Adrienne Arsht Center Eyes Coconut Grove For Theaters
By Zachary S. Fagenson
The shuttered Coconut Grove Playhouse’s future remains unclear, but an Adrienne Arsht Center leader wants an 800-seat theater alongside a brand new 300-seat venue and is offering the center’s help to get it up and running.
"Michael Spring, [the county’s] representative, has said… they only have a enough money to build a small regional theater," said Mike Eidson, partner at law firm Colson Hicks Eidson and new chair of the center’s board, during an interview last week. "What I’m talking about… is to try… to find the resources to build a second theater… an 800-seat regional theater or almost national theater that can put on any play."
Mr. Spring did not return phone calls or e-mails.
Bringing classical theater here is a goal of Mr. Eidson, but how to fund and build a theater is being fleshed out.
A two-theater Coconut Grove campus could be supported by the Arsht Center, though "whatever it is that [is] operated [sh]ould not adversely affect our annual budget. It would pay for itself, or the county would be interested in whatever small subsidy would be required or you’d have to be able to raise the money from somebody else," he added.
As Arsht Center chair, Mr. Eidson said, he can’t recruit donors but he’d be willing to help the county raise money and set up a public-private partnership like the one that begot the Arsht Center.
County Manager George Burgess last month wrote to the commission, the Miami Herald reported, suggesting the county pay off the Grove playhouse’s $4 million debt, remove its board and find a new owner for the site to build a new 300-seat theater, funded by $20 million in existing bond funds, to be run by Joe Adler of GableStage.