While I appreciated the Sept. 13 story Miami’s arts awakening, I would be remiss if I didn’t point out the glaring omission that failed to recognize the nationally important role played by the Coconut Grove Playhouse.
As the exciting institutions mentioned were born, the Playhouse brought renewed national prominence to Miami by having many of its locally created productions transfer to New York, London and beyond.
The musical Fame was premiered at CGP and has been seen all over the world. Run for your Wife, the long-running English farce, was produced at the CGP and then transferred immediately to a Broadway theater. The musical Matador was given a production that transferred to London’s West End. Rum and Coke, about the Cuban Missile Crisis was produced with the renowned Joe Papp New York Shakespeare Festival. I also directed Mixed Blessings, by Miami’s own Luis Santiero that won the prestigious national AT&T On Stage Award, and “Lady Day At Emerson’s & Grill” that transferred to an open-ended run in Chicago.
The Coconut Grove Playhouse may be closed, but the impact it had on the local economy and community in the 1980s and, perhaps more important, on Miami’s national artistic identity must never be forgotten.
Arnold Mittelman, president/ producing artistic director, National Jewish Theater Foundation,