Soul singer James Brown was long known as "the hardest-working man in show business," and anyone who watched him work a stage -- singing, dancing, howling, working up a monumental sweat -- would have said amen to that description. But the truth is that, in the arts, there are lots of passionate folks who give their all and then some to the organization they serve. David Arisco, artistic director at Actors' Playhouse for the past 21 years, is one of those tireless arts leaders , a man whose long days and nights have helped turn a company that began in a converted Kendall movie theater into the region's showplace for musical theater.
For all that he has achieved in a diverse career spanning more than 30 years, Arisco will be honored with the George Abbott Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Arts at the 33rd annual Carbonell Awards. And that list of accomplishments is a long one. At Actors' Playhouse, first in Kendall and now in the restored Miracle Theatre in Coral Gables, Arisco has directed more than 100 productions. Seven of those -- Aida, Floyd Collins, Violet, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, West Side Story, The Mystery of Edwin Drood and I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change-- won Carbonell Awards as best musical and for Arisco's work in staging them.
Beyond the quality of his work, Arisco's collaborative partnership with Actors' founder and executive director Barbara Stein (one of the hardest-working womenin showbiz) has allowed him to give work to uncounted South Florida actors, designers and musicians. With Stein, Arisco has built a significant and enduring company.
This year's Carbonell ceremony, which will begin at 7:30 p.m. April 6 in the Amaturo Theater at Fort Lauderdale's Broward Center for the Performing Arts, will also honor the late Sun-Sentinel theater critic Jack Zink, who co-founded the awards program and served as the Carbonells' executive director. Amy London is directing the show, which will feature numbers from the five shows nominated for best musical and showcase some of the region's best talent, including a dozen nominees.
Current economic realities have affected this year's Carbonells in a couple of ways. Because of the cost of bronze used in award designer Manuel Carbonell's signature sculptures, a different award with a nod to Carbonell's egg-shaped originals will be given to winners. But just like interest rates, Carbonell ticket prices have fallen this year: $25 for individual tickets, $20 each for groups of 10 or more. A ticket also buys admission to a post-show party sponsored by the Theatre League of South Florida and southfloridatheatre.com at Revolution Live, 200 W. Broward Blvd. Call the Broward Center box office at 954-462-0222 or visit the web site to reserve tickets.