Movie Theaters, Playhouses and Auditoriums Can Reopen in Miami Beach

Susan Askew
Susan Askew

Movie Theaters, Playhouses and Auditoriums Can Reopen in Miami Beach:

But when will they open?

Miami Beach is moving along with the new Miami-Dade County order allowing entertainment venues to open. Movie theaters, concert houses, auditoriums, playhouses, bowling alleys, arcades, and indoor amusement facilities and attractions were permitted to reopen according to certain rules effective Friday. 

Facilities opening must show that they comply with approved COVID-19 safety plans and the current version of the County’s New Normal Guidebook. There also must be specific and clearly marked locations where eating and drinking is allowed.
What does this mean for some of our local entertainment venues and when will they reopen? The answer for now: TBD.

Local Movie Theaters
The City is home to two movie theaters, Regal Cinema South Beach (above) and O Cinema. A Regal spokeswoman told us, as of Friday afternoon, they didn’t have an opening date. O Cinema co-founder Vivan Marthell said they don't have an opening date as of yet either.

Miami New Drama, Colony Theatre
Playwright and Director Michel Hausmann, Founder of Miami New Drama which is housed at the Colony Theatre on Lincoln Road, said the new order “means very little” for the theater company. In addition to managing the City-owned theater, Miami New Drama provides original programming as well as co-productions with national and international partner organizations and educational programs.

“Our productions are extremely expensive,” Hausmann said. “I think the data doesn’t show people are willing to go back to the theater even at half capacity.”

“The worst thing that we can do,” he said, would be to end up “heavily invested in highly produced shows and then no one is going to see it. The question is, how do we create theater that is appropriate for times of the pandemic?”

This is not a time to fall back on “old models [of] the theater and audiences inside the theater,” he said. “I think if you’re trying to think that way in the pandemic you’re really limited. When you get outside of the box, outside the four walls of the theater, the possibilities become endless.” 

What Miami New Drama is exploring now is “how storytelling can exist during the time of the pandemic,” he added.

“The good news is Miami New Drama is ready to do an exciting project that will be outdoors for audiences that we will announce in the next month, but our commitment to world class theater and Miami Beach especially is intact and we will be producing sometime this fall, but I think that opening the Colony we have to take a lot into consideration.”

Another issue, as a professional theater, there is a union contract and, for now, the actors’ union is not allowing productions in Florida, Hausmann said.

Nicholas Richberg, Managing Director of Miami New Drama, said, “We’re definitely looking at it. We’re in contact with the union [which] requires submittal of a pretty detailed safety plan.”

“The actors’ safety is paramount to them and to us,” Richberg said, adding “It’s possible we may be able to do productions in the theater in the not so distant future. Right now, we’re focusing on other avenues of production.”

“There’s a differentiation between performing arts and other types of cultural centers,” Richberg said. “I think the performing arts will be the last to get back to any kind of normal, whatever that is in the future.”

Other COVID updates this week:
  • Curfew extended to 11 pm
  • The Citi Bike program is now allowed to operate
  • Parks and Recs facilities, including volleyball and basketball courts are allowed to reopen, though indoor parks facilities are not open and playgrounds and outdoor exercise equipment remain closed.
  • Organized sports team activities such as practice are now allowed but, note, “inter-team competitions and league play are only permitted in the case of tennis, racquetball, softball and baseball if masks are worn by all players.”


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