News and Press Room

Actors’ Playhouse Opens Steve Martin’s
The Underpants and Dedicates its Stage to
Jay W. Jensen and his Parents
CORAL GABLES – Actors’ Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre celebrated its opening of Steve Martin’s hilarious adaptation of Carl Sternheim’s The Underpants on Friday, May 14. Hosted by Chairman of the Board Lawrence E. Stein and Executive Producing Director Barbara S. Stein, the play was sponsored by Quality Inn South, Tropiculture, and Univision Radio. Bacardi USA, Inc. and Ortanique on the Mile sponsored the Gala after party with drinks and a delicious Caribbean dinner for nearly 600 guests.

The evening’s honoree was local arts philanthropist Jay W. Jensen. Mr. Jensen, a long-time friend and supporter of Actors’ Playhouse, donated $100,000 to the theatre’s Capital Campaign. The Mainstage Auditorium Stage was dedicated in honor of Mr. Jensen and his parents John W. and Thelma S. Jensen. Other special guests at the opening included Mayor Don and Jeannett Slesnick, Senator Gwen Margolis, Superintendent Merrett Stierheim and his wife Judi, Drs. Michael and Lois Krop, Dr. Marta Perez, Commissioner Sally Heyman, German Council Dr. Volker Anding, Betsy Kaplan, and City of Coral Gables Manager David Brown and his wife Linda.

Drs. Lois & Michael Krop

Dr. Marta Perez and Chris Wolfe

Susan Fried, Judge Scott Burnstein, Commissioner Sally Heyman, Mr. & Mrs. Merrett Stierheim, Senator Gwen Margolis

Actors’ Playhouse Names Miracle Theatre
Mainstage Auditorium Stage in Honor of
Jay W. Jensen and his Parents
CORAL GABLES – Actors’ Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre announced Friday, May 14, at the opening night of Steve Martin’s The Underpants that it had received a $100,000 donation from arts philanthropist Jay W. Jensen and has named the Mainstage Auditorium Stage of the Arthur F. and Alice E. Adams Mainstage Auditorium at the historic theatre in honor of his parents, John W. and Thelma S. Jensen.

Jensen has bequeathed funding to Actors’ Playhouse, which started in a small theatre in a shopping mall in Kendall and moved to the Miracle Theatre through a special agreement with the City of Coral Gables, which owns the theatre, in 1995.

Jensen, who was present at the announcement at the Miracle Theatre May 14, said, “From our own Jerry Herman’s musical Hello Dolly comes the quote, “Money is like manure. It doesn’t do any good unless it is spread around.”

Barbara Stein, executive producing director of Actors’ Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre, said, “Jay is a very dedicated human being who loves the art of performance. We are honored and privileged to have him be an important part of the development of Actors’ Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre and we thank him very much for his generous contribution to the theatre.”

Stein announced the Jensen donation onstage at the Miracle Theatre opening night. Just two months ago, the theatre received one of the largest donations in its history, $600,000 from the Arthur F. and Alice E. Adams Charitable Foundation, and named the Mainstage Auditorium at the theatre in honor of Arthur F. and Alice E. Adams.

A lifelong teacher, Jensen in 2004 celebrates his 50th year of teaching in South Florida. He worked with the Miami-Dade County public school system from 1954 – 1991, teaching drama. He taught at Miami Beach High School from 1959-91, six periods a day, and ran the Miami Beach Children’s Theatre and the Miami Beach Community Theatre. He also taught at several junior high schools and for a short time was in Hollywood to work with Columbia producer Joe Pasternak. Today he teaches at the Hebrew Home for the Aged, the Miami Beach Senior Citizens Center and the Institute for Retired Professionals at the University of Miami. He also supervises associate teachers at Tucker Elementary for the UM School of Education. Jensen taught at Temple Beth Sholom for 25 years, serving as the drama director. The Miami Beach resident has a second home and teaches and serves as drama consultant in Mexico City with the Peterson Schools, which has a sports and arts complex named in his honor. Once a friend of the late Tennessee Williams, Jensen also speaks regularly on “The Other Side of Tennessee Williams.”

Jensen is also a major supporter of the UM School of Education, the Ring Theatre, the Lowe Art Museum, and others. He earned his associate arts degree at St. Petersburg Junior College in 1952, his bachelor’s degree in education/speech and drama at UM in 1952, and his master’s degree in curriculum supervision and administration at UM in 1960.

Other major donors to Actors’ Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre who have been presented Miracle Theatre naming opportunities are Dr. Lawrence E. and Barbara S. Stein, $300,000, the theatre lobby; Donald Carlin and the late Hedy Carlin, $125,000, the lobby foyer; the late Lady Suzanna P. Tweed, $75,000, the Balcony Theatre stage; The Sands Family (Charles and Linda), the ticket kiosk; the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Conference Room; and Morris and Mikki Futernick, the Mainstage Auditorium Production Room.

Actors’ Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre, a not-for-profit state regional theatre, is located in Coral Gables and is one of 20 Major Miami-Dade County Cultural Institutions. Co-founded by Chairman Dr. Lawrence E. Stein, Actors’ Playhouse is an award-winning professional company with an agreement with Actors’ Equity Association, New York. Actors’ Playhouse has produced more than 90 Mainstage productions since 1988 and has been awarded Carbonell Awards (the South Florida equivalent of the Tony Award) for artistic excellence as “Best Production of a Musical” for The Mystery of Edwin Drood, West Side Story, Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, Violet and Floyd Collins. The theatre recently won eight 2003 Carbonell Awards for Floyd Collins and The Big Bang and was nominated for 26 for its productions of Floyd Collins, Comic Potential, The Big Bang, Sherlock’s Last Case, and The Sound of Music.

The theatre, located in the historic Miracle Theatre at 280 Miracle Mile, celebrated its 16th anniversary on February 3, 2004. Actors’ Playhouse has raised more than $7 million to renovate the Miracle Theatre over the past eight years.