Coconut Grove Playhouse

Coconut Grove Playhouse

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Coconut Grove Playhouse

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The Coconut Grove Playhouse was a legitimate theater in the Coconut Grove neighborhood of Miami, Florida, United States.

The building was originally constructed as a movie theater called the Player's State Theater. It first opened on January 3, 1927 as a part of the Paramount chain. The movie house was designed by the architect Richard Kiehnel of Kiehnel and Elliott. It is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. It was built by local realtors Irving J. Thomas and Fin L. Pierce. Albert Peacock was the contractor. It was renowned as the second movie theatre on the east coast of Florida to be air conditioned and having the largest Wurlitzer organ in the United States.

In the 1950s George Engle, an oilman, bought it and spent over $1 million in renovations having the architect Alfred Browning Parker convert it to a legitimate theatre. It re-opened on January 3, 1956 with the US premiere of Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, starring Bert Lahr and Tom Ewell.

In the fifty years that have followed, the Playhouse has played host to many of theater’s most renowned performers, including Maureen Stapleton, Hume Cronyn, Jessica Tandy, Tallulah Bankhead, Carol Channing, Liza Minnelli, Linda Lavin, Beatrice Arthur, George C. Scott, Colleen Dewhurst, and Ethel Merman.

Between 1964 and 1965, The Coconut Grove Playhouse was used by The Miami Actors Company, which was meant to be an extension of the...
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