Monday, March 23, 2009

3 Weeks Out, a look 33 years back.

The 33rd annual Carbonell Awards will be held at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts on April 6, 2009. I was checking the website to see what announcements have been made since the nominations (none) when I discovered an article describing the very first awards, back in 1976.

I knew things were different back then, but I did not realize how different.

They were not called the Carbonell Awards: they were the Theatre Circle Awards, and they were nominated and judged by the South Florida Entertainment Writers’ Assn., Inc. (Basically, it was the theater critics for all the South Florida newspapers).

There were a lot fewer theaters participating:
Parker Playhouse
Miami Beach Theater of the Performing Arts (The Jackie Gleason Theater)
Coconut Grove Playhouse
But even fewer actual producers: the Parker Playhouse and Miami Beach Theatre for the Performing Arts were rental halls, as they are to this day, although Parker had facilities for some fabrication. But those were used by the companies coming in to present the plays.

So here's who was producing the plays:
Zev Buffman Entertainment
The Coconut Grove Playhouse.
Yah. Not much of theatre scene back then. Of course, fewer theaters and fewer producers means fewer plays: everything was lumped together, musicals and plays, tours and local productions:
The King & I, Magnificent Yankee, Mame, That Championship Season, The Student Prince, Mack & Mable, The Mousetrap, Me & Bessie, Funny Girl, Norman, Is That You?, Diamond Studs, and Oh, Calcutta
That's 12 productions on three stages by 2 companies. This year, there are 30 productions by 16 companies on 17 stages (City Theatre plays both the Arsth Center and the Broward Center).

The performers vying for the awards in 1976 is even more surprising; there were a lot of names that I am completely familiar with:
David Cryer, David McCallum, Jason Robards, James Whitmore, Linda Hopkins, Angela Lansbury, Audra Lindley, Constance Towers, George Dzundza, Lawrence Pressman, Olivia Barash, Jane Connell,
There will be far fewer celebrities at this year's ceremony, although there will be more than enough star power to go around. Of the one hundred seventy five attendees at the first awards, I do not know how many were the honorees. But April 6th will see the year's largest gathering of theatre professionals in South Florida; it's the one time we all gather together from across three counties into one place.

And in honor of the awards (and because I finally figured out how to use the gadget) I have a poll up in the sidebar. It will change each week until the awards. Just a little fun until we get there.

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