They want it back; now!
Have you seen the yellow ribbons going up on trees all over town? Well people are mad as hell and they're not going to take it anymore. But no, this isn't what you think. It's not about the trees. It's about the Coconut Grove Playhouse!
There is a movement planned by the Village of Center Grove (VOCG) neighborhood group. They have a plan for April 2 -- the goal is to get 1000 people or more to show up to take over the Playhouse as part of their "Give It Back" campaign. In the coming weeks, you'll see people sporting yellow wristbands and buttons that say "Give It Back."
Nathan Kurland, Grove resident, professional actor and member of the VOCG is the leader of the group demanding the return of the Playhouse, that's Nathan above with Cecilia Gill. Other members of the community-based steering committee are Cecilia Gill, Joyce Nelson, Sue McConnell, Teresa Sarnoff, M. Peggy Quattro, Kitty Harring and David Collins. "Give It Back," says Nathan. "The time has come for action. If we are ever going to have a chance to bring back the Playhouse, then the people of Coconut Grove must once again gather together and stand up for our community. In terms of our future here, this is the big banana."
Grove Ambassador Louis Del Borrello is part of the "Give It Back" movement, if you have questions about the April 2 meetup, you can ask him about the plan when you see him around town.
The Coconut Grove Playhouse Board of Directors was freely given and accepted official ownership and responsibility for the Playhouse in 2004 by the State of Florida. Since that time, it had been run into the ground. It closed, finally, in 2006, in financial ruin. Lucie Arnaz's play, "Sonja Flew" was the last play to be performed, and the sets are still sitting on the stage, full of dust. The Playhouse has been shuttered since April 2006. The Playhouse opened in 1926 as part of Paramount Picture's movie chain. It changed from a movie house to live theater in the 1950s. "Waiting for Godot," opened there on January 3, 1956, staring Bert Lahr and Tom Ewell. It was an economic engine for Coconut Grove for all those years through 2006.
This is where you can help. This is a call to action. The "Give It Back" gathering will take place on Monday, April 2, at the Playhouse (3500 Main Highway) from 5:30 to 6:30 pm. Please just show up!The goal is to attract 1000 people or more to make a huge statement. People are fed up with the Playhouse board and something needs to be done now.
Grove civic leader, Mel Meinhardt points out, "The long vacant Playhouse has become an increasing haven for drug use, a civic and business eyesore and a target for mounting vandalism and an ever growing drain on the precious public safety resources. Give it back to the arts, give it back to heritage, give it back to the community, give it back to our children, give it back to business vitality, give it back to Miami and for heaven's sake, let's give it back to Coconut Grove!"
A new Facebook page to keep you up-to-date and to give details about the whole issue is forthcoming.
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