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Press agent Charlie Cinnamon’s name lives on in theater scholarship

The Florida Theatrical Association has named the Charlie Cinnamon Theater Scholarship to honor its longtime board member. The scholarship will aid Central and South Florida high school students for continuing theater education.
The Florida Theatrical Association has named the Charlie Cinnamon Theater Scholarship to honor its longtime board member. The scholarship will aid Central and South Florida high school students for continuing theater education. Miami Herald file

Press agent Charlie Cinnamon was such a presence behind the scenes in South Florida, the performing arts community could barely imagine a world without him. So brilliant was Cinnamon that a mere publicity stunt in 1963 to promote a musical at the Coconut Grove Playhouse became the ongoing Coconut Grove Arts Festival.

Thanks to the Florida Theatrical Association, Cinnamon’s name will remain interwoven with theater in South Florida. On Wednesday, three months after Cinnamon died in November, the FTA announced the Charlie Cinnamon Theater Scholarship to honor its longtime board member. The scholarship will be available to Central and South Florida high school students for continuing theater education throughout the summer.

“Charlie’s heart and passion for the arts community, especially in his home of South Florida, was unmatched, and it was a true gift to have him serve on our board of directors,” FTA’s Executive Director Larry Watchorn said in a statement. “He was devoted to education for all, especially in the area of performing arts, and we could think of no better way to honor his name and legacy than setting up this scholarship fund to engage and empower young talent.”

He was devoted to education for all, especially in the area of performing arts, and we could think of no better way to honor his name and legacy than setting up this scholarship fund to engage and empower young talent.

Florida Theatrical Association Executive Director Larry Watchorn.

As part of the Charlie Cinnamon Theater Scholarship, students will receive money for summer continuing education programs, including theater camps, schools and workshops. Recipients will be chosen as part of the District Thespian Conferences in Miami-Dade, Broward, Orange and Seminole counties.

Maybe the next Cinnamon will be found. No doubt Cinnamon would be delighted.

“The lights of Broadway and the magic inside is what hooked me,” he told the Miami Herald in 2015 about his arts awakening after he had served in World War II. He saw a production of Arthur Laurents’ “Home of the Brave.”

“That was really something that kicked me in the kishkes,” he said. “The next big thing was ‘Oklahoma!’ and I was ready for my close-up.”

Donations to the scholarship fund in honor of Cinnamon can be made at www.floridatheatrical.org or by mail to Florida Theatrical Association, Attn: Education Department, 100 S. Eola Dr., Suite 200, Orlando, Florida, 32801.

Howard Cohen: 305-376-3619, @HowardCohen

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