Local leaders want to brainstorm with the public about the future of the historic Coconut Grove Playhouse in Miami. The long-shuttered theater’s fortunes have turned 180 degrees in the past months, as an effort to revitalize the playhouse has solidified. Nick Madigan wrote for the Miami Herald that Grove residents will have three chances to share their ideas with members of the village council and the playhouse’s advisory committee:
Residents are invited to present their views at 6 p.m. Friday at Miami City Hall, 3500 Pan American Dr., during the first of three proposed "public brainstorming" meetings about the theater.
The idea is to assess the views of people who live near the theater and pass them on to county officials who are studying plans for the building, said Javier Gonzalez, the chairman of the village council.
“Our goal is to gain insight as to residents’ concerns and then present these topics to the county as a neighborhood consensus,” he said.
After being closed for eight years, Miami-Dade County and Florida International University are partnering to reopen the theater -- and keep it open for at least 50 years. The state handed the reigns over to the county and the university after taking back ownership of the property in 2012 from a nonprofit board that was tasked with running the playhouse. Critics say the board financially mismanaged the historic theater.
The playhouse originally opened in 1927 as a movie theater called the Player’s State Theater. In the 1950s, oilman George Engle saw potential for a live performing theater and, a million-dollar renovation later, reopened it as the Coconut Grove Playhouse.
The end goal, under the latest renovation plan, is for the playhouse to become Coconut grove’s resident professional theater as well as a home to the award-winning theater group GableStage.
Kelley Mitchell's reporting contributed to this story.