Actors’ Playhouse kickoff party has spirit of 1776

Pictured at the Thomas Jefferson bust presentation are (l-r)State Sen. Gwen Margolis; actor David Kelley; Dr. Lawrence E. Stein, Actors’ Playhouse board chair; for Coral Gables Mayor Dorothy Thomson and Coral Gables Mayor Don Slesnick.

Reminiscent of Mount Rushmore, Thomas Jefferson’s bust was featured at a kickoff party on Sept. 21 for Actors’ Playhouse patrons and supporters. Hosted by Novecento Coral Gables, the statue of Jefferson came courtesy of Mayor Don Slesnick, who brought the distinguished guest in honor of the opening production of the season, 1776.

1776 is a musical that follows the birth of our nation and the writing of the Declaration of Independence. Guests at the celebration enjoyed a special preshow live performance from the cast of 1776 against a stunning backdrop of downtown Coral Gables in the open-air patio of Novecento on Alhambra Plaza.

A star-studded cast of 25 — including Carbonell award-winning actors Gary Marachek as John Adams, David Kelley as Thomas Jefferson, and Ken Clement as Benjamin Franklin — entertained the crowd with humorous numbers like Sit Down, John, The Lees of Old Virginia and a moving piece titled Momma, Look Sharp.

Among the many attending the affair were State Sen. Gwen Margolis, former Gables Mayor Dorothy and Jack Thomson; Eddie Cuttilas of Bacardi USA and his wife, Randi; Dr. Larry Kessler; Jeannett Slesnick; Lilia Garcia; Jim Hutton; Dr. Lawrence E. Stein, chair of the board for Actors’ Playhouse, and wife, Barbara S. Stein, executive producing director; David Arisco, artistic director, and, of course, the host of the evening, Pascal Billard, chief operating manager of Novecento Restaurant Coral Gables.

Performances of 1776 will take place Wednesday through Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. through Oct. 19, and Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. from Oct. 24 to Nov. 2 at the Miracle Theatre in downtown Coral Gables. Additional matinees are Wednesday, Oct. 15, at 2 p.m., along with pre-arranged student matinees at 10 a.m. through the education department.

Gables Rotarians also laughed and thoroughly enjoyed a preview performance during a recent Thursday luncheon meeting at the Westin Colonnade before opening night. On the eve of a national election, this is a very timely musical that serves to remind us with great humor of the price paid for our liberty and our right to vote.

Speaking of fun events, “Candy Land” is an appropriate them for this year’s big Coral Gables Chamber Holiday Party set for Dec. 4 at the Biltmore Hotel. Save that date. The affair serves many purposes, not the least of which is to collect gifts and raise funds for several local charities.

Event co-chair Claire Lardner notes that several restaurants already have signed up to participate in this fun-filled evening that includes tastings provided by some of South Florida’s best restaurants, caterers, and vendors. Guests will have a chance to vote on their favorites and prizes will be awarded. To raise additional funds for the charities, Lardner expects to have a raffle as well as a small silent auction with a few high-end items that will go to the high bidder. Look for more information on this as the date nears.

Lardner is a busy lady these days. Lardner, of FrameWorks, advises they have purchased ValMar, an old established framing store at 4150 SW 74 Ct. FrameWorks is well known for its quality framing that protects valuable art from deterioration. By educating clients, Lardner, her partner, Chris, and staff have saved many pieces of art over the years and this is something that they will do as the new owners for ValMar.

Attention non-profit officers, chairmen, fundraisers, advocates, meeting planners and students. A Parliamentary Procedures Course will be offered on Saturday, Oct. 18, 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Central Christian Church, 222 Menores Ave. in Coral Gables. The cost is $25 in advance and $30 at the door. To reserve a space, call MaryScull Brown, PRP, workshop chair, at 305-448-9928 or Joan Meadors, president of SDPLU, at 305-383-0072.

The third annual Evensky & Katz Golf Tournament will take place on Nov. 6, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. This year’s event — which will benefit UM Advancement, Baptist Health South Florida Foundation, Mount Sinai Neo- Natal Unit, and the firm’s Motivated Youth program — is being hosted at the Biltmore Golf Course.

The event includes a breakfast, opening of the driving range, barbecue lunch, auction to benefit the charities, and for those whose interests do not lie in golf, spa services. Tickets are $200 per individual or $750 for a foursome.

For more information on the golf tournament please contact Frances Villagomez at < >. Attention runners and walkers, the Honor Society of Bar and Gavel at the University of Miami School of Law will hold its ninth annual Race Judicata 5K Walk/Run on Sunday, Oct. 12, at the Law School campus. This year proceeds from the race will benefit the UM-NSU Center for Autism and Related Disorders (UMNSU CARD).

UM-NSU CARD provides free services for children and adults of all levels of intellectual functioning who have autism, pervasive developmental disorders, autistic-like disabilities, dual sensory impairments, or sensory impairments with other disabling conditions.

Race organizers have asked for participants to arrive by 7:30 a.m. to pick up their T-shirts and race bib numbers. The race begins promptly at 8 a.m. This year, the race will be timed by Footworks through its bib technology. Participants are welcome to walk or run the course, and food and refreshments will be served afterwards. The top three women and top three men will receive gift certificates from Book Horizons. The top third-year law student will win a $500 gift certificate for the Kaplan PMBR Bar Review course.

To register for the race, go to <> and search for “Race Judicata 5K.”

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About the Author

Gloria Burns
A graduate of the University of Florida with a major in Spanish, Burns has an extensive background in advertising, marketing and reciprocal trade, travel as well as non profit consulting and management. Active in many non profits, she received numerous awards across the community. Among her list of current responsibilities, Burns co-chairs two annual student recognition breakfasts for the Coral Gables Friends of Education; helps coordinate charity partners for the Westin Colonnade's Annual Give Kids the World Breakfast; serves on the board of directors of Doral Business Council; is Parliamentarian and serves on the board of the GFWC Coral Gables Woman’s Club; serves the board of the Rotary Club of Coral Gables and is Publicity Chair; and is a member of the Jr. Orange Bowl Committee. Gloria is also an active member of the Music Ministry at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church, where she sings in the choir. She can be reached at

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