Posted by Al Anile
Michael Pauken, Director of the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie (this picture is from 2014)
 
Michael Pauken, a long time friend of the Rotary Club of Skokie Valley was the guest speaker at our zoom meeting of July 14, 2020.  He spoke about the hardship the North Shore Center is going through during these COVID-19 though time.  Regardless, Michael remains positive and confident that with the appropriate modifications and community support all will be well.
 
Michael Pauken joined the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie as general manager in 2002. Prior to joining the North Shore Center, Michael managed numerous theatrical productions including the long-running Forever Plaid in Chicago, Milwaukee and Seattle. Other Chicago credits include Catch! with the Flying Karamazov Brothers, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor DreamcoatFully Committed, and ART all at the Royal George Theatre, The Vagina Monologues starring Eve Ensler at the Apollo Theater, and the award-winning The Bomb-itty of Errors at both Chicago Shakespeare Theatre on Navy Pier and at the Royal George Theatre. Michael also produced the Chicago premiere of the musical Whoop-Dee-Doo! and booked and managed the popular Sing-a-Long Sound of Music in Chicago and throughout the Midwest. Michael spent five years with the League of Chicago Theatres in various capacities including interim executive director, director of marketing and manager of the popular Hot Tix half-price ticket program. He has also worked for Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and The Broward Center for the Performing Arts in Ft Lauderdale, Florida. A native of Columbus, Ohio, Michael managed theatres and produced shows there as well as held jobs at the Columbus Arts Council and the Columbus Chamber of Commerce. Michael has served on the board of Chicago’s North Shore Convention and Visitor’s Bureau since 2002 and was chair of that organization from 2004 to 2006 and again in 2016-2017. He is a past member of the board of directors for the Skokie Chamber of Commerce and a member of the Skokie Valley Kiwanis.
 
History of The North Shore Center for the Performing Arts
 
The unique, Award-Winning, State-of-the-Art performance venue designed by Boston based architect/developer Graham Gund opened in November 1996. In 1998 the North Shore Center was presented with the National Commercial Builder’s Award of Excellence Merit Award, Division IV. Capable of hosting a wide variety of performing arts, corporate and special events, the North shore Center is a multi-purpose, modern, efficient theatre facility with 68,000 square feet of space. World famous performers, tradeshows, and local productions are equally at home.
 
The facility was conceived in the mid 1980’s when Dorothy Litwin (former Executive Director of Centre East) applied to the State of Illinois for funding under the “Build Illinois Program”. The Village of Skokie supported the project as an economic stimulus to the area and as a cultural asset to the community. The Centre East Metropolitan Exposition, Auditorium and Office Building Authority was then created by the State of Illinois as the owner of the new performing arts center. The Village of Skokie appoints six of the nine members of the Authority aboard and Niles Township appoints three members. Professional Facilities Management (PFM) has managed the North Shore Center since its opening.
 
The North Shore Center was constructed at a cost of $18 million. The State of Illinois contributed $13.2 million and the Village of Skokie $3.4 million. The remaining construction funds were contributed by the Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Foundation and other private donors. Northlight Theatre raised additional dollars for the build-out of its namesake theatre.
 
Shortly after it opened, the North Shore Center hosted the pre-Broadway tryout of the musical You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown starring Kristen Chenoweth and Anthony Rapp. The North Shore Center has been the home to the Chicago Theatre Community’s annual Joseph Jefferson Awards seven times. Among the stars that have performed on the North Shore Center stages are Bob Newhart, Kathy Griffin, Queen Latifah, Bill Maher, Rita Moreno, Paula Poundstone, Neil Sedaka, Joffrey Ballet, Twyla Tharp Dance Company, The Capitol Steps, and many more.