Pay to Play

However, since then the city has become embroiled in negotiations to bring an enormous cineplex facility to Lincoln Road. Money originally slated for the proposed black box theater is tied to that project, whose fate remains in limbo. Kasdin explains that the developer who ultimately wins the prize of creating the cineplex will be required to construct a black box theater within the movie complex, using the aforementioned $500,000. Meanwhile, the movie theater project languishes, the half-million dollars remains untouched, Area Stage scrapes by year by year, and companies such as Acme can't get near the Beach.

Maria Rodaz has a suggestion. "The solution would be for Area to receive the $500,000 directly," she notes. "I could then apply for a Kresge Foundation [a private foundation] grant that will match those public funds and put it all toward a new space."

Commissioner Kasdin clarifies that the five hundred grand is intended for the construction of a new theater and not specifically for Area, although he acknowledges Area's importance to the cultural life of the neighborhood. Rather than directly handing over the bucks, the city more likely will return to the pre-cineplex plan of constructing a space independent of any movie house. It's an idea Kasdin says he's has been "tossing around for the last couple of weeks. Let's go ahead, appropriate part of the Convention Center complex extending north of Seventeenth Street on Pennsylvania Avenue," and put up a theater.

What would it take for the city to move forward with such a plan? "It would take a commissioner or an administrator considering it and bringing it up," Kasdin responds. Go for it, Commissioner.

Stage Notes
Disappointing news from Coconut Grove Playhouse: One of the jewels of the company's upcoming season has been canceled. The Playhouse lost the rights to Three Tall Women, Edward Albee's latest play and the 1994 Pulitzer Prize winner, to a national tour. Producing artistic director Arnold Mittelman negotiated adamantly but it seems as if regional theaters can't compete with the potential box-office receipts a tour dangles before promoters. A careful search is being mounted for another show, because, as Debbie Eyerdam, the Playhouse's director of marketing and communications, puts it, "It's not easy to come up with a replacement." South Florida audiences will have a chance to see the touring production, which stars Marian Seldes, Michael Learned, and Christina Rouner, when it comes to the area during the 1996-97 season.

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