Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Coconut Grove Playhouse back in the News

There is an article in today's Miami Herald; the Grove isn't fully dead yet, but folks are picking at its carcass. (click on title to view article)

Creditors are foreclosing on a parcel known as "the bike shop" that served as collateral on a 2004 loan.

The board still maintains that they will re-open the theatre, although they haven't done anything to secure its current assets; all its inventory - costumes, props, lighting and sound gear - have been left in a structure that has largely been condemned. Prior to its closing, staff often had to deal with dozens of roof leaks; covering equipment with plastic, shifting costume racks around, and placement of buckets to minimize water damage.

The building has been sitting empty for over a year; nobody has been mitigating the water, and the air conditioning hasn't been running. This has likely destroyed most or all of their costume inventory. Much of the equipment is probably in dire condition at this point.

Even if the board manages to overcome the standing debt, even if they manage to get the unions to work with them again, even if they come up with a way to produced a new season of theater, it's now highly likely that they will have to spend millions to clean up their physical plant before they can perform a single night in the space.

All of us in the theater community want to see the Grove open again, but they have a tremendous mountain to climb before they can do it, and it's only getting steeper.

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