Saturday, February 16, 2008

Two Classics Return

Two stories in the Herald herald the return of two names familiar to South Florida theatre lovers: the Hollywood Playhouse, and Rafael de Acha.

The Playhouse had closed after a bitter fight; the director, the board, and the person who bought the property were all at odds with each other. Some of the artists involved went on to start their own companies elsewhere, and we all wondered what the future would bring. At one point, there was talk about tearing the theater down to develop the land, but a deed restriction decrees the land can only host a theater.

So it appears that Gary Posner has refurbished the 60 year old facility, and re-opened it. The new Hollywood Playhouse is neither a community theater nor a production house; it's more like the Cuillo Center in West Palm Beach. They won't actually produce plays, but they will book productions in, and rent the space to producing companies.

Rafael de Acha, Herald file photoRafael de Acha stepped down as Artistic Director of New Theatre just about two years ago. He had taken the small company to great heights of success, including commissioning Nilo Cruz to write Anna in the Tropics, which premiered at their small theater in Coral Gables. The play went on to win the Pulitzer Prize, the first time a play has done that without a New York production. Since then, the play has not only been produced on Broadway, but in numerous regional theaters across the country.

de Acha and his wife, actor Kimberly Daniels, have had a tumultuous two years, but are stepping back into the theatre scene with a new project, Theatre By The Book. It's a series of play readings to be staged at Coral Gables Congregational Church. It looks like he'll be calling on a lot of the talent he's directed in years past, and that bodes well for us all. The program will consist of classic, large-cast plays; the ones no one can afford to produce as fully staged productions.

I'm very excited about Theatre By The Book; it will fill a large gap in the local theater scene. I'm also excited to discover that Rafael has a blog; he's one of theatre's most astute scholars, and it's great to discover that he's sharing it with us. Kudos, Rafi.

And call me if you need another voice.


  1. Christopher, I too am glad to find your blog out there. May I create a link from mine to yours? Do let me know when you get a minute. Thanks for the good wishes! And email me with your telephone number and email address. Look, it's 29 roles I need to cast in Our Town, so, yes, I can use another voice, man! The Equity rep Dog Truelsen, who guided me all along now as before, told me he thought I was totally insane to undertake this! RDA

  2. I don't have your email; mine is chrisjahn AT fastmail DOT us

    And of course, you're insane. We all are. We'd have to be! :-)

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