The theater had planned a fundraiser on Valentine's Day to honor Joseph Adler, the company's award-winning artistic director for the past decade. It would have been a swanky affair, as befits a company based at the historic, high-end Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables.
Late yesterday afternoon, the board sent out word that the benefit -- dubbed "Jewels, Jeans & Jazz" -- has been cancelled. By way of explanation, the board members wrote: "...as stewards for this community jewel, we have decided that in the present economic environment the best way to honor Joe is to cancel the event and plow every dollar we have raised or can raise into our productions this season -- and not into expenses for ballroom, catering, music, etc."
The message goes on to note that GableStage has no debt and has already made cuts in order to stay that way, though the company didn't sacrifice its schools touring show or bringing kids in to see a mainstage show when funding for those initiatives was eliminated by Miami-Dade Schools. The theater's board is still seeking contributions -- only 40 percent of its budget comes from ticket sales and memberships -- and will put the names of everyone who donates more than $100 by March 31 into a special tribute section of the theater's program. And, if anyone who previously paid to attend "Jewels, Jeans & Jazz" is upset by the cancellation, he or she can get the contribution back.
The board may well add less money to the company's budget than it would have if the benefit had happened as planned. But 100 percent of whatever comes in will go to GableStage's "product" -- its art. And that's a good thing.