Island City Stage, the LGBT-focused company in residence at Fort Lauderdale’s Empire Stage, was the big winner Monday, March 31 at the Carbonell Awards for regional excellence in professional theater.
In just its second season, Island City took home six trophies, the most for any single production or professional regional company, all for the production of Dan Clancy’s moving holocaust drama, “The Timekeepers,” about two prisoners, one straight and one gay, who form an unlikely bond while repairing watches in a concentration camp.
The production won Best Production of a Play; Best Director of a Play, Michael Leeds; Best Actor in a Play, Michael McKeever; and all three technical categories: Best Scenic Design, Michael McClain; Best Lighting, Preston Bircher; and Best Sound Design, David Hart.
In his acceptance speech, artistic director Andy Rogow emotionally noted the importance of Island City’s commitment to its LGBT audiences and thanked his board of directors — both straight and gay — for their unwavering support for the company and the community.
“The Timekeepers” went into the evening with the most nominations for any play, but the remaining awards were divided among several productions from companies based in Miami-Dade and Palm Beach Counties.
Zoetic Stage, another relatively young company in residence at Miami’s Arsht Center, took home four trophies, including two Carbonells for “Fear Up Harsh,” Best New Work, Christopher Demos-Brown, and Best Actress in a Play, Karen Stephens.” The Zoetic production of actor and comedian Zach Braff’s “All New People” landed Best Supporting Actor in a Play for Todd Allen Durkin, and Best Ensemble.
In the musicals category, Actor’s Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre in Coral Gables won the top award, Best Production of a Musical, for “In the Heights,” along with Best Actor in a Musical, Nick Duckart; and Best Musical Direction, Emmanuel Schvartzman. Another Actor’s Playhouse show, “Ruthless, the Musical” earned Amy Miller Brennan Best Actress in a Musical and Gabriel Zenone Best Support Actor in a Musical.
In its first year of eligibility, Slow Burn Theatre Company was nominated in 10 categories, the most of any company, all for “Next to Normal.” The company’s sole Carbonell went to Patrick Fitzwater for Best Director of a Musical.
Maltz Jupiter Theatre, which swept the musical categories last year, came home with just one award, Best Choreography to Denis Jones for “Thoroughly Modern Millie.” Another regional powerhouse, Joseph Adler’s GableStage also came up short, save for the Ruth Foreman Award honoring the company’s monumental collaboration this winter with the Royal Shakespeare Company, New York’s Public Theater and playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney on a reinterpretation of Shakespeare’s “Anthony and Cleopatra” that gained international recognition for South Florida’s theater community.
Rounding out the awards were Brian O’Keefe, Best Costume Design for “The Lion in Winter” and Angie Radosh, Best Supporting Actress in a Play for “Exit the King,” both at Palm Beach Dramaworks; and Lourelene Snedeker, Best Supporting Actress in a Music for “The Sound of Music” at The Wick in Boca Raton.
During the gala ceremony at the Broward Center’s Amaturo Theatre, three South Florida high school students were awarded $1,000 college scholarships and the organization presented two additional special awards, the Bill Hindman award awarded posthumously to Don McArt and the George Abbott Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Arts to Seraphic Fire founder and artistic director Patrick Dupre Quigley.