Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Carbonells Post

The 36th Annual Carbonell Awards were held at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts on April 2, 2012.  You can find the list of winners here.

The two major theatre critics filed their stories immediately after the ceremony, and other stories continue to be published. We'll update this page as more stories appear.  And as always, we welcome comments. 

The Headlines

The Miami Herald notes that the Maltz Jupiter Theatre "dominated" by winning seven of the twenty awards, five of them for Crazy for You.
Voters went crazy for the Maltz Jupiter Theatre and its production of the dance-happy musical Crazy for You, giving the show five awards and the theater a total of seven when the 36th annual Carbonell Awards were handed out Monday at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts.
Florida Theater On Stage proclaimed that Palm Beach Theaters "dominated" by winning thirteen of the twenty awards.  He also noted how fierce the competition was.
One indication of the overall excellence throughout 2011 was that early last year, the Actors Playhouse production of August: Osage County was so impressive that many observers expected the family dysfunction drama would take every award it was nominated for. In fact, the Coral Gables production was shut out Monday.
Palm Beach ArtsPaper declared that Palm Beach theaters "triumphed" at the Awards.
Most of the best in South Florida’s professional theater last year happened in Palm Beach County.

That is the impression left by the 36th annual Carbonell Awards for theater excellence in the region, presented Monday evening at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts in Fort Lauderdale.
The Shiny Sheet, which can barely haul itself off the island of Palm Beach, notes that Dramaworks "captured" three Carbonells, as if William Hayes and J. Barry Lewis had laid out a trap or something.  We guess you don't get much of the flavor of the event when you don't bother to attend.

Arts America  didn't use any adjectives in its headline, which we find refreshing.

Miami Artzine's subhead was "Hugs, Kisses, and a Smack Upside the Head."
A pleasure it was, too, watching the various awards presenters.   Glorying in their moments on stage, some were cool, just right thank you, some were hesitant when faced with words without the hyphens between the syllables, some were an endless stream of facts, figures and emotionless statements, birthing tiny Excel pages of boredom that scuttled across the stage on tiny Excel legs.  Others were beyond the pale as they descended into an embarrassment for all.  The joys and sorrows of  live theatre.
The most staid headline so far is from TheatreMania, which doesn't have a horse in the race.

On The Losses

We're not talking about the ones who didn't take home a golden egg - BTW, the wonderful bronze statuettes created by Manuel Carbonell have returned to the ceremony - but of the people and organizations that have fallen by the wayside in the last year.

Foremost, of course, is Manuel Carbonell himself, who passed away last November.
The event at the Amaturo Theater also featured a tribute to the awards’ namesake, Manuel Carbonell, who died in November and who donated the egg-like sculptures. Economics forced the trustees to replace the statues with conventional awards for the past three years. But the Carbonell family, the board of trustees and Carbonell treasurer Donald Walters agreed this year to fund the casting of the valuable sculptures.
-- Florida Theater On Stage
And there was the November death of Manuel Carbonell, the Cuban-born artist who created the bronze egg-shaped sculpture presented to winners. This year’s show and ceremony, produced and directed by executive director Amy London and playwright McKeever, paid tribute to the man who contributed his art and last name to honor South Florida’s theater artists.
-- The Miami Herald
Several stories juxtaposed the celebration against companies that have either closed or suspended operations:
The region’s annual “theater prom” came after a prolonged period of change: the loss of Palm Beach County’s much-admired Florida Stage and Broward’s Promethean Theatre, homelessness for Broward’s Women’s Theatre Project, debt woes for Boca Raton’s Caldwell...
-- The Miami Herald
Joy and uncertainty imbued the 36th annual Carbonell Awards on Monday night, reflecting a period marked by the greatest concentration of theatrical excellence in recent memory, yet also the closure of two companies and tenuous survival of others.

The juxtaposition was no more evident than the Caldwell Theatre production, Stuff, earning three awards – four days after the company revealed it had hired a receiver and was postponing its last play of the season because of cash flow problems.
-- Florida Theater On Stage
The financially beleaguered Caldwell Theatre Company of Boca Raton received encouraging news, copping three Carbonells for last summer’s world premiere of Stuff, about the dysfunctional, hoarding Collyer brothers. It was named the year’s best new work, as well as for best supporting actress (Angie Radosh) and best scenic design (Tim Bennett).
-- Palm Beach ArtsPaper

One word kept coming up again and again and again; and it wasn't "winner" or "loser."  The word everyone kept using was "community."

"I'm so lucky to live in such a community of actors."  "We have a wonderful theater community."  "I'm so proud to be a part of this theater community."

Members of our community made sure to mention their debt to the Caldwell Theater and Clive Cholerton as they won awards for work done at other theaters; so many of us have worked there at least once over the years.  Most accepting their awards thanked the other nominees in that category - acknowledging that this year, everyone had a legitimate claim to the recognition.

There were a couple of digs at some theaters using a number of out-of-town actors; but those theaters are a part of our community; they are bringing in recognition, and encouraging people to engage.  We have a lot of talent, but we don't have an infinite amount of talented performers.  There are a lot of theaters, and they are all programming for the same range of dates and times.  We're not always available, are we?

And let's be honest; most of us weren't born into the South Florida community of actors.  Even many of us who are native Floridians have usually spent some time elsewhere learning our craft. 

The Surprises

The surprises this year were subtle; like the return of the golden circles for which the awards are named.  No one knew they were coming back.  While the plastic statuettes served the purpose, the heft of the bronze literally emphasizes the weight of the honor.

Another mild shock was musical director Eric Alsford presenting the award for Best Musical Director; some of us hadn't realized until then that he wasn't among the nominees.  Except for David Nagy, the other names on the list are newcomers to the theatre scene.  Perhaps that will put paid to the perpetual complaint that "the same people always win."  Not this year.

Yet another surprise; George Abbott Award winner Jay Harris noted that of the theaters he patronized the year he moved to Florida - 1975 - only two were still in operation; Caldwell Theatre Company and The M Ensemble.  Both are struggling; the Caldwell is in receivership, and The M Ensemble gave up its home last year, and now shares space at The Lightbox at Goldman Warehouse.  (Which is second only to Nova Southeastern University Don Taft University Center Black Box Theatre  for the worst name for a venue in south Florida GAH!)

And the surprise that was really no surprise; The Bill von Maurer Award going to the Maltz Jupiter Theatre. Who knew it was even in play this year?  But the press they've received, the community support, the number of nominations, and the awards taken underscore how appropriate this award truly is.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Anonymous; I did see that article, and chose not to include it. I've deleted your comment because I'm not giving the article the time of day. Suppose the parties in question threw up? Would we be criticizing that in harsh terms, too?

    It was five minutes of the evening, and there are more appropriate ways of dealing with it than a public drubbing.

  3. We just wanted to take a moment to extend our sincerest apologies for our over-the-top behavior when presenting at the ceremony Monday night. It was not our intention to disrespect the awards, insult anyone or diminish the integrity of the evening. We were having a great time that night and went over board. We lost focus on what our responsibilities are when behind the mic. We extend our most sincere regret and apology to anyone who we offended and the Carbonell board, who work so hard to bring a great night together every year with The Carbonell Awards. Please forgive our actions

    Todd Allen Durkin
    Betsy Graver