The suspense that has gripped the South Florida theatrical community for more than two months finally ended Monday, March 30th when the winners of the 39th annual Carbonell Awards were announced in a lavish ceremony at Broward Center for the Performing Arts in Fort Lauderdale.
Unlike past years, there were no sweeps by an individual theater or production. GableStage in Coral Gables narrowly pulled ahead of the pack with four awards going to three of their productions. Natalia Coego won Best Actress, play, and Mark Della Ventura won Best Supporting Actor, play, for Bad Jews. Matt Corey won Best Sound Design for The Mountaintop. And Arielle Hoffman, daughter of Carbonell Award winners Avi Hoffman and Laura Turnbull, carried on the family tradition by winning Best Supporting Actress, play, for her performance in The Whale.
Zoetic Stage, the company with 16 nominations, the most of any theater, won three awards. Best New Work went to playwright Michael McKeever for his comedy Clark Gable Slept Here; Stuart Meltzer won Best Director, play, also for Clark Gable Slept Here; and the company won the award for Best Production of a Musical for Assassins.
Maltz Jupiter Theatre took Best Production of a Play honors for The Foreigner, while Marcia Milgrom Dodge won Best Director, musical, for The King and I. Leon Weibers won Best Costume Design, also for The King and I.
Last fall, Actors’ Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre stepped away from their usual fare and took a risk with the edgy, rock and roll love story Murder Ballad, and Monday night their bet on that production paid off with three Carbonell Awards: Chris Crawford won Best Supporting Actor, musical; Mariand Torres won Best Supporting Actress, musical; and the cast won the Best Ensemble award.
The partnership between the The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Arts and the University of Miami also proved fruitful. Their co-production of Peter and the Starcatcher won three awards: Nicholas Richberg won Best Actor, play; Yoshinori Tanokura won Best Scenic Design and Eric Haugen won Best Lighting Design.
Slow Burn Theatre Company, in its sophomore year of eligibility, won two awards: Ann Marie Olson won Best Actress, musical, for Parade; and Emmanuel Schvartzman won Best Musical Direction, also for Parade.
The Theatre at Arts Garage and The Wick won one Carbonell Award each: Clay Cartland won Best Actor, musical, for The Trouble with Doug at The Theatre at Arts Garage while Ron Hutchins won Best Choreography for 42nd Street at The Wick.
The awards were divided between Miami-Dade County with 13 wins and Palm Beach County with 7 wins. And while several of the performers in the acting categories had previously been nominated for Carbonell Awards, each is a first-time winner of South Florida’s most prestigious theatrical honor.
Along with honoring excellence in theater, a highlight of the annual Carbonell Awards ceremony is recognizing those who have made significant contributions to the arts.
The prestigious George Abbott Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Arts, awarded to an individual (or team) who has contributed significantly to the artistic and cultural development of the region, was presented to Scott Shiller, executive vice-president of the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts and President of the Board of Directors of the Carbonell Awards, in recognition of his arts and civic involvement as well as his term as President of the Board of Directors of the Carbonell Awards, for which he led the organization through its first strategic plan, established new financial goals and instituted fresh governance procedures aimed at securing the organization’s future.
The Ruth Foreman Award, which recognizes significant contributions to South Florida theater development by an individual or group, was awarded to The Naked Stage for the company’s annual event, The 24 Hour Theatre Project, which fosters new one-act play development and promotes unity among the region’s theaters.
The Howard Kleinberg Award, bestowed as special recognition for contributions to the health and development of the arts in South Florida, was awarded to Iris Acker, an actress, director, author, talk show host and Carbonell judge, for her tireless work in promoting the arts in the region.
The Carbonell Awards also awarded $1,000 scholarships to three South Florida students pursuing careers in theater or journalism: Gena Yvonne Sims (Miami-Dade County) who attends of New World School of the Arts; Danielle Angela Jensen (Broward County) who attends Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School; and Jacob Poser (Palm Beach County) who attends Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts
The other big news of the evening was the announcement that Carbonell Board of Directors Treasurer and Secretary Donald R. Walters is the new incoming board president. Walters takes the reins in May, when current Carbonell Board of Directors President Scott Shiller moves to Denver to become the president and CEO of Denver Center for the Performing Arts.
For more information on the Carbonell awards, visit CarbonellAwards.org.
A complete list of winners follows, as well as stats on number of awards by county, theatre and production.
Carbonell Award Winners, 2014
Best New Work (play or musical)
Clark Gable Slept Here, Michael McKeever, Zoetic Stage
Best Ensemble Production (play or musical)
Murder Ballad, Actors’ Playhouse
Best Production of a Play
The Foreigner, Maltz Jupiter Theatre
Stuart Meltzer, Clark Gable Slept Here, Zoetic Stage
Nicholas Richberg, Peter and the Starcatcher, The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts and the University of Miami
Natalia Coego, Bad Jews, GableStage
Best Supporting Actor/Play
Mark Della Ventura, Bad Jews, GableStage
Best Supporting Actress/Play
Arielle Hoffman, The Whale, GableStage
Best Production of a Musical
Assassins, Zoetic Stage
Marcia Milgrom Dodge, The King and I, Maltz Jupiter Theatre
Clay Cartland, The Trouble with Doug, Theatre at Arts Garage
Ann Marie Olson, Parade, Slow Burn Theatre Company
Best Supporting Actor/Musical
Chris Crawford, Murder Ballad, Actors’ Playhouse
Best Supporting Actress/Musical
Mariand Torres, Murder Ballad, Actors’ Playhouse
Best Musical Direction
Emmanuel Schvartzman, Parade, Slow Burn Theatre Company
Ron Hutchins, 42nd Street, The Wick
Best Scenic Design/play or musical
Yoshinori Tanokura, Peter and the Starcatcher, The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts and the University of Miami
Best Lighting Design/play or musical
Eric Haugen, Peter and the Starcatcher, The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts and the University of Miami
Best Costume Design/play or musical
Leon Weibers, The King and I, Maltz Jupiter Theatre
Best Sound Design/play or musical
Matt Corey, The Mountaintop, GableStage
Awards by County
7 Palm Beach
Awards by Theater
3 Actors’ Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre
3 Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts and the University of Miami
3 Maltz Jupiter Theatre
3 Zoetic Stage
2 Slow Burn Theatre Company
1 The Theatre at Arts Garage
1 The Wick
Awards by Production
3 Murder Ballad, Actors’ Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre
3 Peter and the Starcatcher, Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts and the University of Miami
2 Bad Jews, GableStage
2 Clark Gable Slept Here, Zoetic Stage
2 The King and I, Maltz Jupiter Theatre
2 Parade, Slow Burn Theatre Company
1 42nd Street, The Wick
1 Assassins, Zoetic Stage
1 The Foreigner, Maltz Jupiter Theatre
1 The Mountaintop, GableStage
1 The Trouble with Doug, The Theatre at Arts Garage
1 The Whale, GableStage