Catching up with some varied news from South Florida's always-busy theater scene.
Producer Jay H. Harris has been named the 2012 recipient of the George Abbott Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Arts, an honor to be presented at the Carbonell Awards ceremony on Monday, April 2. The Carbonells are, of course, South Florida's top theater award. And the Abbott award, named for legendary producer-director-playwright George Abbott, is the Carbonells' most prestigious honor. Harris has a huge theater resume, having supported productions at numerous South Florida theaters (including New Theatre's world premiere of Nilo Cruz's Anna in the Tropics, which won the Pulitzer Prize and which Harris then produced in London). He has also produced shows in numerous other American cities and in New York, where his production of Say Goodnight Gracie was nominated for a Tony Award. Harris also played a major role in the evolution of the Carbonell Awards program, serving on its board from 2001 to 2008 and helping devise the current voting structure.
Harris will be honored, as will a host of Carbonell nominees and winners, during a show and ceremony beginning at 7:30 p.m. April 2 in the Amaturo Theater at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Tickets are $25 in advance, $35 at the door, and the public is invited. Numbers from each of this year's nominated musicals are part of the show, and admission to an after-party at the Green Room, 109 SW Second Ave., is free with a Carbonell ticket. For information, call the Broward Center box office at 954-462-0222, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the Broward Center's web site.
Sister Helen Prejean, the author of Dead Man Walking, is coming to speak about capital punishment at the Florida International University campus April 13, in a free presentation running from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the campus' Graham Center student union. In honor of her appearance the FIU Theater Department and Honors College are joining forces to present readings and a performance of three justice-themed plays. On Thursday, students from the Honors College will do a reading of Erik Jensen and Jessica Blank's The Exonerated. David Mamet's Oleanna gets a reading by theater students on March 29. Then Phillip M. Church directs theater students in a reading of Tim Robbins' adaptation of Dead Man Walking April 5.
All performances take place at 7 p.m. in the FIU Black Box Theater at the Wertheim Performing Arts Center, 11200 SW Eighth St., Miami. Admission is free, and talk-backs follow each event. For information, call 305-348-3394.
Though you won't have long to go (sorry), if you've managed to miss Urinetown during its earlier South Florida stagings at Actors' Playhouse, Slow Burn Theatre and so on, you have another chance to see it this Thursday-Sunday. John Manzelli directs students from Barry University's Department of Fine Arts in the Tony Award-winning musical about the strict regulation of bathroom privileges during a drought. Ranging stylistically from the stinging social satire in the manner of Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht to spoofs of other Broadway musicals, Urinetown is provocative, funny and not for the kiddies.
Performances are at the Broad Center for the Performing Arts, 11300 NE Second Ave., Miami Shores. And get this: Admission is free. Performances are at 7 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, with no reservations required. Need info? Call 305-899-3291.