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Sunday, March 03, 2013

Upbeat news regarding Coconut Grove Playhouse

Depiction of  "new playhouse" presented by Richard Heisenbottle
The Dade Heritage Trust held their meeting last week where architect Richard Heisenbottle presented his plans for the Coconut Grove Playhouse. Mr. Heisenbottle's plans will please all historians, in that it does not call for a demolition of the current building. In fact, it makes the current structure into an elegant structure with retail on the first floor, facing Main Highway and Charles Avenue. Awnings give it an urban feel, the cool, beige color makes it look majestic.

He is quite sure the grandeur can be returned to the playhouse without hurting the current structure. The seating capacity would be reduced to 700. Most of the interior would of course be redone including the stage area, but this is good in that it would allow larger productions and allow for larger sets. The basic plan calls for restoration and not demolition.

Mr. Heisenbottle knows the history of the playhouse very well, he knows details and dates from all previous renovations and restorations. He's very interested in seeing that the right thing be done with the structure.

Artist Lisa Remeny, longtime Grove resident, was present at the meeting. She told me, "Richard Heisenbottle has the best plan I heard yet for truly renovating and restoring the playhouse to its former glory. He actually has renovated many theaters including The Colony [in South Beach] and we all should get behind his plan."

Depiction of interior of  "new" playhouse.

County Commissioner Xavier Suarez was instrumental in helping get this plan presented, he and his aide J.C. Garrido, have worked tirelessly on the project. They and Mr. Heisenbottle suggest that the Governor get involved, his support is needed so that the state can take action. Governor Rick Scott may be reached at 850-488-7146 and at rick.scott@eog.myflorida.com To contact Commissioner Suarez to see how you may help, and to thank him for his endless support, please call 305-375-5680 or email District7@miamidade.gov.

Renderings provided by architect Richard Heisenbottle.

1926 Image of the Coconut Grove Playhouse.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! Good info. was discussing at dinner with my Cloisters neighbors last night.

March 03, 2013 2:29 PM  
Blogger C.L.J. said...

Any actual theater professionals involved in these plans? Because without consulting someone who works in the industry, the plans won't even be worth the paper they're printed on.

March 03, 2013 8:55 PM  
Anonymous MJB3 said...

That Proscenium looks awfully small. What kind of limited productions can be done with that small and low a stage area? Community plays and local music concerts and kids plays?

March 03, 2013 9:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

please dont bring the plathouse back ive live here for over 50 years and there was never anything worth it in the playhouse to start with and the grove needs a bit of a better night life its so boring hear now my grandkids dont even go here anymore

March 04, 2013 7:32 PM  
Blogger Ana Bikic said...

It is a shame that so few understand the prestigious history the Coconut Grove Playhouse has. read Carol Cohan's Broardway By The Bay,Pickering Press 1986. The list of stars,famous playwrights and Broadway premiers was the envy of the Nation. The CG Playhouse was the most important regional stage. Mr. Heisenbottle's plan actually calls for two stages,by increasing the capacity of the encore room. This will allow for double billing and a varied program that can include comedy,art performance and film screening to coincide with the City's current annual activities. In fact there has not been a time more relevant to reopen a working stage in the Grove. It will energize the Hotels and local restaurants. Miami Art Reviews were at the DHT meeting and Tom's grapevine block is vital in getting the word out that this treasure of South Florida be once again an engine of the Arts. In 1963 it was the Playhouse's production of Irma la Douce that created the Coconut Grove Arts festival. Having two stages working during the CGA Festival for performances would be excellent. Miami Art Reviews

March 13, 2013 12:03 PM  

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