Newer South Florida theater companies claimed their places in the spotlight on Wednesdaywhen nominations for the 38th annual Carbonell Awards were announced.
The strongest showing, in its first year of eligibility for the region’s top theater honors, came from Boca Raton-based Slow Burn Theatre Company. The theater’s production of the Pulitzer Prize-winning musical Next to Normal, performed at both the West Boca Performing Arts Center and the Aventura Arts & Cultural Center, earned all 10 of the company’s nominations – the most of any 2013 South Florida production.
Also soaring on the strength of a single show is Fort Lauderdale-based Island City Stage. Its production of Dan Clancy’s Holocaust play The Timekeepers got a half-dozen nominations, the most for any play last year.
The Carbonells, named for the late sculptor Manuel Carbonell who designed the award, will be given out in 20 categories during a show and ceremony March 31 at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts.
For 2013, theaters based in Palm Beach County, led by the Maltz Jupiter Theatre with 19 nominations and Palm Beach Dramaworks with 14, dominated the field, earning 62 of 98 nominations. Miami-Dade theaters got 28 nominations, Broward theaters 8.
Just as the size and budgets of the region’s nominated theater companies vary vastly, the kind of work selected by Carbonell judges for recognition runs the stylistic gamut. On one end are lavish productions of Broadway musicals ( Thoroughly Modern Millie at the Maltz, The Sound of Music at the new Wick Theatre) and classic plays ( A Raisin in the Sun and The Lion in Winter at Dramaworks). On the other are powerfully simple, small-scale productions of newer works such as Cock at GableStage and Lungs at Delray Beach’s Theatre at Arts Garage.
After Slow Burn’s Next to Normal, the year’s other top musical nominees are Annie at the Maltz, with 7; Ruthless! at Actors’ Playhouse, with 6; and In the Heights at Actors’, The Longing and the Short of It at the Theatre at Arts Garage, and Thoroughly Modern Millie at the Maltz, each with 5 nominations.
Also earning 5 nominations each are several plays: Fear Up Harsh, a Zoetic Stage world premiere at Miami’s Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts; A Raisin in the Sun and The Lion in Winter at Dramaworks, and Dial M for Murder at the Maltz.
Three actors earned double nominations: Karen Stephens, as best actress in a play for Zoetic’s Fear Up Harsh and best supporting actress in a play for Doubt at the Maltz; Colin McPhillamy, as best actor in a play for Dramaworks’ Exit the King and best supporting actor in a play for Dial M for Murder at the Maltz; and Patti Gardner, as best actress in a musical for Chicago at the Boca Raton Theatre Guild and best supporting actress in a play for Sons of the Prophet at GableStage.
Musical director Manny Schvartzman, director-choreographer Mark Martino, set designer Michael Amico and costume designer Ellis Tillman also got two nominations each.
Winners will be announced March 31 at the Broward Center’s Amaturo Theater, 201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Tickets are $25 in advance, $35 at the door, with $20 tickets available to groups of 10 or more. Visit www.carbonellawards.org for information.