The 39th annual Carbonell Awards ceremony and show will happen on Monday, March 30, in the Amaturo Theater at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, and most of the nominees will just have to bite their fingernails until that evening.
But the Carbonell organization, which administers South Florida's venerable theater awards program, on Monday announced the recipients of three special honors, including the George Abbott Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Arts, an honor named for the legendary Broadway producer, playwright and director.
This year's Abbott Award goes to Scott Shiller, the outgoing executive vice president of Miami's Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts. Shiller, 39, will become president and CEO of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts in May. He's being honored with the Carbonells' most prestigious award for his programming and fiscal successes at the Arsht; for embracing the work of myriad South Florida companies and artists, and showcasing that work at the Arsht; and for leading the tri-county Carbonell organization to greater stability.
Expressing his gratitude, Shiller observed in a statement, "South Florida is one of the great performing arts regions in the country because of the wisdom, hard work and artistic drive of those who have created a thriving theater scene in the 39 years since the Carbonell Awards were founded. I've been honored to work side-by-side with these dedicated producers, directors, actors and designers who embrace the art of storytelling and community engagement each and every day."
Iris Acker, a veteran actress, director, author and the host of the TV show Spotlight on the Arts, will receive the Howard Kleinberg Award at the Carbonell ceremony. Named for the longtime editor of the Miami News, the Kleinberg Award goes to someone who has contributed to the health and development of the arts in South Florida. Acker, a Carbonell judge and one of the founders of the regional Silver Palm Awards, has performed at theaters throughout South Florida. She was the state's first Actors' Equity liaison, started a casting hotline, served as president of the American Federation of TV and Radio Artists, and has contributed to the theater community in countless other ways.
"I have enjoyed a wonderful life in the theater. When I'm not on stage, I have the privilege of being able to promote everything that is now on stage," Acker said.
The Ruth Foreman Award, named for the pioneering producer-director who helped shape local theater in South Florida, is being given to The Naked Stage for the company's annual 24-Hour Theatre Project.
Antonio and Katherine Amadeo, who founded their company along with City Theatre producing artistic director and Barry University associate theater professor John Manzelli, first held their artistic fundraiser in 2007. Each year, South Florida playwrights draw titles, the name of a director and the names of several actors from a hat. After a long night of writing, rehearsals begin the next morning, and the brand-new short plays get their one and only performance that evening. The event has become a much-anticipated annual celebration of community and talent for both artists and audiences from Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties.
"That first year ended up being pure chaotic magic, and we realized we had something wonderfully special on our hands," said Katherine Amadeo. "It is humbling, and we continue to be awed by the outpouring of generosity and love this community has shown to us, time and again."
Tickets for the Carbonell ceremony, which is open to the public, are $31.86. The show goes on at 7:30 p.m. at the Broward Center, 201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale. For information, call 954-462-0222 or visit the Broward Center web site.
(Photos, from top, show Scott Shiller, Iris Acker, Antonio and Katherine Amadeo.)