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Coconut Grove Playhouse Gets Tentative Reprieve Under New Deal

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(Source: CBS4)

(Source: CBS4)

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COCONUT GROVE (CBS4) – The Coconut Grove Playhouse may live to see another production, Miami-Dade Commissioners determined Tuesday.

According to CBS4 News partner The Miami Herald, commissioners approved a proposal to salvage the historic playhouse by co-leasing it from the state along with Florida International University for a small fee.  The state took ownership of the playhouse in 2012 after critics accused a nonprofit board of running it into the ground. Upon taking control of it, the state made the facility available to state universities and colleges.

The lease agreement between the county and FIU trustees will now go to Governor Rick Scott and his cabinet for review and approval by the October deadline.

The playhouse has been a South Florida art scene staple since its opening in 1927. The structure has been closed to the public since 2006.

“This is a big moment for renewed optimism,’’ said Miami-Dade cultural affairs director Michael Spring said after the commission vote. “I’m feeling better about it than I’ve felt in a long time.’’

According to the paper, under the proposed plan with FIU, the county would rebuild the theater using $20 million in previously approved bond and bed-tax money. GablesStage, a theater company currently based at the Biltmore Hotel, would program and maintain the playhouse as a professional regional theater. The playhouse would also serve as a teaching tool for FIU students majoring in theater arts.

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald contributed material for this report)

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