Musicals lighted the way last week as the 29th annual Carbonell Award nominations for the best in south Florida theatre were announced.
This was the year that two relatively new Palm Beach County companies burst onto the scene in a big way. The two-year-old, non-Equity Atlantis Playhouse received nine nominations for its production of "The Life." Meanwhile, the three-year-old Palm Beach Dramaworks managed a total of 12 nominations for three of its productions: "Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris" landed six, including best musical; "The Dresser" earned five, including best play; and "No Exit" took one.
"Fiddler on the Roof" (Actors' Playhouse) and "Heartbeats" (Caldwell Theatre Company) tied "The Life" with nine nominations each. Showing their eclectic taste, the south Florida critics also rewarded more edgy work, such as "The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?" (GableStage) and "Take Me Out" (Caldwell), which managed to garner seven nods each.
The nominations were announced on Sept. 20. A total of 32 productions from 16 different venues were named.
Once again, the venue with the most nominations was Coral Gables' Actors' Playhouse with 18, 16 of which went to its musicals: Along with "Fiddler" 's nine, "Annie" garnered seven. Running a close second was Boca Raton's Caldwell Theatre Company with 16 nominations, for "Heartbeats" and "Take Me Out."
Palm Beach County's Florida Stage managed 11 nominations while continuing its policy of presenting new works. Four of its productions received recognition, including area playwright Michael McKeever's "Running With Scissors," which captured four, and "Permanent Collection," which earned three.
In Miami-Dade County, the always challenging GableStage received 10 nods, including seven for "The Goat," two for " 'Master Harold'…and the Boys," and one for "QED."
Several smaller venues also received Carbonell nominations, including Miami's most edgy venue, Mad Cat Theatre Company, which earned one for "Betty's Summer Vacation" and one for "Fell in Love With a Girl." Still in Miami-Dade, M Ensemble (Miami's only African-American theatre company) earned one nomination for "Strands," and the promising Juggerknot Theatre Company received a nom for "Tracers."
Amazingly, the area's biggest company, the Coconut Grove Playhouse, was totally shut out of the nominations after managing only one last year.
This year's winners will be announced at the Nov. 8 awards ceremony at Fort Lauderdale's Broward Center for the Performing Arts, with Florence Henderson hosting the festivities.