Performing Arts

Silver Palm Awards to honor veteran directors, actors and newcomers

Michael McKeever and Angie Radosh will receive Silver Palm honors for their performances in GableStage’s ‘Mothers and Sons.’
Michael McKeever and Angie Radosh will receive Silver Palm honors for their performances in GableStage’s ‘Mothers and Sons.’ George Schiavone

South Florida’s Carbonell Awards will celebrate a 40th anniversary in the spring, but next up on the regional theater awards circuit are the Silver Palm Awards, which will be presented for the eighth time on Dec. 7.

The Silver Palms, founded by playwright-producer Tony Finstrom, Becon TV talk show host Iris Acker and critic Ron Levitt, are more like Off-Broadway’s Obie Awards than a competitive contest like the Carbonells. The founders, serving as an executive committee, seek recommendations from an advisory council of critics, which this year included Hap Erstein, Bill Hirschman, J.W. Arnold, John Thomason, Roger Martin, Michelle F. Solomon, Skip Sheffield, John Lariviere, Jeffrey Bruce, Richard Cameron, Mary Damiano and moi. Then the executive committee finalizes its honorees.

This year, 27 individuals and organizations will be honored for work done between Sept. 1, 2014, and Aug. 31, 2015. The Silver Palms will be presented during the South Florida Theatre’s League’s annual holiday party at Stache, 109 SW Second Ave., Fort Lauderdale, fron 7:30 to 10 p.m. The gathering is free to Theatre League members, $25 for anyone else who wants to attend. Call Andie Arthur at 954-557-0778 or email For information on the Silver Palms, visit

The Silver Palm recipients for 2014-15 range from veteran theater figures, such as artistic directors Joseph Adler of GableStage, David Arisco of Actors’ Playhouse and Derelle Bunn of Stage Door Theatre to young actors including Kristian Bikic, Natalia Coego, Bruno Faria, Stephanie White and Robert Johnston.

The Silver Palm honorees include directors, actors, producers, designers and the Carbonell Awards’ managing director.

Honored directors are Adler, for his staging of Mothers and Sons, Bad Jews and Choir Boy at GablesStage; Arisco, for his direction of Ragtime, Murder Ballad and First Date at Actors’ Playhouse; and Island City Stage’s Andy Rogow, for his staging of Octopus and Daniel’s Husband.

Veteran actors being honored are Antonio Amadeo, for his Island City Stage performances in Daniel’s Husband and Shorts Gone Wild 3; Niki Fridh, for Vita & Virginia at Thinking Cap Theatare and Shorts Gone Wild 3; Shelley Keelor, for Slow Burn Theatre’s Carrie and MNM Productions’ Side by Side by Sondheim; Mia Matthews, for Island City’s The Little Dog Laughed; John Manzelli, for New Theatre’s The Gospel According to Jerry and Fully Committed at the Broward Center, as well as his fight choreography for Island City’s Octopus; Makeba Pace, for Primal Forces’ Sunset Baby; Angie Radosh, for GableStage’s Mothers and Sons; Nicholas Richberg, for Peter and the Starcatcher at the Arsht Center and Zoetic Stage’s Betrayal; Barbara Sloan for Vita & Virginia and for Actors’ Playhouse’s The Book Club Play; Shane Tanner, for Oklahoma! at the Wick Theatre, Little Shop of Horrors at Slow Burn and 110 in the Shade in concert at Palm Beach Dramaworks; Laura Turnbull for Island City’s Daniel’s Husband, GableStage’s I’ll Eat You Last and Primal Forces’ Redwood Curtain; and Mike Westrich, for Stars of David at the Broward Center and Little Shop of Horrors at Slow Burn.

In the new talent category, Bikic is being honored for his work in Island City’s Daniel’s Husband and Octopus; Coego for GableStage’s Bad Jews; Faria for Slow Burn’s Bonnie & Clyde and Rent; Johnston for Ground Up & Rising’s Vincent River; and White for Ragtime.

Honors for designers will go to Slow Burn’s Lance Blank for his lighting design work on Carrie, Bonnie & Clyde, Rent and Little Shop of Horrors; Josieu Jean for his Peter Pan and Dames at Sea projections at the Wick; and set designer Michael McClain, for Island City’s Octopus and The Little Dog Laughed, and for Bell, Book and Candle at Stage Door.

Triple threat Michael McKeever is being honored for three different kinds of work: for his new play Daniel’s Husband at Island City, for his performance in GableStage’s Mothers and Sons and for his set design work on Zoetic’s Detroit.

The other Silver Palm honorees are Bunn, for her two decades of work at Stage Door; Damiano, for her outstanding work in South Florida’s theater community and as managing director of the Carbonell Awards; and Nicole Stodard and The Vanguard, for bringing an outstanding new theater space to life in Fort Lauderdale.