David Arisco touches lives of many through the arts

David Arisco touches lives of many through the arts


David Arisco is among the most talented and creative people in the theater arena with a background that lends itself perfectly to his role as Artistic Director of Actors’ Playhouse for the past 25 years, 18 of which were right here in Coral Gables at the Miracle Theatre.

David hales from the beautiful little town of Cheshire, CT; graduated from the University of Connecticut and likes to say his post graduate degree comes from the “School of Hard Knocks.”

During the past 40 years Arisco has been a director, actor, musical director, stage manager, symphonic conductor and instrumentalist. His love for his vocation is apparent in work and community involvement.

He willingly shares his vast knowledge of the arts through Actors’ Playhouse’s local outreach programs that allows him to work closely with inner city kids who share his passion for the arts. Working with kids is a natural for David who actually taught high school for three years after college before moving to New York City and then on to Miami.

David married Maureen Schoolcraft Arisco — aka Maureen Russell — 24 years ago. He is the proud father of four — three of whom he inherited as young children when he married Maureen: Kevin, 9; Sean, 7, and Katie, 2. They grew the family having one child together, son Andrew (Drew) Arisco, now 20. His family and his work are obviously his life and one he delights in every day.

David’s list of acting credits include his most recent turn as Edna Turnblad in Actors’ Playhouse’s critically acclaimed production of Hairspray. He also has had starring roles in Actors’ productions of Fiddler on the Roof, A Thousand Clowns, Last of the Red Hot Lovers, Same Time Next Year, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Plaza Suite and The Odd Couple.

Film and television credits include Offbeat, Tollbooth, Miami Vice, America’s Most Wanted, and Key West.

Arisco has directed more than 130 shows at Actors’ Playhouse, including the Carbonell awarded productions of Les Misérables (2009); Aida (2005); Floyd Collins (2003); Violet (2001); Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (2000); I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change (1998), West Side Story (1997), and The Mystery of Edwin Drood (1991), all of which won for Best Musical and Best Direction of a Musical, and in 2011, the Best Director Carbonell Award for Miss Saigon.

Among David’s many honors include being the recipient of the George Abbott Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Arts in 2009 as well as the Richard G. Fallon Award for Excellence in Professional Theatre from the Florida Professional Theatre Association in 2010.

Over the years David has participated and helped with a broad range of activities and programs such as Blooms Day Events in Coral Gables; Mentorship Program with Northwestern Senior High; University of Miami Musical Theatre Degree Students; Hearing Impaired (ASL) productions at Killian High when his daughter was a student there, and the New World School events when his sons were students there. Currently, David is involved with Sundays with George on the Porch during which he reads from the writings of George Merrick at the Merrick House.

His most impactful contribution, of course, would be helping build Actors’ Playhouse from its early days in Kendall, playing a major role in the renovating of the historic Miracle Theatre, and helping promote Actors’ outstanding reputation by winning awards for Artistic Excellence throughout South Florida and at the state level.

David has touched the lives of so many through his mentorship and passion for the arts.

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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. Burns' volunteer activities led her to become a columnist writing Gloria’s Gab, a column that focuses on the non-profit activity. Burns was Executive Director of the Jr. Orange Bowl Committee for 6 years and then served as the first Executive Director of Coral Gables Community Foundation for 14 years after which she helped the emerging Community Foundation of Pinecrest. Active in many non profits, she received the 2015-16 President's Best Member Award from the GFWC Coral Gables Woman's Club, 2012-13 CGWC Leadership Award, 2012-2013 Rotarian of the Year Award as RCCG Public Relations Chair and Fund raising Co-Chair, 2011 Florida Federation of Women’s Club Volunteer of the Year for the District 11 and honored by the City of Doral as one of their first recipients for the Doralian Women's Award. 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 sings sings in the choir. She can be reached at gloria@communitynewspapers.com

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