Sunday, August 3, 2008

Status Check: Coconut Grove Playhouse

The Miami Herald reports on the status of four South Florida Landmarks and their struggle to survive, and it includes the Playhouse.
"The Coconut Grove Playhouse theater, $4 million in debt, is closed pending a decision about its future. The board of directors expects to receive a study soon of how the property at 3500 Main Hwy. in Miami
should best be restored."
As has become typical for the Miami Herald, they've under-reported the facts; we're left to assume that $4 million is the only money the Playhouse needs to raise. But the reality is much higher; the building is structurally unsound. Restoring the Grove could easily run into tens of millions of dollars without addressing its debt, or its theatre systems.

This isn't news to the Grove's Board of Directors. In fact, they've been receiving grants for years to renovate the building and its structure. They've already received tens of millions of dollars over the last twenty years; wherever the money went, it wasn't into the structure.

Most likely, it was illegally siphoned off to cover the Grove's production deficits, as happened to the LAST grant they received. You know, the one they had to borrow money to pay back when they got caught using grant money to cover their payroll.

The Coconut Grove Playhouse started off "Waiting for Godot;" now, it's waiting for competent leadership.

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