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Monday, April 02, 2012

Hundreds came out in support of Grove Playhouse

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It was estimated that 500 people showed up late Monday afternoon for the "Give It Back" rally, in support of the Coconut Grove Playhouse. After six years of being shuttered, the villagers of Coconut Grove feel that enough is enough and they demand that the Playhouse reopen in some way, shape or form. Local politicians, actor, Andy Garcia and so many neighbors showed up in support of the campaign.

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A large yellow ribbon came out at the end of the rally and the playhouse was literally wrapped in the yellow. Cheerleaders from a local school lead the hundreds in cheers and children did their part, for instance, brothers Lucas and Marcus Perra, sang "God Bless America," on the temporary stage set up in the back parking lot of the Playhouse.

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Nathan Kurland, leader of the crusade, spoke and then emceed the few speakers who spoke for a few minutes each.

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Miami historian, Arva Moore Parks spoke on the behalf of the playhouse through the history that she knows. She spoke of various people who were there at the beginning. One, named Estelle Overstreet, a Grove pioneer, born in 1909, claims that fresh water sand was used to build the old 1927 building and apparently fresh water sand is very sound. In Arva's words, the building is "salvageable." She said, "The theater needs to be restored, the theater needs to be opened. Give it back!"

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David Collins, BID director said that right after the Playhouse closed, 11 restaurants in the area, closed right away, and some in the audience snickered and said coincidentally, the 3 am bar closing time came into affect, too. But no matter, you can't deny that the Playhouse as a large economic engine for the Grove. In fact, yesterday's rally was proof. Right after the rally, all the restaurants and bars in the vacinity were mobbed with people from the rally having dinner and drinks (I had the lobster at Calamari). So the economic engine was thriving last night due to the Playhouse.

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Earlier in the day, a letter went out by Clay Smallwood, Director of Division of State Lands, requesting that County Mayor Carlos Giminez turn over the Playhouse to the Board of Trustees. More on that later. In the meantime, the partying went on into the night. The big yellow ribbon first was marched down toward Greenstreets at Main Highway and Commodore Plaza, the crowd turned up Commodore and went around the block, back into the Playhouse parking lot to end the rally.

Lots more pictures of today's events here on Facebook.

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2 Comments:

Blogger C.L.J. said...

For every dollar invested in the performing arts, eight dollars of economic activity occurs in the community.

It's a shame this was scheduled opposite the Carbonell Awards, South Florida's most important night for theater; had it been scheduled any other night of the year, you'd have had the people who actually worked in the Grove and the people who could actually create a new theater for the grove in attendance.

BTW, anyone alive when the Grove was built was likely too young to know what kind of sand was used in construction unless they actually bought the sand and mixed it into the cement themselves. Me, I'll believe the technical staff of the Coconut Grove Playhouse, who are in agreement that very little steel reinforcement is left in the building.

April 03, 2012 1:48 AM  
Blogger Ali said...

Going in the right direction. With 5am sort of back and hopefully the proper and speedy reopening of the Playhouse, Coconut Grove may slowly begin to look like its heydays again. Next we need to scrap and say goodbye to Coconut Grove BID a true boondoggle and waste of money that can be put to good use only by those who earn it.

April 03, 2012 2:32 PM  

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