Performing Arts

Gritty ‘Murder Ballad,’ lavish ‘King and I’ lead the Carbonell Awards race

Zoetic Stage’s world premiere of Michael McKeever’s ‘Clark Gable Slept Here’ at Miami’s Arsht Center received five Carbonell Award nominations.
Zoetic Stage’s world premiere of Michael McKeever’s ‘Clark Gable Slept Here’ at Miami’s Arsht Center received five Carbonell Award nominations. Justin Namon

Relative newcomers and long-established theaters, edgy material and classics, large-scale companies and intimate ones: All are in the mix as nominations for the 39th annual Carbonell Awards were announced on Wednesday.

Two couldn’t-be-more-different musicals, the dark, four-character Murder Ballad at Actors’ Playhouse in Coral Gables and a lavish King and I at the Maltz Jupiter Theater, lead the competitive pack with nine nominations each. Close behind is the first musical from Zoetic Stage, a 4-year-old company based at Miami’s Arsht Center, which got eight nominations for its production of Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman’s Assassins.

Boca Raton’s Slow Burn Theatre, which will move into the Broward Center’s Amaturo Theater next season, got a dozen total nominations for three eclectic musicals: Parade (7), Chess (3) and Carrie (2).

Zoetic, which leads all South Florida theaters with 16 nominations, shares the lead in the play category with the Maltz. The world premiere of Michael McKeever’s inside-Hollywood comedy Clark Gable Slept Here earned five nominations for Zoetic, which got an additional three for its production of Lisa D’Amour’s Detroit. The Maltz scored five nominations for The Foreigner, giving it 14 nominations in total.

Last year, Palm Beach County theaters dominated with 62 nominations, though they won five awards to nine for Miami-Dade theaters. This year, Miami-Dade companies are in the lead with 50 nominations, followed by 44 for Palm Beach County theaters and just four for theaters in Broward.

Two of Zoetic’s four founders — playwright-actor-designer McKeever and artistic director Stuart Meltzer — got three nominations each, the most for individual artists. McKeever’s are the most varied: one for best new work for Clark Gable, a nod for best actor in a play for his performance in Mothers and Sons at GableStage (he won that Carbonell last year for The Timekeepers at Island City Stage) and a set design nomination for Zoetic’s Detroit. Meltzer was nominated for his direction and sound design of Assassins and his direction of Clark Gable Slept Here.

Like Meltzer, Margaret M. Ledford got a pair of directing nominations, one for August Strindberg’s classic Miss Julie at The Naked Stage in Miami Shores, the other for the new musical The Trouble with Doug at Delray Beach’s Theatre at Arts Garage.

Other double nominees are Slow Burn’s Patrick Fitzwater (for directing Parade and choreographing Chess), Nicholas Richberg (best actor in a musical for Zoetic’s Assassins, best actor in a play for the Arsht Center/University of Miami production of Peter and the Starcatcher), Chaz Mena (best supporting actor in a musical for Assassins, best supporting actor in a play for Detroit, both Zoetic shows), Marcia Milgrom Dodge (for direction and choreography of The King and I at the Maltz) and sound designer Matt Corey (for The Mountaintop at GableStage and Our Town at Palm Beach Dramaworks.

Three actresses who won Carbonells last year have a chance to repeat wins in their categories, and a fourth could take home the best actress in a play award after winning best supporting actress in 2014.

Amy Miller Brennan, best actress in a musical for Ruthless! at Actors’ Playhouse, is nominated again for Chess at Slow Burn. Karen Stephens, best actress in a play for Zoetic’s Fear Up Harsh, is nominated for her performance in GableStage’s The Mountaintop. Lourelene Snedeker, best supporting actress in a musical for The Sound of Music at Boca Raton’s The Wick, is nominated for her work in Mame at the same theater. And Angie Radosh, best supporting actress in a play for Exit the King at Palm Beach Dramaworks, got a best actress nomination for GableStage’s Mothers and Sons.

The Carbonells, named for the late sculptor Manuel Carbonell who designed the award statue, will honor the best in South Florida theater in 2014. They’re given in 20 categories, with additional special honors such as the George Abbott Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Arts bestowed during the annual show and ceremony at the Broward Center’s Amaturo Theater. This year, the 16 companies vying for honors underscore South Florida theater’s vast geographic range, from New Theatre (which performs at the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center in Cutler Bay) in the south to the Maltz Jupiter Theatre in the north.

This year’s event takes place at 7:30 p.m. March 30 at the center, 201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Tickets are $31.86, available by calling the Broward Center box office at 954-462-0222 (group discounts for 10 or more are available by calling 954-660-6307). Visit www.carbonellawards.org or www.browardcenter.org for information. 

2014 Carbonell Awards nominations

Best New Work: ‘Clark Gable Slept Here,’ Michael McKeever, Zoetic Stage; ‘Cuban Spring,’ Vanessa Garcia, New Theatre; ‘Have I Got a Girl for You,’ Josh Mesnick, Island City Stage; ‘POZ,’ Michael Aman, Island City Stage.

Best Ensemble Production: ‘Ain’t Misbehavin’,’ The Wick; ‘Centralia,’ Mad Cat Theatre; ‘Detroit,’ Zoetic Stage; ‘Gidion’s Knot,’ New Theatre; ‘Murder Ballad,’ Actors’ Playhouse.

PLAYS

Best Production of a Play: ‘Clark Gable Slept Here,’ Zoetic Stage; ‘The Foreigner,’ Maltz Jupiter Theatre; ‘Miss Julie,’ The Naked Stage; ‘Mothers and Sons,’ GableStage; ‘Our Town,’ Palm Beach Dramaworks.

Best Director: J. Barry Lewis, ‘Our Town,’ Palm Beach Dramaworks; Joseph Adler, ‘Mothers and Sons,’ GableStage; Margaret M. Ledford, ‘Miss Julie,’ The Naked Stage; Matt Lenz, ‘The Foreigner,’ Maltz Jupiter Theatre; Stuart Meltzer, ‘Clark Gable Slept Here,’ Zoetic Stage.

Best Actor: Andrew Sellon, ‘The Foreigner,’ Maltz Jupiter Theatre; John Manzelli, ‘The Gospel According to Jerry,’ New Theatre; Matthew William Chizever, ‘Miss Julie,’ The Naked Stage; Michael McKeever, ‘Mothers and Sons,’ GableStage; Nicholas Richberg, ‘Peter and the Starcatcher,’ Arsht Center/University of Miami.

Best Actress: Angie Radosh, ‘Mothers and Sons,’ GableStage; Karen Stephens, ‘The Mountaintop,’ GableStage; Katherine Amadeo, ‘Miss Julie,’ Naked Stage; Makeba Pace, ‘Sunset Baby,’ Primal Forces; Natalia Coego, ‘Bad Jews,’ GableStage.

Best Supporting Actor: Alex Alvarez, ‘Visiting Hours,’ New Theatre; Chaz Mena, ‘Detroit,’ Zoetic Stage; Colin McPhillamy, ‘End of the Rainbow,’ Actors’ Playhouse; Mark Della Ventura, ‘Bad Jews,’ GableStage; Matthew Minor, ‘The Foreigner,’ Maltz Jupiter Theatre.

Best Supporting Actress: Arielle Hoffman, ‘The Whale,’ GableStage; Christina Groom, ‘Have I Got a Girl for You,’ Island City Stage; Elizabeth Dimon, ‘Miracle on South Division Street,’ Actors’ Playhouse; Lela Elam, ‘Clark Gable Slept Here,’ Zoetic Stage; Vanessa Elise, ‘Clark Gable Slept Here,’ Zoetic Stage.

MUSICALS

Best Production of a Musical: ‘Assassins,’ Zoetic Stage; ‘The King and I,’ Maltz Jupiter Theatre; ‘Murder Ballad,’ Actors’ Playhouse; ‘Parade,’ Slow Burn Theatre Company; ‘The Trouble with Doug,’ Theatre at Arts Garage.

Best Director: David Arisco, ‘Murder Ballad,’ Actors’ Playhouse; Marcia Milgrom Dodge, ‘The King and I,’ Maltz Jupiter Theatre; Margaret M. Ledford, ‘The Trouble with Doug,’ Theatre at Arts Garage; Patrick Fitzwater, ‘Parade,’ Slow Burn Theatre Company; Stuart Meltzer, ‘Assassins,’ Zoetic Stage.

Best Actor: Clay Cartland, ‘The Trouble with Doug,’ Theatre at Arts Garage; Matthew Korinko, ‘Chess,’ Slow Burn Theatre Company; Mike Westrich, ‘Thrill Me,’ Outre Theatre Company; Nicholas Richberg, ‘Assassins,’ Zoetic Stage; Wayne Hu, ‘The King and I,’ Maltz Jupiter Theatre.

Best Actress: Amy Miller Brennan, ‘Chess,’ Slow Burn Theatre Company; Ann Marie Olson, ‘Parade,’ Slow Burn Theatre Company; Anne Chamberlain, ‘Carrie,’ Slow Burn Theatre Company; Julie Kleiner, ‘42nd Street,’ The Wick; Michele Ragusa, ‘The King and I,’ Maltz Jupiter Theatre.

Best Supporting Actor: Chaz Mena, ‘Assassins,’ Zoetic Stage; Chris Crawford, ‘Murder Ballad,’ Actors’ Playhouse; Gabriel Zenone, ‘Assassins,’ Zoetic Stage; Jerel Brown, ‘Parade,’ Slow Burn Theatre Company; Shane Tanner, ‘The Trouble with Doug,’ Theatre at Arts Garage.

Best Supporting Actress: Kaitlyn O’Neill, ‘Parade,’ Slow Burn Theatre Company; Lourelene Snedeker, ‘Mame,’ The Wick; Mariand Torres, ‘Murder Ballad,’ Actors’ Playhouse; Patti Gardner, ‘Pippin,’ Boca Raton Theatre Guild; Shelley Keelor, ‘Carrie,’ Slow Burn Theatre Company.

Musical Direction: Caryl Fantel, ‘Assassins,’ Zoetic Stage; Eric Alsford, ‘Murder Ballad,’ Actors’ Playhouse; Helen Gregory, ‘The King and I,’ Maltz Jupiter Theatre; Manny Schvartzman, ‘Parade,’ Slow Burn Theatre Company; Paul Reekie, ‘The Trouble with Doug,’ Theatre at Arts Garage

Choreography: Kelly Shook, ‘Swing,’ The Wick; Marcia Milgrom Dodge, ‘The King and I,’ Maltz Jupiter Theatre; Patrick Fitzwater, ‘Chess,’ Slow Burn Theatre Company; Ron Hutchins, ‘42nd Street,’ The Wick.

DESIGN

Best Scenic Design: Gene Seyffer, ‘Murder Ballad,’ Actors’ Playhouse; Narelle Sissons, ‘The King and I,’ Maltz Jupiter Theatre; Michael McKeever, ‘Detroit,’ Zoetic Stage; Rob Odorisio, ‘The Foreigner,’ Maltz Jupiter Theatre; Yashinori Tankura, ‘Peter and the Starcatcher,’ Arsht Center/University of Miami.

Best Lighting Design: Eric Nelson, ‘Murder Ballad,’ Actors’ Playhouse; Jeff Quinn, ‘The Mountaintop,’ GableStage; Ron Burns, ‘My Old Lady,’ Palm Beach Dramaworks; Stefanie Howard, ‘Thrill Me,’ Outre Theatre Company; Eric Haugen, ‘Peter and the Starcatcher,’ Arsht Center/University of Miami.

Best Costume Design: Alberto Arroyo, ‘Assassins,’ Zoetic Stage; Ellis Tillman, ‘Peter and the Starcatcher,’ Arsht Center/University of Miami; Leon Weibers, ‘The King and I,’ Maltz Jupiter Theatre; Rick Pena, ‘Parade,’ Slow Burn Theatre Company; Robin L. McGee, ‘Our Town,’ Palm Beach Dramaworks.

Best Sound Design: Marty Mets, ‘The King and I,’ Maltz Jupiter Theatre; Matt Corey, ‘The Mountaintop,’ GableStage; Matt Corey, ‘Our Town,’ Palm Beach Dramaworks; Mitch Furman, ‘Murder Ballad,’ Actors’ Playhouse; Stuart Meltzer, ‘Assassins,’ Zoetic Stage.

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