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    Posted April 16, 2009

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Carbonell Awards Honors the Best in South Florida

by Marjorie O'Neill-Butler & Irene Adjan

The 33rd annual Carbonell Awards that honors the best in theatre in South Florida was held at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts in Ft. Lauderdale on April 6th. In addition to bestowing awards, the event raises scholarships for South Florida arts students. The event included a special tribute honoring Carbonell Awards Co-Founder and Executive Director Jack Zink, who covered the arts for all of the region's major newspapers for nearly 40 years before his death last summer.

Stacy Schwartz (Best Supporting Actress in a Musical) and Maribeth Graham (Best Actress in a Musical)

The show was beautifully directed and produced by AEA member Amy London. It opened with a parody of "Not Getting Married Today" written by Maribeth Graham, who performed it along with Laura Hodos. The evening also featured musical numbers from the nominated musicals - ADDING MACHINE, DREAM A LITTLE DREAM, 1776, LA CAGE AUX FOLLES, and THE FULL MONTY. Performers included AEA members Irene Adjan, Jim Ballard, Oscar Cheda, Elizabeth Dimon, Maribeth Graham, David Jachin Kelley, Gavin Lodge, Lisa Manuli, Gary Marachek, Stacy Schwartz and Barry Tarallo.

Best Production of a Play, THE SEAFARER at the Mosaic Theatre was a big winner, also taking home the prize for Best Director of a Play, Richard J. Simon, Dennis Creaghan for Best Supporting Actor in a Play, and Gregg Weiner for Best Actor in a Play. For the second year in a row, Actors' Equity Association was a sponsor of one of the awards and actively participated in the ceremony. Arne Gundersen, Eastern Regional Vice President, was there representing the union and presented Mr. Weiner with his award. He also took a moment to pay tribute to Bruce Adler, nominee for I'M NOT RAPPAPORT, who passed away last year. Also in attendance was South Eastern Traveling Representative, Doug Truelsen.

Best Production of a Musical went to ADDING MACHINE, which also claimed awards for it's Director, Joseph Adler, Musical Director Eric Alsford, Actor Oscar Cheda, Actress Maribeth Graham, Supporting Actor Jim Ballard, and Supporting Actress Stacy Schwartz. Schwartz, who has been nominated a myriad of times excitedly exclaimed, Im no longer the Susan Lucci of the Carbonell Awards!

Best Actress in a Play recipient Elizabeth Dimon and George Abbott Award recipient David Arisco

Other winners include Kim Morgan Dean, best Supporting Actress in a Play for the second year in a row for her performance in A BODY OF WATER (Mosaic Theater), and Elizabeth Dimon, Best Actress in a Play, for her brilliant performance as "Florence Foster Jenkins" in SOUVENIER at Palm Beach Dramaworks.

David Arisco, Artistic Director of the Actors' Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre, was presented with the prestigious George Abbot Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Arts. Mr. Arisco has been a part of Actors' Playhouse for 21 years, where he has directed more than 100 shows, including seven which received Carbonell Awards for both Best Musical and Best Direction of a Musical.

It was a great evening for South Florida theatre professionals who generously supported the nominees and winners and who looked glamorous doing it!

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