March 16, 2015

Carbonell Awards announce three special honors

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.

UnnamedBut 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."

Image003Iris 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.

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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.)

February 24, 2015

Outré Theatre Company announces its Broward Center season

Fort Lauderdale's Broward Center for the Performing Arts will be home to two of South Florida's professional theater companies next season, the Outré Theatre Company and Slow Burn Theatre. Slow Burn has already revealed its 2015-2016 season, which will be presented in the center's Amaturo Theater, and now it's Outré's turn.

Headshot4-300x200Artistic Director Skye Whitcomb and managing director Sabrina Lynn Gore have built a lineup around the theme "The Power of Woman," and the company's productions will be done in the Abdo New River Room, where earlier this season Outré staged Othello.

The troupe's new season begins with The Threepenny Opera by Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill, the duo's brilliant musical about an array of shady characters in London's underworld, running Aug. 28-Sept. 13.  A production of the Greek tragedy Medea will run March 11-27, 2016.  The full season closes out June 10-26, 2016, with Rooms:  a rock romance, a punk rock musical by Paul Scott Goodman and Miriam Gordon about a young couple struggling with the pressures of fame.  (A concert version of Rooms is being presented at 7 p.m. this Friday-Saturday at Stache Drinking Den, 109 SW Second Ave., Fort Lauderdale.)

Sabrina-Lynn-Gore-070309-256-PortraitTwo additional pieces will get shorter runs next season.  Outré will mount a return of its Carbonell Award-nominated production of Stephen Dolginoff's Thrill Me, a two-character musical about Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb starring Conor Walton and Mike Westrich, Dec. 11-13.  And April 8-10, 2016, the company will do a concert version of the Polly Pen-Peggy Harmon musical Goblin Market.

Still coming up for Outré this season are a reading of Joel Gross' play Marie Antoinette: The Color of Flesh (featuring Katherine Amadeo, Seth Trucks and Gore) at 8 p.m. March 6-7 in the Broward Center's JM Family Studio, and the rock musical Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson May 1-17 in the Abdo New River Room.

The Broward Center is located at 201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale.  For information, call the box office at 954-462-0222, visit the center's web site or visit Outré's site.

(Photos of Skye Whitcomb and Sabrina Lynn Gore)

January 20, 2015

Slow Burn ready to sizzle in 2015-2016 at the Broward Center

Bonnie & Clyde press sunset (1)Patrick Fitzwater and Matthew Korinko, the founders and co-artistic directors of Boca Raton's Slow Burn Theatre, would tell you they've grown their company cautiously since launching it in 2010 with a production of Bat Boy: The Musical. But fans of the company -- and there are many -- think the longtime partners have gone from zero to 60 in what seems like the blink of an eye.  And with their just-announced next season in the Amaturo Theater at Fort Lauderdale's Broward Center for the Performing Arts, they're going into overdrive.

Since Bat Boy, Fitzwater (who directs and choreographs the shows) and Korinko (who stars in many and runs the business side of the company) have built a strong reputation for pulling off fine productions of big, challenging musicals.  Fitzwater is particularly deft at unearthing the strengths in musicals that had short Broadway runs, effectively giving them new life in South Florida. At last spring's Carbonell Awards, Fitzwater was named best director of a musical for his staging of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Next to Normal.

As the company has grown, Fitzwater and Korinko have taken their shows on the road.  This season, Bonnie & Clyde will play the Aventura Arts & Cultural Center Feb. 12-15 after its run at the West Boca Performing Arts Theater Thursday-Feb. 8, and Slow Burn's Rent will go to Aventura April 30-May3 after it runs in Boca April 9-26.

Already, the company has started establishing itself in the Broward Center's Abdo New River Room, first with The Marvelous Wonderettes in October-November, and next with The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee Feb. 26-April 19.

Next season, Slow Burn will be all about Fort Lauderdale.  The company and the Broward Center will be producing partners, presenting musicals in the Amaturo. 

Andrew Lippa's Broadway musical Big Fish launches the season Oct. 22-Nov. 8.  Based on the novel by Daniel Wallace and movie by Tim Burton, the show centers on a traveling salesman with a penchant for tall tales and his son, an expectant father.

Violet, the Jeanine Tesori musical earlier produced by Actors' Playhouse, will run Jan. 21-Feb. 7, 2016. It tells the story of a disfigured young woman who seeks out an evangelist in hopes of a miracle, only to experiences life-changing encounters along the way.

The Tony Award-winning musical Spring Awakening will run March 17-April 3, 2016. Merging Frank Wedekind's 1891 play with a rock score by Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater, the show about repressed German teens discovering their sexuality is hot, tragic and captivating.

The 2016 summer show will be the South Florida premiere of the Off-Broadway hit Heathers: The Musical. Running June 9-26, 2016.  Based on the 1989 movie, the darkly comic musical by Kevin Murphy, Laurence O'Keefe and Andy Fickman is about a teen misfit who hangs with the popular girls in high school and falls in love with a sexy, dangerous new kid.

Each show will have performances Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. in the Amaturo, which will be renovated before the start of next season. Theatergoers can buy a four-show subscription for $150 or a three-show flexible subscription for $115. Current Slow Burn subscribers and Broward Center Entourage members can buy subscriptions starting Friday.  New subscriptions will be available on Jan. 31, and tickets to individual shows, priced at $45, go on sale Feb. 13.

The Broward Center is at 201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale.  Call the box office at 954-462-0222 or visit the center's web site or Slow Burn's site for information.


(Photo of Bruno Faria as Clyde and Jessica Brooke Sanford as Bonnie by Patrick Fitzwater)

February 04, 2014

Covenant House benefit honoring Paige O'Hara

Ft. Laud. Native Paige O'Hara with BelleShe didn't appear as the bookish, beautiful Belle in Disney's Oscar-winning 1991 smash Beauty and the Beast -- but that's only because the movie was animated.  Take a look at Paige O'Hara's photo, though, and you see that the animators may have drawn some of their inspiration from the woman who gave voice (spoken and musical) to Belle.

On Saturday at 6:30 p.m., the Fort Lauderdale native will be back home as one of two honorees at the Night of Broadway Stars, a benefit for Covenant House, which provides shelter and services to homeless young people.  Produced by Neil Berg, the show will feature performances of Broadway classics by professional singer-actors and some of the Covenant House residents.  O'Hara will perform alongside Broadway-tested talents Alan H. Green, John Treacy Egan, Rita Harvey, Capathia Jenkins, Ted Louis Levy and Natalie Toro.

Honored along with the late Kevin Koenig, co-founder of City Furniture, O'Hara has been dedicated to showbiz since she began acting with the Fort Lauderdale Children's Theater.  She got training at Parkway Middle School and in the arts program at Nova High, then went to New York.  Among her theater roles:  Ellie May in Showboat, Fantine in Les Miserables, Nellie Forbush in South Pacific.

The gala evening takes place at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale.  Tickets are $225, and the event includes the performance, dinner and a post-show reception.  Roxanne Vargas of NBC6 will emcee.  For information, contact Elisa Stone of Covenant House at 954-568-7914 or via email at [email protected].

March 15, 2013

Kids and the Colony...and the Carbonells

IMG_1820 (2)Miami Childrens Theater has found a swanky professional venue for its theater summer camp:  the Colony Theater on Miami Beach's Lincoln Road.  The ambitious, very active MCT will hold its camp there from July 15 to Aug. 10, operating from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day, but potential campers and their parents can get a preview this Sunday during an open house from 3 to 7 p.m.

Tuition for the camp is $1,500, but some full and partial scholarships are available by audition.  South Florida actress and director Christine Vega is leading the camp program for MCT, and she'll direct the production that will be the culmination of all that the students learn:  Disney's Beauty and the Beast, running Aug. 9-10.

ChristineYou don't need to wait until the summer, though, to see what MCT's young performers can do.  The company is winding up its run of Gypsy at 7 p.m. tonight and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday at the Alper JCC, 11155 SW 112th St., Miami, with tickets priced at $15.  MCT is also doing Jason Robert Brown's Songs for a New World at the Alper April 4-7, and Disney's The Little Mermaid at Pinecrest Gardens April 26-28. 

For information on the company or its camp at the Colony, call 305-274-3595 or visit the MCT web site.


The 37th annual Carbonell Awards, a.k.a. South Florida's "theater prom," are set for Monday, April 1 at 7:30 p.m. in the Amaturo Theater at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts.

Nominees, a wide range of theater artists, company heads and the public are all invited, and tickets are now on sale.  Those tickets are $25 ($35 the day of the ceremony), with discounts for groups of 10 or more.

CarbonellPlaywright Michael McKeever and director Stuart Meltzer are putting together the show, which will feature performances from nominated musicals -- and much more.

The Broward Center is at 201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale. To order tickets, call 954-462-0222 or visit the Broward Center web site.

(Photos show an MCT performer, Christine Vega and the Carbonell Award, designed by sculptor Manuel Carbonell)


April 01, 2011

Bailey wins Abbott Award

Patrice Though the results of voting for the 35th annual Carbonell Awards are secret until Monday''s ceremony at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, special awards are traditionally announced in advance.  This year, the George Abbott Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Arts -- the highest honor given at the Carbonells -- goes to Patrice Bailey, dean of theater at Miami's New World School of the Arts.

The drama division's top administrator since 2002 is an accomplished director and teacher, and under her leadership, New World has had an ever greater impact on South Florida's theater community.  New World grads are acting at theaters all over the region (and around the country), directing, writing plays and making a life in the theater for themselves, a life built upon the fundamentals they acquired at New World. 

Also getting a special honor at this year's ceremony is the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, which will receive the Ruth Foreman Award in recognition of its contributions to theater, artist and audience development throughout its 20-year history.

The Carbonell ceremony, which honors the best work in South Florida theater during 2010, begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Broward Center's Amaturo Theater, 201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale.  Tickets are $25.  Call the box office  site at 954-462-0222 or visit the center's web site for details.

March 18, 2011

'Theater prom' tickets on sale

CARBONELL (35th) POSTER South Florida's theater community has taken to calling the annual Carbonell Awards "theater prom."  Oh, they recognize that the region's top theater honors, which inevitably seem to be both exciting and controversial, are plenty meaningful to both nominees and winners.  But when the 35th annual Carbonells get rolling at 7:30 p.m. April 4 in the Broward Center's Amaturo Theatre, the crowd of actors, directors, designers, critics and theater fans will be dressed to kill and ready to party.

This year's ticket price is $25 for individuals, $20 each for groups of 10 or more.  They're available by calling the Broward Center's box office at 954-462-0222 or visiting the web site.  The Broward Center is at 201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale.

After the ceremony, which is being hosted by actor-playwright (and double Carbonell nominee) Michael McKeever and directed by Zoetic Stage artistic director Stuart Meltzer, there's more theater prom fun courtesy of the South Florida Theatre League.  The League is hosting the Carbonell after-party from 10 p.m. to midnight at the Green Room, 109 SW Second Ave., just a few blocks from the Broward Center.  Admission is free with a Carbonell ticket stub, and with that comes a free welcome drink, a ticket for a second drink, a buffet and a cash bar.  And who knows what kind of post-prom drama?

December 03, 2010

Holiday (theater) grab bag

I'll be away for the next three weeks, returning before the New Year for Beauty and the Beast, a story on the delightfully frank Sharon Gless in A Round-Heeled Woman at GableStage, and more.  But before I go, here's a quick look at some of the holiday (and other) shows happening right about now.

* Tonight through Sunday, the Irish Theatre of Florida is presenting the tragicomedy Red Roses & Petrol, a play by Sinead O'Connor's brother Joseph.  It happens at 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday at the Bienes Center for the Arts , 2801 SW 12th St., Fort Lauderdale.  Tickets are $21, with student discounts. Call 954-513-2272.

Leslie Jordan * Leslie Jordan performs Deck Them Halls, Y'all, a show combining his southern charm and adult humor, in the Broward Center's Amaturo Theater at 7 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $40 and $50, available by calling 954-462-0222 or via the center's web site.

* Pinecrest Gardens has a festival built around the works of Charles Dickens on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.  Admission is $5 (free for kids 5 and under).  Dickens' A Christmas Carol gets performed on a stage in the Banyan Bowl at the Gardens, 11000 Red Rd. in Pinecrest.  Choirs, artisans, puppeteers, mimes and bell ringers are part of the holiday celebration. Call 305-669-6990 or visit the Gardens web site for info.

* Three shows are happening this weekend at Miami's New World School of the Arts.  The John Kander-Fred Ebb musical Curtains happens tonight-Dec. 12 in the Louise O. Gerrits Theater on the 8th floor of the New World building at 25 NE Second St.; admission is $12 ($5 for students).  David Henry Hwang's adaptation of Henrik Ibsen's Peer Gynt goes on Saturday-Sunday (and admission is free) in the school's Studio Theatre (Room 5903) on the 9th floor.  And George Bernard Shaw's Major Barbara (another free production) happens Saturday-Sunday in Room 5902 on the 9th floor.  For the performance schedule and other details, call 305-237-3541 or visit the New World site.

Happy holidays to all!

October 27, 2010

'Spacey' gets a name change

KillingKevinSpacey The Broward Center is presenting the United States premiere of an award-winning Canadian fringe festival comedy this weekend.  But if you were planning on seeing Killing Kevin Spacey by Elan Wolf Fabiarz and Cory Terry, you should know that now you'll be seeing Channeling Kevin Spacey.  Seems the Oscar winner wasn't thrilled with the original title, and who can blame him?  Haven't these guys seen The Fan?

In any case, the play isn't about what its original title implied (really, don't pay any attention to the photo).  The comedy is about a movie fanatic who thinks his dull life is a little too much like the characters Spacey plays in movies, so he decides to inject a little Al Pacino into his day-to-day, with crazy results.

Scott Douglas Wilson, Monica Mercedes Garcia and Arick Fudall appear in the show, which has performances at 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday in the Amaturo Theater at the center, 201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Tickets are $35.  For info, call the box office at 954-462-0222 or visit the Broward Center web site.


April 29, 2010

Last chance 'Dance' (?)

Riverdance-credit JackHartinRiverdance, that Irish dance-song-storytelling phenom, first hit the stage in Dublin in 1995, and its mega-successful hoofing has been going on ever since.

The show came to our shores in 1996, and it has been through South Florida plenty of times.  But this weekend the show's Farewell Tour brings it to the Broward Center for the Performing Arts for the absolutely positively last time,  (Or so the promoters say: Some performers build the twilight of their careers around repeated "farewell" tours.)

Whatever its future, the stats on Riverdance to date are impressive.  The show has played more than 10,000 performances to over 22 million people in 40 countries. More than 2 billion have caught the show on TV, and over 10 million copies of its video have been sold.  More numbers?  Riverdance has employed 1,500 Irish dancers, and 35 marriages have come from the costarring gigs.

If you're a Riverdance geek or have somehow managed to thus far avoid its charms, you have five chances to see it this weekend.  Performances are 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 7 p.m. Sunday and 2 p.m. Saturday-Sunday at the Broward Center, 201 SW Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale.  Tickets are $55 to $75.  For info, call 954-462-0222 or visit the Broward Center site.