Two grand musicals infused with the sweep of history and a third about a father with a penchant for spinning tall tales lead the race for the 40th annual Carbonell Awards, South Florida theater’s highest honor.
Announced on Wednesday, the 100 nominations in 20 categories include a competition-leading 10 for the Maltz Jupiter Theatre’s production of Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg’s worldwide musical hit Les Misérables; and nine each for the Actors’ Playhouse production of the Lynn Ahrens-Stephen Flaherty-Terrence McNally musical Ragtime and Slow Burn Theatre’s staging of the Andrew Lippa-John August musical Big Fish.
Other musical contenders include the Maltz’s Billy Elliot with six nominations, and Slow Burn’s Bonnie & Clyde with four.
In the play category, Carbonell nominators recognized the Island City Stage world premiere of Michael McKeever’s moving gay marriage play Daniel’s Husband with a half-dozen nominations.
Other nominated plays include Palm Beach Dramaworks’ productions of Sam Shepard’s mysterious Buried Child and William Inge’s Picnic (both Pulitzer Prize-winning dramas), the Maltz’s production of David Mamet’s intense Glengarry Glen Ross (another Pulitzer winner), Zoetic Stage’s world premiere of Christopher Demos-Brown’s Stripped and Island City Stage’s production of Steve Yockey’s metaphor-filled Octopus. Buried Child got five nominations, while the others received four each.
Three successful South Florida-based playwrights earned nominations for their new works: McKeever for Daniel’s Husband; Demos-Brown for Stripped; and Pulitzer winner Nilo Cruz, who partnered with Michiko Kitayama Skinner to create the docudrama Tsunami, which had its world premiere at the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center. (McKeever and Demos-Brown, it should be noted, are friends who are among the founders of Zoetic Stage.)
Nine nominees — three directors, five actors and a costume designer — were recognized with multiple nominations.
Slow Burn co-founder and artistic director Patrick Fitzwater has a pair of best director of a musical nominations (for Big Fish and Bonnie & Clyde) and a choreography nomination (for Big Fish). Zoetic artistic director Stuart Meltzer is up for best director of a play for his work on Harold Pinter’s Betrayal and on Stripped. J. Barry Lewis is nominated as best director of a play for the Maltz’s Glengarry Glen Ross and Dramaworks’ Buried Child. Ellis Tillman, who designed the costumes for GableStage’s Casa Valentina and Ragtime at Actors’ Playhouse, also received a pair of nominations.
In addition to his best new work nomination, McKeever is nominated as best supporting actor in a play for his performance in Dramaworks’ Picnic. Ann Marie Olson is up for best actress in a play (Thinking Cap Theatre’s play-with-music Always … Patsy Cline) and in a musical (Slow Burn’s Big Fish). Shane Tanner was recognized with a best actor in a musical nomination for his leading performance in Big Fish, also receiving a best supporting nod as Jud in The Wick Theatre’s Oklahoma!. Elizabeth Dimon got supporting actress nominations for her work in City Theatre’s Summer Shorts and the Maltz’s Billy Elliot. Actor Rob Donohoe got a lead nomination for Buried Child at Dramaworks and a supporting one for Glengarry Glen Ross at the Maltz.
By county, Palm Beach County theaters were dominant, with 35 of the 47 nominations going to the Maltz (which leads all South Florida companies with 21) and Dramaworks (its shows earned 14).
Companies in Miami-Dade County received 28 nominations, with 11 going to Actors’ Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre. GableStage at the Biltmore Hotel and the Arsht Center-based Zoetic Stage got a half-dozen nominations each.
Slow Burn Theatre, which began the year in Boca Raton and did shows at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts and the Aventura Arts & Cultural Center before moving to the Broward Center with Big Fish in late October, earned 15 nominations, helping boost Broward’s total to 25. Island City Stage earned 11 nods.
First presented in 1976, the Carbonell Awards are named in honor of the late sculptor Manuel Carbonell, who designed the bronze statue — a kind of tilted egg with a hole through its center — presented to winners. The 40th annual awards recognize work done in Carbonell-eligible productions in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties during 2015.
▪ The 40th annual Carbonell Awards show and ceremony will take place at 7:30 p.m. April 4 in the Amaturo Theater at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Tickets priced at $20 for groups of 10 or more go on sale Jan. 20; $25 individual tickets go on sale March 7, and day-of-show tickets are $35 (all tickets have a service fee). Visit www.carbonellawards.org for information on the awards program and group tickets. Individual tickets will be available by calling the Broward Center box office at 954-462-0222 or visiting www.browardcenter.org.
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40th Annual Carbonell Awards Nominations
Best New Work: Daniel’s Husband, Michael McKeever, Island City Stage; Stripped, Christopher Demos-Brown, Zoetic Stage; Tsunami, Nilo Cruz and Michiko Kitayama Skinner, South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center, University of Miami and Arca Images; Uncertain Terms, Allison Gregory, Theatre at Arts Garage; Women Playing Hamlet, William Missouri Downs, New Theatre.
Best Ensemble Production: Casa Valentina, GableStage; Choir Boy, GableStage; Glengarry Glen Ross, Maltz Jupiter Theatre; Side by Side by Sondheim, MNM Productions; Summer Shorts, City Theatre.
Best Production: Buried Child, Palm Beach Dramaworks; Daniel’s Husband, Island City Stage; Glengarry Glen Ross, Maltz Jupiter Theatre; The History Boys, Palm Beach Dramaworks; Stripped, Zoetic Stage.
Best Director: Andy Rogow, Daniel’s Husband, Island City; J. Barry Lewis, Buried Child, Dramaworks; J. Barry Lewis, Glengarry Glen Ross, Maltz; Stuart Meltzer, Betrayal, Zoetic; Stuart Meltzer, Stripped, Zoetic.
Best Actor: Antonio Amadeo, Daniel’s Husband, Island City; Colin McPhillamy, The History Boys, Dramaworks; Chaz Mena, Betrayal, Zoetic; John Manzelli, Fully Committed, Broward Center; Rob Donohoe, Buried Child, Dramaworks.
Best Actress: Ann Marie Olson, Always…Patsy Cline, Thinking Cap Theatre; Barbara Sloan, Vita and Virginia, Thinking Cap; Katherine Amadeo, Constellations, GableStage; Lindsey Corey, Stripped, Zoetic; Mia Matthews, The Little Dog Laughed, Island City.
Best Supporting Actor: Alex Alvarez, Daniel’s Husband, Island City; Kristian Bikic, Octopus, Island City; Michael McKeever, Picnic, Dramaworks; Paul Tei, Buried Child, Dramaworks; Rob Donohoe, Glengarry Glen Ross, Maltz.
Best Supporting Actress: Elizabeth Dimon, Summer Shorts, City Theatre; Laura Turnbull, Daniel’s Husband, Island City; Margery Lowe, Picnic, Dramaworks; Niki Fridh, Vita and Virginia, Thinking Cap; Patti Gardner, Casa Valentina, GableStage.
Best Production: Big Fish, Slow Burn Theatre Company; Billy Elliot, Maltz; Bonnie & Clyde, Slow Burn; Les Misérables, Maltz; Ragtime, Actors’ Playhouse.
Best Director: David Arisco, Ragtime, Actors’ Playhouse; Mark Martino, Les Misérables, Maltz; Matt Lenz, Billy Elliot, Maltz; Patrick Fitzwater, Big Fish, Slow Burn; Patrick Fitzwater, Bonnie & Clyde, Slow Burn.
Best Actor: Aloysius Gigl, Les Misérables, Maltz; Bruno Faria, Bonnie & Clyde, Slow Burn; Gregg Goodbrod, Les Misérables, Maltz; Shane Tanner, Big Fish, Slow Burn; Don Juan Seward II, Ragtime, Actors’ Playhouse.
Best Actress: Alix Paige, Man of La Mancha, The Wick Theatre; Amy Miller Brennan, Little Shop of Horrors, Slow Burn; Ann Marie Olson, Big Fish, Slow Burn; Anne Chamberlain, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Slow Burn; Melissa Minyard, Ragtime, Actors’ Playhouse.
Best Supporting Actor: Christian Vandepas, Bonnie & Clyde, Slow Burn; Conor Walton, First Date, Actors’ Playhouse; Lewis J. Stadlen, Hello, Dolly!, The Wick; Richard Vida, Les Misérables, Maltz; Shane Tanner, Oklahoma!, The Wick.
Best Supporting Actress: Elizabeth Dimon, Billy Elliot, Maltz; Laura Hodos, The Toxic Avenger, Actors’ Playhouse; Leah Marie Sessa, Oklahoma!, The Wick; Margot Moreland, Les Misérables, Maltz; Stephanie White, Ragtime, Actors’ Playhouse.
Best Musical Direction: Ana Flavia Zuim, Billy Elliot, Maltz; Brian P. Whitted, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill, Dramaworks; David Nagy, Ragtime, Actors’ Playhouse; Emmanuel Schvartzman, Big Fish, Slow Burn; Eric Alsford, Les Misérables, Maltz.
Best Choreography: Angela Morado-Taylor, Dames at Sea, The Wick; Greg Graham, Billy Elliot, Maltz; Jennifer Werner, The Wiz, Maltz; Patrick Fitzwater, Big Fish, Slow Burn; Ron Hutchins, Ragtime, Actors’ Playhouse.
Best Scenic Design: Michael Amico, Picnic, Dramaworks; Michael McClain, Octopus, Island City; Sean McClelland, Big Fish, Slow Burn; Tim Bennett, Ragtime, Actors’ Playhouse; Victor Becker, The History Boys, Dramaworks.
Best Lighting Design: Jeff Quinn, Constellations, GableStage; Kirk Bookman, Buried Child, Dramaworks; Paul Black, Les Misérables, Maltz; Paul Miller, Billy Elliot, Maltz; Preston Bircher, Octopus, Island City.
Best Costume Design: Brian O’Keefe, Les Liaisons Dangereuses, Dramaworks; Ellis Tillman, Casa Valentina, GableStage; Ellis Tillman, Ragtime, Actors’ Playhouse; Gail Baldoni, Les Misérables, Maltz; Rick Peña, Big Fish, Slow Burn.
Best Sound Design: David Hart, Octopus, Island City; Erik T. Lawson, Tsunami, South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center; Marty Mets, Les Misérables, Maltz; Richard Szczublewski, Big Fish, Slow Burn; Steve Brush, Picnic, Dramaworks.