Zoetic Stage, the regional theater company in residence at the Arsht Center in Miami, made history on Monday night, snagging 12 Carbonell Awards for achievement in South Florida theater.
The company’s production of the Stephen Sondheim musical “Sweeney Todd” nearly swept the musicals categories: Stuart Meltzer, best director; Jeni Hacker, best actress; Aloysius Gigl, best actor; Terry Hardcastle, best supporting actor; and Paul Tine, best musical director.
Zoetic also captured technical awards for both play and musical categories: Rebecca Montero, best lighting, and Marina Pareja, best costumes.
Meltzer picked up a second trophy for directing Zoetic’s“The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,” also the best play; Matt Corey, best sound design for “Every Brilliant Thing;” and best ensemble cast for “TheWolves.”
Like Meltzer, Hacker was a double winner winning best actress for a play for portraying the Mormon mother of a gay son who explores her son’s sexuality by creating a Grindr account.
“Grindr Mom,” from prolific local gay playwright Ronnie Larsen, was also named best new work, edging out his own “An Intimate Evening with John Wayne Gacy.” Larsen has already successfully reopened the Foundry at Wilton Theater Factory in Wilton Manors, touting enhanced safety and social distancing measures.
Broward County was also represented by the relatively new New City Players, a company that will be in residence at Fort Lauderdale’s ArtServe when their live performances resume. Timothy Mark Davis took best actor in a play as a young man coping with autism in “Falling,” and Rita Cole was the best supporting actress for “A Raisin in the Sun.”
Palm Beach Dramaworks in West Palm Beach came into the evening with a whopping 29 nominations, but only won three: Amy Miller Brennan, best supporting actress in a musical, “The Spitfire Grill;” Anne Mundell, best scenic design, “A Streetcar Named Desire;” and David Kwiat, best supporting actor in a play, “Ordinary People.” The company was also the winner of the Bill Von Maurer Award, presented by the Carbonell board of directors.
The Wick Theatre in Boca Raton, known for big productions of musicals, landed the best choreography Carbonell for Justin M. Lewis, “Hot Shoe Shuffle.”
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the awards ceremony, referred to in the community as “theater prom,” was streamed live on YouTube. Producers Fantel Music pivoted earlier this year, opening with a stunning prerecorded video featuring dozens of local performers and creatives expressing what theater means to them as most venues remain shuttered.
The “In Memoriam” segment saluted Broadway composer Jerry Herman and GableStage producing artistic director Joe Adler among the local luminaries who passed away this year, and three talented local high school graduates awarded scholarships presented impressive acceptance speeches.
For a complete list of nominees and winners and to watch the ceremony, go to CarbonellAwards.org.