The State of the Pelican
Fiscal Year Report: October 1, 2017 – September 30, 2018
Continuing on into our 18th season, the Pelican Playhouse once again was at the mercy of the elements. Our annual Summer Recital, scheduled for September 9 and 10, 2017 had an unexpected addition in the form of Hurricane Irma that howled ashore that same Saturday and blew our season (and much of Miami Springs) back considerably. I originally calculated a week to get the power back. Indeed I was correct, however, the debris was so extensive we found, for the first time ever, the Rebeca Sosa Theater commandeered for lodgings for a crew of West Virginian tree cutters. By the time they were relocated, it was September 23rd and 24th when the Post-Summer Recital was finally performed to much joy, relief, and appreciation by two sold out houses.
As a “true” community theater, it has always been our intent to be a theater that was available to anyone that wanted to give theater a try without regard to ability or experience. Most theater companies select a “season” (the shows) ahead of time and then audition for each show as it comes up. The Pelican Playhouse is different in that we gather the players first…and then my wife and I sit down and say; “What is the best show we could do with this company of players?” We factor in our known players (we have many players who have been with the Pelican Playhouse for six or more years) and our new players and try to select a show that will challenge our veterans and intrigue our novices enough that they will want to return to do more. It has been my experience that nobody wants to be a walk on “spear” carrier, and if that’s the part you’re assigned, you generally don’t return. Everybody wants something they can grow into and that is our biggest challenge. After uninvited “Irma” delayed our registration, it wasn’t until October 2 before we could find out just how many players were interested in doing our next show. More than 40 players signed up. And they were all ages: men, women, boys and girls from 7 to 70. After some late night considerations, we turned to one of our classics: J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit.” It was just what we were looking for. Lots of “meaty” challenging parts for my adults and hugely popular with the younger actors. I needed dwarves (14 of them) and assorted elves, so my youngsters fit the height requirements perfectly. Also, “The Hobbit,” was an old friend. It was the second play (a one act version) the Pelican Playhouse ever performed in Miami Springs. It premiered during the River Cities Festival, on Curtis Parkway, in the Spring of 2000. We revisited “The Hobbit” with a full length production in the old Cavalier Annex in 2006. Councilman Bob Best was a splendid “Gandalf. Rehearsals for the 2017 version were particularly challenging for in order to provide everyone with a good part, we doubled up on the dwarves and elves. One group of 14 were dwarves one weekend and one group were elves. And then for second weekend they swapped parts. It worked out great, but doubled our rehearsals from Saturday to Saturday and Sunday.
While we were in rehearsals, a new event came to the Miami Springs scene: The “Jack O Lantern Festival” held on October 28th to celebrate Halloween AND to promote businesses and clubs on Westward Drive. The Pelicans were out in full force including the tallest participant (7’ 8”) “Groot” from “Guardians of the Galaxy” fame. A good time was had by all and we look forward to the 2018 festival!
Usually, while our main company is rehearsing our Fall production, my “Acting for Young People” company is rehearsing a show to present to our Miami Springs Seniors for Christmas. This time with my young people filling all the dwarf and elf parts, I tagged some of my adults to double-dip and we performed “A Christmas Tale” readers’ theater-style for the Miami Springs Seniors. With Irma throwing our schedule under the bus, we broke for Christmas and reconvened after the New Year, and debuted “The Hobbit” on January 25th, for the Miami Rescue Mission’s “Creative Living Class.” This group of formerly homeless men, who are transitioning their way back into society, have been coming to every show since 2009 and always are our most appreciative audience. This was no exception. This version of “The Hobbit” pulled out all the stops. More than 50 Pelicans on stage and off, and for the first time ever, a special fog machine was employed to give the cave scene with Gollum just the right creepiness. Such a large cast makes for a very long curtain call line.
One of our pleasant “problems” at the Pelican Playhouse is always “What’s next?” I promised my adults that if they would do “The Hobbit” with us, the next show would be for them and “All-Adult.” When I explained that to my younger players, the faces were just too sad to endure so we had to come up with something to keep the whole company happy.
For the first time ever we mounted two productions on separate weekends. The 1st weekend was for my young players. An enchanting script I ran across that just had to be done. “Hey Diddle Diddle! The Adventures of the Dish and the Spoon.” We previewed this for our Miami Springs Seniors.
For the adults, it was something a long time coming. In her own words, Theater Manager Nancy Jones: ““Dreams do come true! When I was a student at the University of Miami Drama Department, I took a class in Theater Management. We had to envision a theater, name it, and select plays for the first season. The name of my theater: Pelican Playhouse. The opening play: The Servant of Two Masters. How very exciting to see that dream come true this year on May 25, 26 and 27, 2018. It is all I could have imagined. Although, even I was not clever enough to imagine that I would be running the Pelican Playhouse with the man that I fell in love with at the U and married not too long after. Sharing my theater passion with Ralph Wakefield is the best part of my life. Come and share my dream with me! You will not be disappointed.” Comedia del Arte is a style of acting from the 1700’s in Italy. Broad, robust and hugely fun to perform. Our cast and audience had a blast! Pelican costumer Dee Piquette continued to amaze with her costumes.
The Servant of Two Masters was a huge hit & the sold out houses were a testimony to all the hard work. Summer Recital time is here again and registration was brisk with 33 players signed up. If the weather will permit this year, the Summer Recital will be on August 25 and 26. We continue to partner with the Miami Springs Senior High Math Club, Mu Alpha Theta. They provide refreshments at intermission for a “donation” and make enough to finance their trips to various math competitions around the country.
Facebook “Likes” are an all-time-high of 511! What’s not to “like?”
Events in the Rebeca Sosa kept the place hopping! The McCormack Music Christmas Concert, the Junior Orange Bowl Pageant, Girl Scout Troup 564 presented “A World of G.I.R.L.S. sharing Life Stories.” The Miss Art Deco Pageant, the M/S/V/G Optimists presented a wine and cheese Jazz Concert and hosted the Dade County District Oratory Contest. All Angels Academy held their annual board meeting and presented Shakespeare’s “Comedy of Errors. A first ever town hall meeting with the MDCPS Superintendent. International Strings, Leno Ferere, A Doral Fashion show, a MDC investment planning seminar, and Summer Camp! And that’s only through June of 2018!
The Rebeca Sosa Theater saw six visiting companies renting out eight days for total revenue to the City of $2,751. With three more rentals schedule in July (@ $900.00) that brings the total revenue to the City to $3,651 and that’s only through the end of July. We have currently no scheduled companies through the end of September but that is subject to change.
On the horizon for the Fall of 2018? Maybe a musical. Stay tuned! And if you really want to know what it is that we do: “Join us on stage!”