By Lauren Grimaldi
Under the dimmed lights at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University,President Ali Malekzadeh and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Auditorium Theatre Charles R. Gardner welcomed the new Chief Executive Officer Tania Castroverde Moskalenko on center stage.
Gardner opened the short ceremony speaking to a crowd of many Chicago College of Performing Arts program members, university officials and Chicago Public School teachers giving a rich history of the theatre itself to the attendees, prior to praising Castroverde Moskalenko’s leadership as she begins this new role.
“In the end, the search committee found the perfect person for the job. We are all pleased and proud that Castroverde has joined us as CEO,” Gardner said.
President Malekzadeh said that a conversation with Castroverde during the interview process was when he knew she was the correct choice for the job.
Malekzadeh said he and the new CEO had a conversation about higher education and its general importance during her interview. According to the president, this moment is when he knew Castroverde Moskalenko would be the right person for this job.
He also explained how he feels that it is imperative to make sure that the theatre is kept up with.
“Imagine for a second a world without the performing arts,” Malekzadeh said. “Imagine we had no music and no dance and basically no culture. That’s what it comes down to.”
Because of this, Malekzadeh stressed the importance of the Auditorium Theatre to the university and the City of Chicago in general.
“I think we have found the perfect candidate with the right experience,” Malekzadeh said of Castroverde Moskalenko. “She has the right performance in her previous positions to move us forward to make sure that we do have cultural advances.”
The university president then opened the floor to Castroverde Moskalenko who began her speech discussing her journey from Cuba to the United States at the age of six. She described this process as a difficult one as she and her family had to wait for her aunt before they could begin to live in the U.S., but ultimately said that her journey illustrates “that we cannot escape our destiny.”
Speaking more on what she plans to do specifically as CEO, Castroverde Moskalenko wants to restore the theatre to its original glory in addition to diversifying the theater in terms of both leadership, content and audience members.
“This theatre must fulfill its destiny,” Castroverde Moskalenko said. “It is my privilege and honor to be in charge, but I also want to invite you to join me in this journey.”
When asked specifically about the relationship between Roosevelt and the Auditorium Theatre, the CEO said she plans to engage students more in the relationship and generally work with the university more in terms of getting more RU community members involved in the Auditorium.
“My desire would be that all 60,000 students who are in this downtown area would start attending the Auditorium,” Castroverde Moskalenko said. “And I think we can do that through programming, I bet if I brought someone the students wanted to see that they would come here.”
Castroverde Moskalenko also said, however, that the two entities, both Roosevelt and the theatre, need to start working together to build a better relationship and sustain both for the future.
“I am trying right now to figure out how is it that we work together so that we can lift each other up. For example, when I look at the Roosevelt website I’m not seeing the theatre anywhere,” Castroverde Moskalenko said. “I think there has to be an education process and we have to really work hand-in-hand to make sure that all the students know that they’re welcome here.”