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Tuesday April 8, 2008

C.L. Jahn gives us a history of the last 2 years of the Coconut Grove Playhouse, and proclaims, “It’s time to admit it: the Coconut Grove Playhouse is dead.” But careful — what he means is the organization, not (necessarily) the idea of performances in that building (though that too seems unlikely for a long time, as the building is quite deteriorated). Bummer.

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Thursday August 16, 2007

Let's cut the Coconut Grove Playhouse some slack

coconut grove playhouse Miraculously, the Coconut Grove Playhouse appears to be on a slow road back to solvency. A foreclosure was avoided yesterday, and many of the major debts are repaid, including all the back-pay owed the former employees and actors. But:

Money owed to Actors’ Equity for salaries, pension and health insurance has been repaid, but because there are penalties outstanding, the theater and Mittelman remain on the union’s default list — meaning no Equity actor or stage manager can work at the theater until that debt is eliminated.

I say it’s time for Actors’ Equity to cut the playhouse some slack. “Promoting the theater arts” is central to AE’s stated mission, and with regional theaters all over the country struggling and/or closing, here’s their chance to put their money where their mouth is. If they drop their fines, they forgo some potential profit, but they help hasten a theater back to its feet, where it can employ their members again. The playhouse is doing the right thing, and a show of confidence from AE would be a welcome gesture. If you agree, let them know: here’s their contact page, and here’s a sample message you might send; feel free to cut-n-paste and modify to your liking:

As a theater fan in Miami, I support the Coconut Grove Playhouse. The playhouse has been struggling to pay off its obligations and reopen, and it has paid everything it owed to your members. Yet it remains on your organization’s default list because of unpaid fines for shortfalls during its most troubled period. Please help the Coconut Grove Playhouse get back on its feet — and begin to employ your members — by forgiving its outstanding debts to your organization. You’ll be helping to strengthen the theater scene in Miami, and sending a positive message of encouragement.

Photo by ImageMD.

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Wednesday January 3, 2007

“Grove Playhouse drops appeal of historic designation” basically because “the developer backed out of the deal.” The Coconut Grove Playhouse saga continues.

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Thursday September 21, 2006

Some harsh words for the Coconut Grove Playhouse’s board of directors. Good news for the Playhouse, tho.

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Thursday July 27, 2006

The Miami-Dade County Commission has given the Coconut Grove Playhouse $150,000 so its board can hire consultants to devise an economic plan for the debt-ridden theater. No, it’s not a joke.

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Tuesday May 16, 2006

Coconut Grove Playhouse director resigns

Unbelievable. Arnold Mittelman, artistic director of the Coconut Grove Playhouse resigned with an e-mail that accuses the board of treating him bad. Note that part of the reason for the mess is he took out an unauthorized $125,000 loan to cover salaries. Including his own. Which, by the way, just happens to be $220,000!

It sounds to me like his resignation will be helping the Playhouse out of its troubles in at least two distinct ways. Assuming, of course, that the place still has a chance. My guess is that only some government intervention can save the day at this point (and why not; a CGP bailout would be a lot less expensive then even just the most recent MPAC bailout).

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Sunday April 16, 2006

Miamista’s back with another sprawling post. Check him out on Arriola (#2) and the Coconut Grove Playhouse closing (#7).

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Thursday April 13, 2006

Coconut Grove Playhouse Clings To Life. It’s been a rough day for the playhouse. Unless a few more benefactors come forward, it’s going to be tough to keep going.

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Monday November 14, 2005

Coconut Grove Playhouse historical designation

The New Times accouses the Coconut Grove Playhouse board of hypocrisy. To encapsulate: the board of the Playhouse will appeal a decision declaring the building historical, even though they’ve played up its historical nature in the past, when it was to their advantage. The issue here is whether the whole building gets preserved, or just the facade, allowing the interior to be rebuilt, to accommodate a broader range of plays.

Sorry, but that is not hypocrisy – it’s business. Running an old theater takes lots of money, and if government grants are available to cover some of those expenses, an organization should use whatever reasonable argument it can to go after that money. Does that lock them into that line of reasoning for evermore? Hardly. The organization needs to do what they can to serve their community, and here, both solutions (preserve the exterior/rebuild the interior vs. preserve everything) have their obvious advantages. The Playhouse has the option to go back to the preservation board with a new plan, or appeal the decision to the city commission. When decisions this important need to be made, a long and bureaucratic process may just be the best way. (For more information, see the Grove First archive on the subject.)

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Tuesday October 11, 2005

Tuesday afternoon linkup

Update: Another python, this time eating a turkey.

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