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Posted on Tuesday, January 22nd, 9:08am


(Fort Lauderdale, FL – January 17, 2019) A drama about an acting troupe performing a controversial play and a world premiere musical about life in Cuba past and present garnered the most nominations for the 43rd annual Carbonell Awards, which honor excellence in theater in South Florida.  Indecent, produced by Palm Beach Dramaworks in West Palm Beach, earned nine nominations, and Havana Music Hall, produced by Actors’ Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre in Coral Gables, earned seven.

Palm Beach Dramaworks shows earned 18 nominations overall, the most of any theater in the tri-county region, for its productions of the plays Indecent, Equus and Edgar and Emily, and the musical Woody Guthrie’s American Song.  Slow Burn Theatre Company in Fort Lauderdale earned 16 nominations, the most of any theater in Broward County. Zoetic Stage received 14 nominations, the most for any theater in Miami-Dade County.  Both Slow Burn and Zoetic Stage hold the distinction of earning at least one nomination for every show the companies produced in 2018.  Miami-Dade theaters earned 43 nominations, Palm Beach County 37, and Broward County 21.  Nominations recognized 37 shows at theaters stretching from Coral Gables in the south to Jupiter in the north. 

For the second year in a row, the nominations are being announced live from 8:30 to 10 a.m. today by The Morning Lounge with Jill and Rich on Legends Radio100.3FM and the Carbonell Awards Facebook Live simulcast.

The awards will be bestowed at the Carbonell Awards ceremony on Monday, April 8, 2019, at 7:30 p.m. at Broward Center for the Performing Arts in Fort Lauderdale.

“South Florida’s regional theaters continue to grow and excel,” said Jody Leshinsky, president of the Carbonell Awards Board of Directors.  “In 2018, 97 productions met the eligibility requirements for Carbonell Award evaluation, including more musicals than any other year.  The nominees are a mix of new and veteran theater artists, first-time nominees and past winners. And the range of work, from classic plays and beloved musicals to world premieres and shows recently on Broadway, points to South Florida as a hotbed of talent and creativity with an audience hungry for all kinds of theater.”

In addition to recognizing the stars of today, the Carbonell Awards’ core mission is to award scholarships to the talent of tomorrow. Applications for the Jack Zink Memorial Carbonell Awards Scholarships are currently being accepted. Get full information at http://carbonellawards.org/scholarships/  The deadline to apply is February 5.

Triple Threat

Actor Clay Cartland earned three nominations, the most of any nominee, for shows in three different counties: Best Supporting Actor for Gloria at GableStage; Best Actor, Musical for The Pirates of Penzance at The Wick Theatre; and Best Supporting Actor, Musical, for Rock of Ages at Slow Burn Theatre.

Double Your Pleasure

Several performers and designers earned two nominations each:  lighting designer Kirk Bookman for his work on Indecent at Palm Beach Dramaworks and An Inspector Calls at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre; Patrick Fitzwater for his direction and choreography of Memphis at Slow Burn; Jeni Hacker as Best Supporting Actress, Musical, in Fun Home at Zoetic Stage and as Choreographer for Once at Actors’ Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre; J. Barry Lewis for his direction of Indecent and Equus, both at Palm Beach Dramaworks; scenic designer Michael McClain for his work on Be Here Now at Theatre Lab and Wrongful Death and Other Circus Acts at Zoetic Stage; playwright Michael McKeever for his two world premieres, Dracula at Zoetic Stage and Mr. Parker at Island City Stage; Stuart Meltzer, for his direction of the play  Wrongful Death and Other Circus Acts and the musical Fun Home, both at Zoetic Stage; and Margot Moreland as Best Supporting Actress for the musical Disaster at Slow Burn and for the play Mr. Parker at Island City Stage.

All in the Family

Two married couples received nominations: Matt Stabile, artistic director of Theatre Lab, earned a nomination for his direction of the play The Revolutionists, while his wife Niki Fridh earned a supporting actress nod for the play Tar Beach, directed by Stabile.  Fridh took home the Carbonell Award for Best Actress, Play, last year for Grounded at Thinking Cap Theatre. Michael McKeever and his husband Stuart Meltzer are also both double nominees.  Three of their nominations are for productions at the company they helped co-found, Zoetic Stage, while one of McKeever’s plays for Best New Work, Mr. Parker, premiered at Island City Stage.

Unconventional Nominations

In the Best Choreography category, two choreographers earned nominations for their work in non-musicals.  Lynnette Barkley earned a nomination for the play Indecent at Palm Beach Dramaworks, in which music and dance play an important role in the way the story is told.  Jeffrey Cason Jr. earned a nomination for his work on God’s Trombones at M Ensemble, a show based on the poetry of James Weldon Johnson and structured as a gospel church service; Cason was also the principal dancer in the show.  Glenn Rovinelli earned a nomination for Musical Direction for the play Indecent and was part of a trio of onstage musicians who provided the live music.

She Plays the Violin

Anna Lise Jensen, who earned a nomination for Best Actress, Musical, for The Bridges of Madison County at Slow Burn, also served as a musician in two other nominated shows, showing her prowess on the violin in Indecent at Palm Beach Dramaworks and Once at Actors’ Playhouse.

The Broadway Connection

Miami lawyer and playwright Christopher Demos-Brown, who is nominated in the Best New Work category for his play Wrongful Death and Other Circus Acts at Zoetic Stage, made his Broadway debut in November with his play American Son, starring Kerry Washington and Steven Pasquale.  The Broadway limited engagement runs through January 27.

The Carbonell Awards is a not-for-profit organization funded by tax-deductible donations and award sponsorships. This season’s sponsors include South Florida Cultural Consortium, the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County, the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, Rita and Jerry Cohen, Kerry and Scott Shiller, South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center, Mary Ellen and Michael Peyton, Tony Finstrom, the Palm Beach Cultural Council and the South Florida Theatre League. Opportunities to sponsor an award category and to appear on stage to announce the winner are still available.  Email carbonellhotline@gmail.com for more information.

The Carbonell Awards ceremony will take place Monday, April 8 at 7:30 p.m. in the Amaturo Theater at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 S.W. Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Tickets for nominees and groups will be available starting January 22, with order forms due by March 3.  Visit CarbonellAwards.org and click the TICKETS link for full details. All tickets are priced at $25 plus a service fee. They go on sale to the public March 8 and can be purchased at the Broward Center’s Box Office by calling 954-462-0222 or visiting www.browardcenter.org. Day-of-show tickets will be available for $35 plus the service fee.

A complete list of the 2018 nominations and a breakdown of nominations by county, theater and production follows.

Carbonell Awards Nominations, 2018

Best New Work (play or musical)

Dan Clancy, At Home, West Boca Theatre Company

Christopher Demos-Brown, Wrongful Death and Other Circus Acts, Zoetic Stage

Michael McKeever, Dracula, Zoetic Stage

Michael McKeever, Mr. Parker, Island City Stage

Joseph McDonough, Edgar & Emily, Palm Beach Dramaworks

Best Production of a Play 

Equus, Palm Beach Dramaworks

Indecent, Palm Beach Dramaworks

Queen of Basel, Miami New Drama

White Guy on the Bus, GableStage

Wrongful Death and Other Circus Acts, Zoetic Stage

Best Director, Play 

Michael Leeds, White Guy on the Bus, GableStage

J. Barry Lewis, Equus, Palm Beach Dramaworks

J. Barry Lewis, Indecent, Palm Beach Dramaworks

Stuart Meltzer, Wrongful Death, and Other Circus Acts, Zoetic Stage

Matt Stabile, The Revolutionists, Theatre Lab

Best Actor, Play

Desmond Gallant, Be Here Now, Theatre Lab

Pierre-Jean Gonzalez, The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity, Miami New Drama

Caleb Scott, Dancing Lessons, Zoetic Stage

Tom Wahl, White Guy on the Bus, GableStage

Gregg Weiner, If I Forget, GableStage

Best Actress, Play

Betsy Graver, Queen of Basel, Miami New Drama

Rita Joe, White Guy on the Bus, GableStage

Elizabeth Price, An Accident, Primal Forces

Angie Radosh, Breadcrumbs, Primal Forces

Laura Turnbull, Wrongful Death, and Other Circus Acts, Zoetic Stage


Best Supporting Actor, Play 

Clay Cartland, Gloria, GableStage

Ryan Didato, Wrongful Death, and Other Circus Acts, Zoetic Stage

Jay Russell, Indecent, Palm Beach Dramaworks

Dominic Servidio, Equus, Palm Beach Dramaworks

Leon Thomas III, One Night in Miami, Miami New Drama


Best Supporting Actress, Play 

Vanessa Elise, Wrongful Death, and Other Circus Acts, Zoetic Stage

Niki Fridh, Tar Beach, Theatre Lab

Margery Lowe, If I Forget, GableStage

Mia Matthews, The Revolutionists, Theatre Lab

Margot Moreland, Mr. Parker, Island City Stage


Best Production of a Musical
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