Lawrence J. Wilker, president of the Playhouse Square Foundation in Cleveland and a former Shubert Organization exec, will join the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts July 1 as chief operating officer. He will report to center chairman James D. Wolfensohn.
Wolfensohn said Wilker, 48, was chosen after a four-month search for a day-to-day honcho with combined experience in theater, management of a complex arts facility, fundraising and community outreach. At Playhouse Square, Wilker operated three theaters that host or produce more than 500 performances annually. He joined the facility in 1982.
His duties included responsibility for the largest theater restoration project in the world, including helping raise $40 million to fund the project.
Prior to joining the Playhouse Square Foundation, Wilker spent two years with the Shubert Organization as director of properties. From 1977 to 1980 he served as veep of the Eugene O’Neill Memorial Theater Foundation.
Wilker is expected to help select a successor to Drew Murphy, general manager of theaters at the Kennedy Center, who ankles May 10 to become g.m. of the new North Carolina Performing Arts Center in Charlotte.