Susie Louiso

By The Children's Theatre

TCT’s former (and first official) Executive Director and M.O.M. (Master Of Management)

Susie and Jack Louiso

Susan G. Louiso, age 79 of Cincinnati, Ohio passed away January 31st, 2022.

She is survived by her husband, Jack Louiso; daughters, Janie, Lynnie and Nancy H. Schwartz; grandson, Mateo Orlando Martinez Schwartz; stepsons, John Louiso and Todd Louiso (Sarah); step-grandsons, August and Bruno Louiso; sister, Edie Slotkin; and cousin, Kathy Buchman. Susie was Aunt Susie and an amazing friend to many. She was the daughter of the late Bert and Dr. David Graller.

Visionary. Advocate. Backbone. Glue. M.O.M. (Master of Management, that is.) As the former Executive Director of The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati, Susie Louiso kept the company focused, fiscally responsible, and allowed creativity to soar.

Susie was an unsung hero. She produced all productions of The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati between 1993 and 2011. She was the heartbeat of what went on behind the scenes. Without her, there would be no Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati as you know it today.

Many people don’t know what a theater producer does. But, according to wikipedia.com, a theater producer is the person “ultimately responsible for overseeing all aspects of mounting a theater production.” From fundraising to creating and overseeing budgets, working with directors and playwrights, negotiating with unions, day-to-day business with creative and backstage staff, dealing with theater issues, and basically shepherding each production element for each show from start to finish, this is the job Susie Louiso so carefully undertook for 18 years.

So, where does a woman of such influence get her start?

Kindergarten through first grade, Susie attended South Avondale Elementary School. In 1949, she attended North Avondale Elementary School when it opened, from second grade until sixth grade. Then, Walnut Hills High School from 1955-1960. Susie graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a degree in K-3 Education in 1963 she decided to study primary education because she didn’t want her students to be taller than she was! She student-taught at Whitacre Elementary School in Finneytown. In 1976, Susie co-chaired a Jewish Hospital holiday show, which Jack Louiso was directing. It was there that the two met for the first time.

In 1978, Susie was the President of the Board of Trustees of the Cincinnati Adolescent Clinic, Inc., a division of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. She also volunteered (what was supposed to be) one day a week to work on publicity at the celebrated Cincinnati School for Creative and Performing Arts (SCPA). Instead, she ended up being a five-day-a-week volunteer.

After two 90-hour weeks of volunteering during SCPA Music Theatre performances of The Wiz in Washington D.C., Susie was offered a job. She served as Development Director at the School for Creative and Performing Arts from 1981-82. One of her most significant accomplishments was instating the school’s first fundraising Gala celebrating the production of The King and I.

Susie also was the Production Coordinator and Producer for all of the school’s productions from 1982 to June 1993, including overseeing performances in Japan, Germany, and France. In addition, she produced the opening of Procter & Gamble Company’s International headquarters and the opening ceremony of the World Figure Skating Championships.

The year before Susie Louiso became Executive Director at The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati, the company’s budget was $50,000, and the organization served 22,000 people. When she, Artistic Director Jack Louiso, and one box office manager became the staff, they had to fundraise their own salaries and increased the budget to $450,000.

Fast forward 18 years. When Susie retired, The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati’s budget was $2 million, the company served 250,000 people, and the staff was 14 people strong.

At the end of the 2010-2011 season, Susie Louiso stepped down as Executive Director. Words can never describe the debt of gratitude the staff, the Board of Directors, and the city has to this one tiny powerhouse who transformed a small arts organization into a magical institution that has made a difference in the lives of countless young people.

A foundation will be established in the coming weeks in the names of Susie and Jack Louiso, for the benefit of youth arts education organizations including The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati and SCPA.

At this time, we ask you to please allow the family space and time to grieve, and continue to keep them in your thoughts and prayers. In lieu of flowers or immediate donations, the family would like everyone to register for information or pledge donations to the foundation by emailing susieandjacklouisofoundation@gmail.com.

By registering, you will be notified about the details of the memorial service and the official announcement of a foundation.