their significant impact on nonprofit organizations. This year’s NPD celebration will be held Thursday, Nov. 16, at Cincinnati Music Hall.

“Each and every day, the staff at the Playhouse holds a deep appreciation for Julia and Blake and the tireless work they do on our behalf,” Doverspike says.

Are you looking to buy or sell a home? Contact The Julia Wesselkamper Group at Julia@juliawesselkampergroup.com, visit www.juliawesselkampergroup.com, or call 513-720-4496.

For more information about the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, visit www.cincyplay.com.

For more information about the Cincinnati Opera, visit www.cincinnatiopera.org.

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