A beloved Cleveland name, Vincent Dowling, died on May 10th at 83 due to complications following surgery.
The majority of Clevelanders would remember Mr. Dowling as the leader of the Great Lakes Theater Company. Vincent Dowling led the Great Lakes Theater for nine seasons in the 1970's and early 1980's. During his time in Cleveland, Dowling had many memorable productions including, the 1912 revival of the comedy Peg O' My Heart, the Emmy-winning Playboy of the Western World, and his own adaptation of the A Child's Christmas in Wales.
Vincent Dowling was an acclaimed actor and had a well-established career in his native Ireland. By the time Dowling came to America, he had performed 100 leading roles at Ireland's National Theater, The Abbey.
Dowling discovered Oscar-winning actor, Tom Hanks. Vincent met Tom while doing summer stock in California and brought him to Cleveland. In Cleveland, the then 20-year-old actor spent three summers mastering his craft under Dowling's direction. Tom Hanks once credited Vincent Dowling with teaching him "Everything I know about the theater."
Vincent Dowling's creative productions of works by Shakespeare and Irish playwrights created a new audience for classic theater in Cleveland. The Great Lakes Theater Company became the first regional theater company in America to stage Dicken's Nickleby which the Plain Dealer called, "the Cleveland theatrical event of the decade." Vincent Dowling's theatrical genius will be missed in Cleveland.