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| Culture |

Give It Back Rally: A Big Group Hug For the Coconut Grove Playhouse

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A cheer catchier than the material girl's new song that chants MDNA rang through the streets of Coconut Grove last evening. Calls of "Give it back, give it back" could be heard reverberating off the facade of the Coconut Grove Playhouse, which was shuttered in 2006 and left to decline ever since.

Coconut Grove residents and activists, led by Nathan Kurland, are seeking to reclaim the playhouse and reopen it again for theatrical productions.  A few weeks ago, yellow ribbons on trees and signs proclaiming "give it back" popped up all over the neighborhood. Last evening's rally was the culmination of the ribbon campaign.

Pulling out all stops for the rally, everyone from local politicians like City of Miami District 2 Commissioner Marc Sarnoff, City of Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado, and Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, to adorable children and dogs were in attendance, all seeking to gain control of the playhouse.

Coconut Grove BID Executive Director David Collins pointed out that not

only is the Playhouse culturally significant, it was a financial

stimulus to the neighborhood. Collins said that within three

months of the playhouse's closing, 11 restaurants failed. He then

stated that the theater, if it were to be reclaimed, would be a beacon of hope for Coconut Grove,

which currently has many vacant storefronts and restaurants.

The rally ended with a giant group hug of the building, as rally

participants grabbed a piece of the 600 yards of yellow ribbon used to

encircle the playhouse, chanting "give it back" before heading out to

enjoy half-priced drinks at most Grove watering holes including

GreenStreet and Mr. Moe's.

If reopening the Coconut Grove Playhouse means culture, economic revitalization, and happy hour -- we too say "give it back"!

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