Gusman’s Guardian Angel

The veil’s been lifted from a mystery benefactor who recently offered to help save Miami’s historic Olympia Theater at the Gusman Center for the Performing Arts.

In effort to tighten up its budget, the city recently announced its intention to end a $475,000 annual subsidy to the Gusman, which some feared would mean the end for the 84-year-old, Moorish-style theater.

Enter local politician and advertising executive Herman Echevarria.

Echevarria has stepped in to shore up funds to cover the gap and reportedly plans to establish a nonprofit that would take over management of the PAC, now operated by the city’s parking authority.

“He will not allow the Gusman to close,” city commissioner Marc Sarnoff told the Miami Herald. “This is a very credible person. I have every expectation he will fulfill his commitment. If he doesn’t there is no plan to save the Gusman.”

While Echevarria told the paper he’d never been inside the 1,567-seat theater until this year, he already secured the pro-bono services of a law firm and accountancy firm for the next five years for the PAC.

“It’s so beautiful,” he said. “Gusman Center is an icon to our community. It would be a disgrace to close it down.”