Mark Fleischer ’91 began work at the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera (CLO) as the Associate Artistic Director in 2014 and through a series of promotions and expanded responsibilities, he was selected in July 2021 as the Executive Leader of this 75-year-old musical theatre company.
As Executive Producer I am responsible for all creative items from picking the shows we produce, hiring the artists, and coordinating the path to opening night. In day-to-day operations, I work closely with the marketing and fundraising team to secure financial resources that enable us to fulfill our mission. I work with the Board of Directors to plot strategy for the future and how we would emerge from the COVID shutdown. I oversee a full-time staff of 32 with many additional seasonal, artistic, and adjunct education personnel who join our team for various projects and events.
About the CLO In Mark’s words:
PITTSBURGH CLO has been a driving force behind the preservation, creation, and promotion of live musical theater since 1946. As one of the largest regional musical theater organizations in the country, it is fortunate for the yearly support of nearly 200,000 audience members. In addition to producing fresh new productions of Broadway classics, the not-for-profit’s mission is to develop new works and showcase emerging talent and has been credited with launching the careers of numerous artists such as Billy Porter, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Rob Marshall, Kathleen Marshall, Rob Ashford, Bernadette Peters, and Shirley Jones.
The organization’s dedication to musical theater extends beyond its six-show Summer Season at the Benedum Center to year-round programming at the 250-seat Cabaret Theater and an annual production of A Musical Christmas Carol. Its extensive education efforts include the Pittsburgh CLO Academy of Musical Theater; a university internship program; New Horizons for students with disabilities, and in-school programs Gallery of Heroes and Creative Vision. Other ongoing initiatives include The Gene Kelly Awards for Excellence in High School Musical Theater and SPARK, a festival for new small-cast musicals launched in 2018. The organization also founded the National High School Musical Theatre Awards/ Jimmy Awards.
To further its mission to grow the art form, Pittsburgh CLO has been involved with 29 Broadway shows (32 Tony Awards), and in 2014 produced the world premiere of An American in Paris in Paris, then on Broadway, where it won 4 Tony Awards, and in London, Tokyo, Pittsburgh and throughout the U.S. and Europe.
“I have such fond memories of my time at Austin College and the work I did in Ida Green as a student actor, director, and designer,” Fleischer said. “My time there and the liberal arts education I received provided me the problem-solving tools to succeed in my chosen profession.”
How to put on a show after all the 2020 pandemic madness? Look to the Pittsburgh Steelers and their Heinz Stadium. VCLO had lost 252 performances during the shutdown, but the show would go on! Fleisher and his team produced two musicals in the stadium in July 2021.
Mark is very proud of the work CLO did in its outside-the-box approach to bringing theatre back to Pittsburgh.