Burt Reynolds to Take Stage in Fundraiser for Jupiter Institute

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The legendary actor’s film and theater academy is relocating less than one mile from Waterfront Properties and Club Communities’ headquarters.

Deliverance starts Jon Voight, Ronny Cox, Ned Beatty and Burt Reynolds pose beside the canoe at the Burt Reynolds & Frieinds Museum. (Photo by Steve Clark)

If the Smokey and the Bandit talkback goes as well as it did during the Deliverance event, the crowd will rise to a standing ovation.

Following the successful screening of movie star and Palm Beach native Burt Reynolds’ breakthrough film, Deliverance, comes take two: a special showing of 1977’s Smokey and the Bandit.

On Oct. 27, The Lyric Theatre – an historic piece of downtown property in Stuart – will present the hit movie in its entirety plus a question-and-answer session with Reynolds from the stage. Reynolds will share stories and snippets from the making of the movie and will entertain and regale the crowd with his quick wit.

The iconic movie also starred Sally Field, Jackie Gleason, Jerry Reed and one nice-looking Pontiac Trans-Am.

If the Smokey and the Bandit talkback goes as well as it did during the Deliverance event, the crowd will rise to a standing ovation.

John Loesser, the theater’s executive director, is the choreographer of both of Reynolds’ appearances. Loesser said the 76-year-old actor never has looked healthier or happier and is excited about the next installment of “An Evening with Burt Reynolds,” the one-man introspective that sells out every year. The 2013 dates are Jan. 30 and 31.

Reynolds’ recent personal appearances not only have drawn more attention to The Lyric Theatre but also have raised funds for the Burt Reynolds Institute for Film & Theatre, a local nonprofit organization that offers a full bill of acting classes and filmmaking seminar.

The institute in September relocated from one of its former Jupiter homes – a bank building in the shadow of the Indiantown Road drawbridge that also housed the Burt Reynolds & Friends Museum. The development of Harbourside, a mixed-use center of boutique shops, fine restaurants and convenient boat slips that is being constructed on a parcel of Intracoastal Waterway property forced the institute and the museum to move.

Classes now are being offered at the ArtStage Performing Arts Center. The relocation to ArtStage, a charming, one-story building nestled amid the homes in Tequesta, is nostalgic because it was the former site of the Burt Reynolds Institute of Theatre Training. ArtStage Artistic Director Linda White said the center is overjoyed to take in the institute’s teachers and actors and said it will bring new life to the old building.

As for the museum, which displayed of treasures from Reynolds’ movie career, including awards, posters, wardrobe items and the canoe from Deliverance, is closed – for now. A capital campaign is under way for a permanent home on U.S. Highway 1 on Jupiter in the aptly named Burt Reynolds Park. The site is less than one mile from Waterfront Properties and Club Communities, which is at 825 Parkway St. in Jupiter.

Reynolds’ legacy in northern Palm Beach County abounds, and it extends north to Martin County, as he now lives in the quiet suburb of Hobe Sound. Reynolds is a true asset to the community and a frequent guest at charity events – including August’s Kiwanis Club of Palm Beach Gardens College Football Roast. Reynolds was a running back for the Florida State University Seminoles.

For information about the institute or to contribute to the capital campaign, call Donna Carbone at 561-385-1584.

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Rob Thomson
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