Currently 4 Responses
- This is terrible and shocking and so wrong that this could happen after all the Golden Apple has done for Sarasota. The Golden Apple has been a home and a family to so many local artists. The Turoff's are generous to the downtrodden, true philanthropists who have almost singlehandedly enabled so many actors to be able to call Sarasota home. No other theatre in town has provided jobs to so many local actors - not to mention the countless benefits they have spearheaded on behalf of our community. The Golden Apple is a Sarasota cultural institution. Save the Apple!!!!!!!!!
- Our family had the opportunity to make our first visit to the Golden Apple last Friday, what fun. Both of our young daughters who love theatre better than TV thought it heaven. A show with food before and it is OK to eat in your seatl What could be better. We thought our evening was entertaining and a real value. They both thought it the best part of their spring break trip which included an Os baseball game, Busch Gardensand the Ringling Museum. They are already planning their next visit this summer, please don't disappoint the children who don't live and die with electronic games or TV.
- The pressing question is: Why should Sarasota's Downtown Improvement District committee give consideration to The Golden Apple's urgent request for a small, short term loan to help them survive otherwise insurmountable loss of income due to city construction projects surrounding them?
And that prompts another question: Do fairness, common sense, tradition and community mean anything in this town anymore?
Frankly, when the Turoffs came to Sarasota, its downtown life had gone into decline. If it hadn't been for their establishing The Golden Apple in what was at the time a neighborhood bereft of cultural night-life, it's doubtful most of the planners and developers calling the shots today would have had anything to market.
It's true that the Sarasota Opera moving to the shuttered Edwards Theater, brought great things; and we are grateful for it. However, I wonder how many opera patrons would have been induced to drive at night to a deserted Five Points if the Golden Apple's success hadn't already sparked a revival there?
Forty years ago, the Turoffs invested in a part of town not just empty at night but growing sparser by day, when they renovated a shuttered former restaurant to create an exciting theater on a professional level not existing in this area before.
Many theatre graduates from USF and FSU were eager to apprentice in the trade here, working beside established actors who came to Sarasota to be directed by him, and to act along with Roberta MacDonald, (his wife), whose Broadway and other NY and regional credits were estimable (and whose talents have been applauded by Sarasota audiences ever since).
When I first drove down from Tampa to see a show, I found the Golden Apple was the only place doing business after 6 p.m. in that part of town. I marveled at them setting up shop in an area so barren after sunset. However, their enterprising spirit, faith, talent, hard work soon led to success, as their reputation rapidly grew.
Over the many years since, in addition to thousands of critically acclaimed performances, The Golden Apple has given to their community on many levels. Besides graciously acquiescing every time an arts Fair blocked off streets (thereby, parking -- causing them to cancel performances and/or lose ticket sales), they've lent their facilities to the Reading Festivals, as well as for many memorial services, charity fund-raisers, rallies and other non-profit events Such cooperation is more than a generous gesture. When you open the doors of a building that size to host free events, the operating costs are not insignificant. Yet, countless times, The Golden Apple did so, without compensation.
Now, circumstances beyond their control have forced them to ask their fellow business owners and fellow citizens, advocates and supporters of a vibrant arts community, for a little temporary assistance.
When I read in this article that Ernie Ritz (who’s been most fortunate in that his own construction company benefited by recent developments and projects in downtown Sarasota, so perhaps is a little short on empathy these days) says he's afraid that granting this small loan could open the door to hundreds of similar requests. Hundreds? IF THERE ARE EVEN ONE HUNDRED SIMILAR INSTITUTIONS, WHICH HAVE CONTRIBUTED WHAT THE GOLDEN APPLE HAS (without tax write-offs, or non-profit status) OVER FOUR DECADES, AND ARE FACING THESE SPECIFIC HARDSHIPS, LET THEM COME FORTH! Do I hear FIFTY? ..TWENTY? ... I didn't think so.
I am not in Sarasota, or anywhere near Florida, at this time, or I'd do my best to attend meetings and rally for fair play. I can only send this letter and hope my voice will be among many demanding the same.
- Please approve the loan. If it were just the project in back, you could say, NO. If it were just the project in front, you could say, NO. But, projects in the front and back AT THE SAME TIME? How could you, in good conscience, deny their request? It's not as if the Apple is looking for a handout.
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