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Special theater awards

Each year South Florida's theater community -- well, a great deal of it, from Miami-Dade to Palm Beach County -- gathers at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts to recognize some of the best work done at the region's many theaters during the previous year.  The annual Carbonell Awards, which will take place on Monday, April 7, at 7:30 p.m. in the Broward Center's Amaturo Theater, also give out several special honors, including the George Abbott Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Arts. It goes this year to Jack Zink, longtime Sun-Sentinel theater critic, for his many contributions to theater, to the evolution of the Carbonells themselves and to the work he did as president of the American Theatre Critics Association foundation. The hard-working, multi-tasking Zink becomes the first person to win the Abbott Award twice.

The recipients of three other special awards were announced today. 

Deacha_2 The Bill Hindman Award -- an honor very close to my heart, as it is named for my late father -- goes to New Theatre founder Rafael de Acha.  The award recognizes significant long-term contributions to the region's cultural life.  As artistic director of a theater where a multicultural company performed classics and new work, De Acha was responsible for helping get the commission that led to Nilo Cruz's Anna in the Tropics, a play that made Cruz the first Latino winner of the Pulitzer Prize for drama after its world premiere at New Theatre.  De Acha also directed my dad in many productions, giving him a real working "home" toward the end of his life and becoming his dear friend.

Michael_hall_12707sigvision_2 Also being honored at this year's Carbonells is Michael Hall, founder and artistic director of Boca Raton's 33-year-old Caldwell Theatre Company.  Hall is being given the Ruth Foreman Award, named in honor of the late producer-director who was long known as Florida's "First Lady of Theater."  The Foreman recognizes contributions to South Florida theater development, and Hall is getting it for his achievement in guiding his company's new $10 million Count de Hoernle Theatre from dream to reality.

Phone22_lasher_trop_clw The third honor, the Howard Kleinberg Award, goes to the Theatre League of South Florida.  Named for former Miami News editor Howard Kleinberg, it recognizes contributions to the health and development of the arts in South Florida.  Meredith Lasher, the League's current president, will accept the award at the Carbonell ceremony.

Congratulations to all!