Two fresh takes on American musical classics and a pair of Pulitzer Prize-winning plays lead the race for South Florida theater’s coveted Carbonell Awards. Honoring the best work of 2012, the 37th annual Carbonells will be presented April 1 in the Amaturo Theater at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts.
Frontrunners among musicals are the Maltz Jupiter Theatre’s The Music Man, with nine nominations; the Maltz’s Hello, Dolly!, with eight; and the Pulitzer-winning musical Next to Normal at Actors’ Playhouse, with six. GableStage’s production of Lynn Nottage’s Ruined, about the horrific violence against Congo’s women, earned nine nominations to lead the play category, followed by two Zoetic Stage productions, I Am My Own Wife and Moscow, with five each.
Thanks to the strength of the Maltz Jupiter Theatre’s musicals and Palm Beach Dramaworks’ plays, theaters in Palm Beach County earned a Carbonell-leading 45 nominations to 42 for Miami-Dade theaters and 13 for Broward companies. The Maltz leads all theaters with 23 nominations, followed by a dozen each for the Coral Gables-based GableStage and Actors’ Playhouse, as well as a dozen for Dramaworks in West Palm Beach. Two-year-old Zoetic Stage, which performs in the Carnival Studio Theater at the Miami’s Arsht Center, earned 10 nominations.
The big story in South Florida theater in 2012 was the loss of three award-winning companies, but Carbonell nominators didn’t forget their best work. Boca Raton’s Caldwell Theatre Company earned four nominations for its production of The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity, a Pulitzer-finalist script set in the wild world of professional wrestling. Davie’s Promethean Theatre earned three for its final production, Craig Wright’s mysterious and unsettling The Unseen, and Plantation’s Mosaic Theatre got two for its last show, Conor McPherson’s The Birds, plus one more for a play it commissioned, Joe Calarco’s A Measure of Cruelty.
Some of the nominees have the chance to go home with more than one award, which is named for its designer, the late sculptor Manuel Carbonell.
Among actors, Lela Elam is up for best actress in a play for GableStage’s Ruined and best supporting actress for Zoetic Stage’s Moscow; Alez Alvarez is competing against himself for best supporting actor in a play, nominated for his wildly different performances in GableStage’s The Motherf**ker With the Hat and Promethean’s The Unseen; Matt Loehr is up for best actor in a musical for his dancing Harold Hill in Maltz’s The Music Man and best supporting actor for the Maltz’s Hello, Dolly!; and Angie Radosh showed her versatility with a best supporting actress in a play nod for Dramaworks’ A Delicate Balance and a best supporting actress in a musical nomination for Cabaret at the Maltz.
Other multiple nominees are playwright Michael McKeever, whose Zoetic world premiere Moscow is up for best new work and best production of a play, and whose set for Zoetic’s I Am My Own Wife got a best scenic design nomination; Margaret M. Ledford, nominated for directing The Unseen at Promethean, and for directing and doing the sound design for Naked Stage’s Turn of the Screw; Marcia Milgrom Dodge, nominated as best director and best choreographer for the Maltz’ Hello, Dolly!; Mark Della Ventura, whose Alliance Theatre Lab world premiere roomies is up for best new work and best ensemble; and sound designer Matt Corey, nominated for his work on Mosaic’s The Birds, Promethean’s The Unseen and GableStage’s A Steady Rain.
Tickets to the Carbonell Awards ceremony are $25 in advance ($20 for groups of 10 or more), $35 at the door, and they go on sale Feb. 1. The Broward Center is located at 201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Visit www.browardcenter.org to purchase tickets.