Knight Honors Adler, Fliss, Pelaez, Funds CoCo Grove $2 Mil & Miami New Drama $900,000

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has awarded $2 million to Miami-Dade County to complete the project for GableStage-FAU’s theatre department to rebuild and reopen the Coconut Grove Playhouse.

The GableStage portion of the project to be called “GroveStage at the Coconut Grove Playhouse” has encountered some community resistance and concerns about progress from the state government which actually owns the property. But several stumbling blocks in the form of government votes and court hearings have been solved, GableStage officials have said. Reportedly, the architectural plans are finished, Developments in the project can be viewed on the county’s webpage at

#### The Knight Foundation also honored three South Florida theater figures among 21 Arts Champions, giving each $10,000 to donate to an artist or arts organization of the recipients Joe Adler, GableStage/GroveStage’s producing artistic director, directed his gift to the arts education nonprofit Arts for Learning; for its student programs in the heart of the West Grove community, reaching underserved children and families in the area.

Eric Fliss, managing director of the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center and a former member of the Carbonell Awards board of directors, divided his funds between Miami Youth Ballet and The Carbonell Awards. Carmen Pelaez, a Miami-born and raised writer and actor who co-authored the script for the world premiere of Havana Music Hall at Actors’ Playhouse, will give hers to Miami New Drama with is mounting her work Fake late this month.

The recipients were recognized, according to a news release, for having played “key roles in fostering the arts sector, honoring these men and women for their vision, courage and tenacity in building Miami’s cultural community.”

Miami New Drama, a relatively new company that favors work reflecting a multi-cultural environment and operates the Colony Theatre for the county, benefited even more from the Miami-based foundation.

One grant for $750,000 – more money than some theaters have for an entire season – would, a news release stated, “elevate and sustain the production of original, critically-acclaimed theater in Miami by further strengthening the organization’s work through support for casting, staffing, technological upgrades, and a deeper focus on long-term financial sustainability.”

Another grant for $150,000 would underwrite the Edwidge Danticat Project: Create Dangerously for director Lileana Blain-Cruz in partnership with Miami New Drama. The project was described as “a theatrical dramatization of novelist and Little Haiti resident Edwidge Danticat’s “Create Dangerously: The Immigrant Artist at Work” that amplifies the Haitian-immigrant perspective. The production will bring Danticat’s stories onto the stage, with music, projections and movement.”

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