44th annual Carbonell Awards announces winners virtually


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Donald R. Walters, Esq., board president of the Carbonell Awards, South Florida’s Theatre & Arts Honors, has announced that the 44th awards ceremony — the first virtual one in its history livestreamed online Aug. 3 — will be viewable going forward on the YouTube Channel of the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, easily accessible via the homepage of the Carbonell Awards (http://carbonellawards.org). The original live ceremony was postponed due to COVID-19.

“The online ceremony wasn’t the only history-making event at this year’s Carbonell Awards,” Walters said. “Zoetic Stage, a Miami company with scores of nominations and many wins over the years, became the theater company to win the most awards in a single year. It earned an unprecedented 12 Carbonell Awards, including the dual top honors.”
Best Production, Musical — Sweeney Todd and Best Production, Play
— The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time.

“Additionally, Stuart Meltzer won a pair of Best Director Awards for helming both shows. The only other time the same theater and director took top honors happened in the 2001-02 season, when A Lesson Before Dying and James Joyce’s The Dead won Best Play and Best Musical, and the late Joseph Adler, long-time executive director of GableStage, won Carbonell Awards for directing both shows,” Walters said.

“Adler had a long history with the Carbonell Awards, winning for Best Director, Play category at the second annual ceremony in 1978, and winning many more throughout the years. Sadly, he passed away in April 2020, and, in recognition of the impact he had on South Florida theater, this year’s virtual Carbonell Awards ceremony was dedicated to him.”

By the way, Zoetic’s Sweeney Todd earned a total of eight awards, tying it with a production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at Actors’ Playhouse in the 1999-2000 season as the most awarded show in Carbonell history.
Meltzer wasn’t the only double award winner.

Best Actress, Musical — Jeni Hacker for playing Mrs. Lovett (bringing her career total of Carbonell Awards to four) in Sweeney Todd, Zoetic Stage, and Best Actress, Play — Jeni Hacker for her role as a Mormon mother trying to understand a gay son in Grindr Mom at
Ronnie Larsen Presents.

The Carbonell Awards were presented in 20 competitive categories, featuring 100 different nominations. Out of more than 80 shows that opened in 2019 at regional theaters, 62 were eligible for nominations.

The virtual ceremony opened with members of the diverse local theater community responding to the question: Why does theater matter to you now? The personal three-word answers included, “Creating Art Inspires,” “Stories Need Telling,” “Catalyst for Change,” “Brings Humanity Together,” “I Can Breathe,” and “Miss the Magic!” The show also featured stirring musical numbers by Ben Bagby, Leah Sessa, Kareema Khouri, Liubov Ohrimenco, Elena Alamilla, and Caryl Fantel. Geoffrey Short announced the award categories and winners, and Christina Alexander served as Equity and Inclusion Consultant.

Awards by Theater: 12, Zoetic Stage; three, Palm Beach Dramaworks; two, New City Players; two, Ronnie Larsen Presents, and one, The Wick Theatre.

Awards by Production: eight, Sweeney Todd, Zoetic Stage; two, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, Zoetic Stage; two, Grindr Mom, Ronnie Larsen Presents, and one each for A Raisin in the Sun, New City Players; Falling, New City Players; Ordinary Americans, Palm Beach Dramaworks; A Streetcar Named Desire, Palm Beach Dramaworks; Every Brilliant Thing, Zoetic Stage; Hot Shoe Shuffle, The Wick Theatre; The Spitfire Grill, Palm Beach Dramaworks, and The Wolves, Zoetic Stage.
For more information, visit www.carbonellawards.org.

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