Actors’ Playhouse production of Mamma Mia! better than Broadway

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Rave reviews for Mamma Mia are not exaggerated. In fact, this is a musical at Actors’ Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre on Miracle Mile in Coral Gables that you will want to see again and again.

If you love ABBA, and who doesn’t, you will fall in love with this talented cast. From the amazing performers, scenery and choreography to the band and direction, it was better than the Broadway production according to many in the know. Kudos to Barbara Stein and David Arisco for bringing our community yet another great show. For tickets, call 305 444-9293.

By the way, to support this theater, save the date for Actors’ Reach for the Stars Auction Gala to be held Apr. 18.

The Rotary Club of Coral Gables (RCCG) is looking for chefs and sponsors for its fifth annual Chili Cook Off on Sunday, Mar. 22, at Fred B. Hartnett Ponce Circle Park, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. This is a great family fun day with live entertainment and lots of good eats. For more information on how to get involved, visit chilichillin.com.

Speaking of the Gables Rotary Club, the group meets every Thursday at the Hyatt Regency Coral Gables for lunch and typically has some amazing guest speakers. Most recently, the members heard from Patrick Griffith, executive director of Montgomery Botanical Center (MBC), who shared information about this amazing resource in our community.

MBC is a 120-acre garden opened only a few times during the year to the public. Founded by Robert and Nell Montgomery who also were behind the founding of Fairchild Tropical Garden, MBC’s mission involves research and education. Patrick discussed how MBC works with botanical gardens around the world and how they collect seeds that are germinated for study and growth.

Jim Skinner, president of RCCG, thanked Patrick for his talk and presented him with a certificate noting that 20 polio immunizations have been donated to RI in his name as a thank you.

In other news, Our Lady of Lebanon’s 42nd annual Lebanese Festival took place at the Abraham Banquet Hall, the weekend of Jan; 24. With a crowd of more than 1,000 people, the event brought in more than $104,000 that will support the church and its many projects.

Festival goers enjoyed Lebanese assorted sweets made by the women of the church while checking out the Lebanese arts and crafts for sale and a Lebanese food market that offered such items as olives, cheese, Syrian bread and olive oil from Lebanon, Lebanese red wines and Lebanese food such as grape leaves, cabbage leaves, hummus, shish kabobs and more. Entertainment included a performance by belly dancers who were children of the church parishioners led by Zeina, their instructor.

That same Saturday, the GFWC Coral Gables Woman’s Club fifth annual Children’ Festival attracted children from around the county for a free family fun day of activities and educational experience from an amazing Butterfly Experience tent where people learned how to feed butterflies from a nectar dipped stick to demonstrations by a Police Canine Unit, an obstacle course set up by the Coral Gables Firefighters, arts and crafts and more.

Chair Ruth Martinez and Kate Swain were especially grateful to sponsors Capitol One and food courtesy of R Catering, and coffee thanks to Ruta Maya Coffee.

Next up for the club is its Feb. 29 Gala to benefit the club’s free children’s dental clinic and their monthly parties at Clutch Burger thanks to owner Steven Bradley and DJ German who donates his services with music. On Feb. 4, the beneficiary is the National Alopecia Areata Foundation followed by a Mar. 10 Gringo Bingo to help the woman’s club support one of Coral Gables Rotary’s International projects in Haiti. To reserve tickets, send email to gloria@cnews.net.

Finally, the public is invited to the City of Coral Gables Farmers Market on Feb. 15, (Valentine’s Day Weekend), from 9 to 11 a.m., for “Kiss a K9”. Get a photo with the Coral Gables Police K9 Roy and Officer Alex Engmann after making a donation to the South Florida Fund for Retired Law Enforcement K9’s 501(c)3. The money collected will go to the fund to assist with the medical care of retired police dogs. Any amount is excepted for this good cause. Look for the K9s at the Coral Gables Crime Watch tent.
Until next time, keep making each day count.


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A graduate of the University of Florida with a major in Spanish, Burns has an extensive background in advertising, marketing and reciprocal trade, travel , non profit consulting and management. Before joining Miami's Community Newspapers as a columnist and marketing specialist, Gloria was the Executive Director of the Jr. Orange Bowl Committee (6 yrs.) and first Executive Director of the Coral Gables Community Foundation (14 yrs.) and the Pinecrest Community Foundation (1 ½ yrs) . Burns' volunteer activities led her to become a columnist for Community Newspapers writing Gloria’s Gab, that focuses on the non-profit activity, and a host of an online show, Gloria's Gab LIVE. Gloria serves the board of the Rotary Club of Coral Gables as Civic and Charity Chair, and is involved in the club's International Committee. She is an active Life Member of the Jr. Orange Bowl Committee and is Secretary of the Merrick Festival. She serves on the board of directors of the Coral Gables Woman' Club as Publicity Chair and also coordinates the club's monthly fundraiser for various charities with Gringo Bingo at Clutch Burger. In addition, Gloria participates in numerous other charitable events and is a member of the Business Forum Group, Profit Inc., the Greater Miami Festival & Events Association and the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce. In other volunteer activity, Gloria helps Miami Christian School with fund-raising and PR; is an Ambassador and volunteers for events for A Safe Haven for Newborns. She is an active member of the Music Ministry at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church where she enjoys singing in the choir every weekend.

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