Monday, January 16, 2012

2011 Carbonell Awards Nominations noted in Mondays are Dark, the nominations for the 2011 Carbonell Awards have been announced.  And as we mentioned then, it's a competitive field. 

There have been complaints over the years that the process is flawed, and polical; that some are nominated for political reasons instead of on merit: and those complaints are not without some merit.  After all, Arnold Mittelman recieved an acheivement award the day before his theatre, the Coconut Grove Playhouse, was shuttered.  There was a movement suggesting that the attendees stand and turn their back on him as he was awarded, and there was a very strained smattering of applause.

The Nomination is the Reward
But that was then; with new criteria to recommend shows for consideration and a year of unparalleled production quality, it's hard to argue that any nominee isn't worthy.

Florida Theater On Stage comments on some of the past controversy:
An overwhelming 43 nominations were racked up by Palm Beach County theaters. That eclipses the 30 for theaters in Miami-Dade County, which has usually been the strongest concentration of competitors in a program most theater people hate to consider a competition. Even Broward County posted a strong showing with 26 nominations.

The inescapable irony to longtime Carbonell insiders is that Palm Beach theaters have long criticized the awards for giving short shrift to the work done in the northern county.
Bill Hirschman also gives us a peak into the difficulties choosing just 5 nominations for each and every category:
Full disclosure: I am one of the ten judges who debated and joked and looked askance at each other from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 or so Sunday. The quality of the past year’s work was evident in the many impassioned discussions by well-meaning colleagues over categories that started out with as many 21 names on the table.  One category took five ballots to settle on five rather than six nominees as required by the rules.
Well, Maybe Not EVERY Nod...
The Miami Herald expresses surprise at one omission:
Notably absent from best musical contention is the boisterous production of Hairspray done at Actors’ Playhouse in Coral Gables. The show’s director and leading “lady” David Arisco (he played big mama Edna Turnblad) was also snubbed.
In a field where Promethean's Song of the Living Dead earned five nominations, that's worth noting.

Having seen both productions, let's reflect upon it. 
  • The Playhouse has more resources to put into it, but Promethean had to overcome its limitations.  
  • Hairspray's set was far more polished, but Living Dead had more special effects.
  • Hairspray had amazing big dance numbers, and Living Dead had... zombies. 
  • Living Dead was the greater unknown of the two productions, so Promethean took the greater risk... except that they're based at a college during a renaissance of zombie stories. 
  • Everyone who went to Living Dead expected to have fun - and did.
  • But we've talked to a few people who wouldn't have gone to see Hairspray
    except to see Dave or Avi (or another friend in the production) and
    came away amazed at how much fun they wound up having due to the energy
    pouring off that stage.
On reflection, we can't help but think that the tabulating still needs some tweaking.

Short List
The Examiner reports that while all ten of its list for Best Live Professional Theater received nods, 6 theaters didn't make their list.  Richard Cameron also has a list of "upsets."
The Carbonell upsets are no nomination for HBO's The Sopranos star Ray Abruzzo for Best Actor in Lombardi for Mosaic Theatre and Broward Stage Door known for it's canned music has mutiple nominations for The Light in the Piazza thanks to Director Michael Leeds who may be the only Broadway local credited Director that our Florida theatres continue to hire.  Once again Director Joseph Adler nominated for Red at GableStage is a sure Top Pick as GableStage production choices and production values continue to be the best for plays in south Florida with Mosaic Theatre falling close behind.
How many other Broadway directors are living in South Florida, anyway?

Thing That Make Us go Hmmm...
  • If Jupiter Theatre wins for Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat last year (but this season), what does it do the chances for the Actors' Playhouse production, opening in a few months?  A number of years ago, Theater Club of the Palm Beaches won best production of a play for Eleemosynary; the following season, Miami Shakespeare mounted a production of Eleemosynary that was a cinch to win - but it didn't.  As TD of the production that DID win - Theatre Club's The Stickwife - I can tell you they got gypped.  Should the fact that a play won the year before enter into discussion for the next year's crop of nominees?
  • The Director is the person who brings all the elements of a production together; how is it that year after year, the list of nominated directors doesn't match up with nominated best productions?
All this said, we're very pleased with the spread of the nominations; it's hard to argue that "the same people" get nominated over and over again when there are so many new names on the list this year.


  1. It is called SONG of the Living Dead. Did you see it?

  2. I see you did see it...I don't think the two are even compareable. But that's just happy we got the nominations. Thrilled for the Company, Cast, Crew and Design Teams and the Director. It's great that a show like SOLD that is so unconventional made the cut. I think that says something about the process too.

    Talk at ya later CJ!

  3. Corrected the title; at least I didn't confuse it with Song of Norway.