January Talk of the Town

A New City Commissioner

Former Mayor Picked to Fill Fors’ Seat.

January Talk of the Town

Former Mayor Jim Cason returned to Coral Gables government last month when he was tapped to fill the commission seat vacated by Jorge Fors, Jr. Commissioner Fors resigned to run for a seat on the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners, an election he lost in a runoff in November.

Cason, who served three terms as mayor from 2011 to 2017, was the unanimous pick of the four city commissioners who voted on Dec. 13. He was sworn in the next day. Mayor Vince Lago said he had vetted many candidates for the post and saw in Cason “someone who can hit the ground running… somebody who is clearly seasoned.” Vice Mayor Michael Mena called Cason “the obvious choice.”

Cason said he does not plan to run for election to the seat in April, and urged others who had offered to fill the temporary post to become candidates for a full four-year term. “I didn’t lobby for this job, and I have no intention to run again,” he said. “I was drafted, [but] I am happy to help the city fill a gap.”

Cason is a retired career U.S. Foreign Service officer who served in 15 countries, including Cuba. He moved to Coral Gables in 2008. During his brief time back in office, Cason said he would “like to take a look at code enforcement; there is a lot of enforcing not being done.” He also listed improving trash recycling as one of his interests.

Meanwhile, there is no word yet as to whether Fors will run again in April to reclaim his former seat. Stay tuned. – Mike Clary

The Latest Ball in the Gables

The Mayor Raises the Bar for Fundraising

With such annual seasonal events as The Coral Gables Community Foundation Gala, the Lowe’s Beaux Arts Ball, and Fairchild’s Gala in the Garden, among others, you would think there would be little interest in another fancy, charitable gathering in the Gables. But you would be wrong.

Last month, Mayor Vince Lago inaugurated the annual Mayor’s Ball with resounding success. Held at the newly opened Loews Hotel in The Plaza Coral Gables, the ball attracted more than 400 guests and raised more than $100,000 for the League Against Cancer charity and the Community Foundation.

Guests at the dinner and dance were regaled by renowned Cuban songstress Aymée Nuviola and her band, and were also treated to a salad of poached pear and an entrée of filet mignon and Nigerian prawns, followed by a dessert of Valrhona chocolate cake. “It was glamorous and gorgeous,” said guest Mark Trowbridge, president and CEO of the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce.

“We wanted an event that encompassed what the city stands for, to shine a light on the great things the city is doing, while raising funds for the League Against Cancer,” said Mayor Lago. “We sold out, so we’re going to have to expand next year.”

A “Million Dollar” Romance

Love Blossoms at Actors’ Playhouse

January Talk of the Town

Anyone who tried to get tickets to the “Million Dollar Quartet Christmas” between December 14 and 18 would have been surprised to find the Actors’ Playhouse at Miracle Theatre dark for those five days. The musical’s run had been set for November 16 through January 1, uninterrupted.

What ticket buyers probably did not know was that the play was closed for reasons of romance – the marriage of one of the musical’s main stars, Jeremy Sevelovitz, who played Carl Perkins in the semi-factual mashup of Perkins, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and Jerry Lee Lewis.

Sevelovitz first met his bride-to-be, Sofia Porcel, at Actors’ Playhouse in 2016 when Sevelovitz was starring in the original run of “Million Dollar Quartet” and Porcel was assisting with the set build. A romance flowered, and in 2021 the couple got engaged under the Actors’ Playhouse marquee, which read “SOFIA, WILL YOU MARRY ME?” They even shared the stage in the Playhouse production of “Hank Williams: Lost Highway” last summer, solidifying their bond with each other – and the theater where they first met. The knot was finally tied last month, when the playhouse closed its doors to celebrate the couple’s nuptials in Puerto Rico. On their special day, the pair was surrounded by their loved ones, including fellow “Million Dollar Quartet Christmas” stars Dom Scott ( Jerry Lee), Eddie Clendening (Elvis), and Sky Seals (Cash).

“It’s been an absolute joy to be a part of their journey as a couple,” says Brooke Noble, General Manager of Actors’ Playhouse. Our congratulations to the newlyweds. – Gabrielle Lord

Twinning and Winning

The Cavinder Twins Reap Nil Rewards

January Talk of the Town

If you’ve been on TikTok over the last few months, you’ve likely seen Haley and Hanna Cavinder dancing, cheekily joking about their dating lives, or showing their 4.1 million followers what a day in the life of a college athlete looks like. The twins are the latest social media phenom – and gifted basketball players at the University of Miami. They’ve been featured in the New York Post, The Athletic, and Forbes, among others, as well as on ESPN.

With the advent of the NIL rule, which allows college athletes to make money from the use of their names, images, and likenesses, the Cavinder twins have raked in close to $2 million in sponsorships and endorsements, making them some of the top NIL earners in the country. But the two 21-year-old seniors – transfers from Fresno State last offseason – have proved they’re not just Insta-models or TikTok celebrities. They’re also intensely focused athletes who have been playing basketball since age six, now helping UM to a 7-4 record at the time of writing. – Kylie Wang