Who’s Who


2021-2022 Season:


Jeff Kiltie, President
General Manager, Aventura Arts & Cultural Center; Miami-Dade

Jeff Kiltie is the general manager for the Aventura Arts & Cultural Center in Aventura, Florida, an affiliated venue of the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, and has been with the venue since its opening in 2010. With over thirty years of experience in all aspects of the performing arts industry, from being an Equity stage manager to directing, producing, designing, and even running a follow-spot, Jeff also served as the production supervisor for the Broward Center for the Performing Arts for several years. He also chairs the board’s Production & Programming Committee.

Javier Siut, Vice President
Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs; Miami-Dade

Javier Siut is a member of the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and former director of Prometeo Theatre at Miami-Dade College. He also chairs the board’s Scholarship Committee.

Donald R. Walters, Esq., Treasurer
Donald R. Walters, P.A.; Broward

Don Walters is an Attorney and Managing Partner of Donald R. Walters, P.A., a full-service Real Estate Law Firm with offices in Pompano Beach and Coral Springs, Florida.  Don graduated from the University of Georgia with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and received his Juris Doctor from the University of Florida College of Law.  His involvement in the legal community includes stints serving on the boards of the North Broward Bar Association, the Broward County Bar Association, Stephen R. Booher American Inn of Court, and Legal Aid of Broward County/Coast to Coast Legal Services.  In addition to his law practice, Don has been active in the South Florida theater community for over thirty years as an actor and stage manager and served five terms as President of the Hollywood Playhouse.  He has been on the Board of Trustees of The Carbonell Awards since 2009 and as Chairperson of the Steering Committee of the South Florida Cappies, The Critics and Awards Program for High School Theater, since 2006.  After 20 years in Coral Springs, Don recently moved back to the east-side where he was raised and currently resides in Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, Florida. He is the immediate past president and will continue to serve on the board’s Executive and Governance committees.

Jody Leshinsky,  Secretary
Cultural Venues Programming Manager, Pompano Beach Cultural Affairs Department; Broward

Jody Leshinsky spent most of her professional career in Broward County government with nearly 30 years at the Broward Cultural Division as an Arts Administrator. She was responsible for all of the public relations, marketing, advertising, social media and the website, including publishing a fine arts magazine, Cultural Quarterly. In 2016, Jody retired from County government and took the leap into the nonprofit world where she worked with the company responsible for the Pompano Beach Amphitheater and the opening of the brand-new Pompano Beach Cultural Center. The following year she was hired to run two cultural organizations for the Pompano Beach Community Redevelopment Agency, and today she is the Cultural Venues Programming Manager for the City of Pompano Beach’s Cultural Affairs Department.

Board Members:

Joanne Benko 
Director, Programming, Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County; Miami-Dade

Joanne Benko is currently director, programming at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County. Joanne joined the Arsht Center in the summer of 2006 and has also worked in Box Office and Marketing. Prior to the Arsht Center, she worked at the Coconut Grove Playhouse for its last 3 seasons. Joanne joined the Carbonell Awards family in 2012 as a volunteer and became a board member in 2014. Joanne is a Miami native and graduated from Florida International University where she studied Photography and Art History. Joanne has always loved the Arts, with live music being her main passion. She is also quite the coffee enthusiast but needs it to keep up with her 3-year-old! She also chairs the board’s Ticketing & Sponsorship Committee for the annual Carbonell Awards.

Linda Birdsey
Marketing Director, Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts; Palm Beach

Ricardo J. Gonzalez III
Owner/Director, Beaux Arts Gallery in Miami, Proprietor and worldwide personal representative for the Estate of Manuel Carbonell; Miami-Dade

Ricardo J. Gonzalez III is a registered architect in the State of Florida.  Mr. Gonzalez has a degree in Architecture from the University of Miami with a minor in art.  Since 1971, he enjoyed an extensive architectural practice throughout Florida and owned a successful development and construction company.  He established Beaux Arts Gallery, aka Carbonell Sculptures Ltd. in 1987 for the purpose of representing Carbonell, being of the few galleries in Miami dating to that time.  Twelve years ago, he retired from his other endeavors and has dedicated himself full time to the art gallery and the promotion of Carbonells’ sculptures. Mr. Gonzalez is the nephew of Sculptor Carbonell and has full authority over the oeuvre of Carbonell as well as being the proprietor and worldwide personal representative for the Estate of Manuel Carbonell.

Herman G. Montero
Director of Production at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts; Broward

Herman Montero is the new director of production at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts. He was formerly director of project management for Bombshell Productions in Fort Lauderdale and prior to that he was the production manager for the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts.

William Nix
Former Vice President of Marketing and Governmental affairs for the Cultural Council for Palm Beach County; Palm Beach

William Nix is the former vice president of marketing and governmental affairs for the Cultural Council for Palm Beach County who co-hosted weekly TV and radio programs on the arts. He currently is an ex officio member of the Palm Beach County Film and Television Commission, and hosts the annual African-American Film Festival at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts.

Gary Schweikhart
President, Public Relations by Schweikhart; Palm Beach

Gary Schweikhart is president of PR-BS, Inc., a full-service public relations firm based in Boca Raton. Clients include the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, Coral Springs Center for the Arts, Palm Beach Photographic Centre, Lynn University Conservatory of Music & Live at Lynn Theatre Series, Palm Beach Poetry Festival, Arts Garage, DCOTA, Caffe Luna Rosa, Mounts Botanical Garden, MusicWorks, etc. He is co-founder of the Gold Coast PR Council and the popular series Culture & Cocktails at The Colony in partnership with the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County. Gary was formerly VP of PR at Office Depot, Senior Media Manager for The Sharper Image retail chain, Managing Editor of The San Francisco Sentinel, a radio/TV talk show host, print and broadcast theater reviewer for over a decade, and a producer of numerous stage shows, rock concerts and citywide festivals in Omaha, Nebraska. He will continue to serve as chair of the board’s PR & Communications Committee.

Geoffrey Short
President of the Board of Directors of the Pembroke Pines Theater of the Performing Arts; Broward

Geoffrey Short is the president of the board of directors of the Pembroke Pines Theater of the Performing Arts, and an experienced theater director, actor, and music producer who has worked with numerous South Florida theater companies.

Avery Sommers
Broadway, movie and TV veteran; Palm Beach

Avery Sommers is a Broadway, movie and TV veteran who continues to sell-out performances in cabarets, night clubs and theaters. Both a Carbonell Award winner and a seven-time nominee, she also is a recipient of a Los Angeles Ovation Award, The Silver Palm Award for Outstanding Contributions to South Florida Theater, and the Best Supporting Actress Award at the 2010 Monaco International Film Festival.


2021-2022 JUDGING PANEL:

We are still seeking judges for the 2021-2022 season. For information on becoming a Carbonell Awards judge, email President@CarbonellAwards.org

Adalberto Acevedo (Miami-Dade)
Adalberto J. Acevedo was born in Cuba and came to this country when he was just 2 years old. He studied under Norma Davids, Barbara Lowery and Robert Lowery before attending Florida State University on an artist scholarship. Adalberto was a proud member of the famed ACME Acting Company where he began his directorial career. He has traveled to Costa Rica with Teatro Avante as a representative of the United States in the Hispanic Theatre Festival. Mr. Acevedo is the recipient of the Silver Palm Award and a three-time Carbonell Award nominee. In the summer of 2001 Mr. Acevedo formed The Alliance Theatre Lab where he served as Artistic Director and directed such hit shows as Orphans and Brothers Beckett. Brothers Beckett was transferred to the Arsht Center where it played to sold out houses. Mr. Acevedo has been a Theatre Arts Teacher at Arthur and Polly Mays Conservatory of the Arts for the past 25 years.

Al Alschuler  (Miami-Dade)
An ardent advocate of South Florida’s regional theater since the 1970s, Al Alschuler served successively on the Boards of Directors of the Miami’s Players Repertory Theatre, Coconut Grove Playhouse (and chairman of its Conservatory), Skyline Theatre, New Theatre, and City Theatre.  Past president of both the South Florida International Press Club and the Interior Design Guild of South Florida, Al is a longtime journalist specializing in the arts and travel, interior design and architecture, as well as editing numerous publications.

Mary Damiano (Broward)
Mary Damiano is an award-winning writer, editor, and theater critic. Mary has covered the South Florida arts scene since 2000 and has had more than 2,500 articles published in dozens of publications, including the Miami Herald, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, New Times, South Florida Gay News, She Magazine, the The New Pelican Newspaper, BroadwayWorld.com, and MiamiARTzine.com. She is the founding editor of MiamiARTzine.com and creatively shepherded the online arts magazine through its first 100 issues. Mary also co-wrote the 2003 feature film, Hunting for Herschell. In 2005 she worked at the historic Coconut Grove Playhouse as the public relations and marketing coordinator. She has written several short plays that have received staged readings and her play, Word Count, kicked off the staged reading series of the South Florida Theatre Festival in 2013.  Mary has been a judge for the Carbonell Awards since 2004.

Mark Demeter (Broward)
Mark Demeter is a Producer /Director for BECON-TV and volunteers for ACT of Davie as a lighting designer. Mark has a love for theatre that started as a child when he got involved in school productions and community theatre. He was also raised on classical music as his father was a concert violinist. Mark has a passion for the theatre and is constantly looking for ways to bring theatre and TV together. He is currently the director and producer for Spotlight on the Arts a weekly TV show that shines a light on the theatre and entertainment community of South Florida.

Cheryl Dunn Bychek (Palm Beach)
Despite growing up in a tiny mid-Michigan town with no theatre, Cheryl was always captivated by the stage. When a professional company began summer rep nearby, her mother took her and continued when the company went year-round. As an adult, Cheryl became that theatre’s PR/Marketing Director. Despising winter weather, she left the BoarsHead Theatre for the same position at the Theatre Club of the Palm Beaches, helping that company grow from a 123-seat rented house to their own home in Manalapan. After leaving Theatre Club, she did PR & Marketing for road shows at the Duncan Theatre and the PBCC Museum of Modern Art. No longer employed by a producing company, Jack Zink recruited her as a Carbonell panel member where she has proudly served since 1994. Having attended hundreds of professional productions of regional, touring and New York plays and musicals over 50 years she’s still enchanted by the magic that only happens when audiences and performers meet to share the special alchemy of live theatre.

R. Kent Chambers-Wilson (Broward)
R. Kent Chambers-Wilson has a varied theatrical background with experience as an actor, stage manager, assistant director, producer, sound designer, dramaturge, and playwright. He has been on the Ambassadors Council for the National New Play Network, Board President for The Theatre League of South Florida and served as a Carbonell Awards judge.

Nancy Doyle Cohen (Miami-Dade)
Nancy Doyle Cohen manages the Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU where she oversees the day-to-day operation of the museum, including programming, marketing, and membership. She is the former director of group sales for Broadway Across America at the company’s Fort Lauderdale headquarters. Nancy is experienced in sales, marketing, and promotions and is an avid theatergoer and arts patron. She has a BA in Mass Communications from the University of South Florida and is a lifelong Miami resident.

Christine Dolen (Miami-Dade)
Christine Dolen was the Miami Herald’s theater critic from 1979 to 2015.  She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in journalism from The Ohio State University. She was a John S. Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford University in 1984-85, and a senior fellow at Columbia University’s National Arts Journalism program in 1999.  In 1997, she was a member of the Pulitzer Prize drama jury. Her awards include the Green Eyeshade in criticism from the Atlanta Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and first place in arts writing in the Missouri Lifestyle Journalism Awards. In 2001, she received the George Abbott Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Arts.  She has also been honored with a Silver Palm Award and the South Florida Theatre League’s Remy Award. In November 2011, American Theatre Magazine named her as one of a dozen of the country’s most influential theater critics. As a freelance critic and arts writer, she writes primarily for ArtburstMiami.com. Her stories and reviews also appear in the Miami Herald, the Sun-Sentinel, New Times, Inspicio, the WLRN web site and Florida Theater On Stage.

Hap Erstein (Palm Beach)
From his arrival in South Florida in 1994, Hap served as the theater critic and theater department of The Palm Beach Post, until leaving the paper in 2008. Since then, he has been reviewing theater and writing theater features for Palm Beach ArtsPaper, an online and print magazine. From 1982 to 1994, he served as theater critic for The Washington Times newspaper, winning numerous local and national awards and being nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in Criticism. He also was a regular panelist on Around Town, a weekly arts discussion show on public television. For many years, he served as a judge for the Helen Hayes Awards, the theater awards program of the nation’s capital. From 1994 to the present, he has been a Carbonell judge.

Donna Horkey (Broward)
Donna L. Horkey, MS, PHR, has been a theater lover since she was seven years old when she made her stage debut in her sister’s high school production of Saroyan’s The Time of Your Life. She went on to leading lady roles in many musicals throughout college, tried her hand at stage managing, handling props, doing make-up, and directing, and even did a two-month summer stock run of Godspell all over the Southeast. When the “real world” hit, Donna pursued a career in human resources and has had her own management consulting practice since 1988, specializing in executive coaching, training, and investigating sexual harassment and employment discrimination nationwide. She served as adjunct faculty in the graduate business school at Nova Southeastern University (NSU) for five years and has been President of the HR Association of Broward County, the Florida State HR Council, the Eckerd College Alumni Association, and the Sunrise Pops Orchestra. Donna is an ardent admirer of people who earn their living in the challenging world of theater and makes the effort to support live theatre by seeing as much of it as possible.  She and her husband are avid theatre-goers locally, visit NYC regularly for a Broadway fix, have attended Shakespeare Festivals and Fringe Festivals in multiple locations, and seek out live theatre wherever they travel worldwide.

David Jobin (Broward)
David worked for 20 years in professional non-profit theatre before dedicating his career to supporting LGBTQ causes in 2008. As managing director of LORT theatres including City Theatre Company (Pittsburgh), San Jose Rep and Magic Theatre (San Francisco), David was involved in the development and production of new plays by Billy Porter, Christopher Durang, Anne Bogart, Paula Vogel, Bill Pullman, Joan Rivers and Elaine May. David also served on the Executive Committee of the League of Resident Theatres (LORT).  Currently, David is the President & CEO of Our Fund Foundation, a LGBTQ community foundation that supports LGBTQ agencies and causes in Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach Counties.

Larry Jurrist (Broward)
Larry was a teacher in Dade County Public Schools for 36 years and was International Baccalaureate Coordinator at North Miami Senior High School for 11 years. He is a linguist and speaks Spanish, Hebrew and French in addition to English. He has one son, Oscar. Larry has performed in numerous South Florida theatrical venues over the past 35 years and also serves as a screener for the South Florida LGBT Film Festival.

Mark Keller (Palm Beach)
Mark Keller is a producer with Broadway investor credits including War Horse, A Christmas Story The Musical., and is developing 161st Street, A New Musical. Off-Broadway: Oh Me Oh My Oh Youmans, Knitters In The Sun, Company, On A Clear Day, Count Dracula. West End: developing Roof Of The Roof, A New Play, which had its World-Premiere at Kansas City Rep. Regional: developing Allan Carr: Can’t Stop The Stories! He presented the following artists in concert: Lucie Arnaz, Betty Buckley, Gavin Creel, Christine Ebersole, Linda Eder, Sutton Foster, Lorna Luft, Andrea McArdle, Donna McKechnie, Elaine Paige, Billy Porter, Faith Prince, Chita Rivera, Lea Salonga, André De Shields. Co-Presenting with Think Iconic Artists Agency: A Donna Summer Celebration featuring Donna’s sister, Mary Gaines Bernard, Billy Stritch-I’m Playing His Songs, The Marvin Hamlisch Songbook. He is a Board Member for Florida Children’s Theatre, Member Actors Equity Association, Society of Arts & Letters, South Florida Theatre League, Manhattan Association of Cabarets & Clubs, Association of Performing Arts Presenters. Graduate of Wayne State University BFA Directing.

Jill Kratish (Broward)
Jill Kratish is Director of Programming for the Broward Center for the Performing Arts. Kratish has worked for the Broward Center since its opening in 1991 and has extensive experience in the areas of Production and Programming. As Director of Programming, she focuses on Broadway and Off-Broadway, concerts, comedy, as well as special events for the Broward Center and its affiliate venues.  She brings a unique insight to the business of a non-profit arts center, balancing mission and commercial programming as well as a passion for live performance. A native of South Florida, Kratish serves as the Vice President of the Florida Professional Presenters Consortium, is a Broadway League member and a Tony Voter, and is a member of Leadership Broward Class XXXVII.  She holds a B.A. in theater from the University of Florida.

Teri Mitze (Palm Beach)
After receiving her Bachelor of Theatre Arts, Teri Mitze became an Associate Producer at the JFK Center for the Performing Arts. As Founder and Producer of The Great American Children’s Theatre for twenty-two years, eventually a program of the Nederlander Organization, her responsibilities encompassed producing, promoting and touring the Equity company to nineteen cities, including LA, (Pantages Theatre), Portland (Civic Center) and Milwaukee (Pabst Theater). Simultaneously, Teri produced as many as 300 national television commercials and worked as Assistant to Production Designer on several feature films. Before moving from LA to NYC, she spent a year as Chief of Staff for the CEO, RKO Pictures.  In NYC, Teri produced and consulted On/Off-Broadway productions with Morton Swinsky, Kardana Productions. Since 2010, she has worked as a constituent services aide to elected officials, state and federal. She says it has been her great pleasure to serve as a Recommending Panelist for Carbonell since 2018.

Andrea O’Connell (Broward)
A proud member of Actors Equity Association, Andrea earned her BFA from Florida Atlantic University, and her MA, in Theatre Performance, from Purdue University. After graduate school, Andrea returned to South Florida to work as a full-time actor. Memorable roles include Eliza in Pygmalion, Ophelia in Hamlet (Carbonell nomination), and Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Andrea appeared in a number of plays at the Caldwell Theatre, including Bus Stop, Les Liaisons Dangereuses, Angel Street, The Heiress, Curious Savage, and more. She also appeared in A Thousand Clowns, at Actors’ Playhouse – Miracle Theatre, the Brian C. Smith theatre, and other venues. Andrea “retired” from the theatre in 1977 and began a career as an Instructional Designer, channeling her passion for writing and performance into improving workplace performance in the corporate world. Andrea is a playwright and Senior Instructional Systems Designer with Magellan Healthcare.

Ileana Oroza (Miami-Dade)
After a career as a lecturer at the University of Miami’s School of Communication and as an editor at The Miami Herald, Ileana Oroza is now an independent editor with a special focus on cultural issues. Among the positions she held during 20 years at The Herald were Arts Editor and Assistant Managing Editor for News, in charge of 1A. At the University of Miami, Ileana taught a wide variety of journalism classes, including editing and features reporting.

Karen Poindexter (Palm Beach)
Producer in Regional, Broadway and London theatres including the Tony-Nominated Musical The News, Prince of Central Park, Love Thy Neighbor and the Anniversary production of Hair at the Old Vic Theatre in London. Numerous stars and celebrities appeared in her productions including; Burt Reynolds, Farrah Fawcett, Dom Deluise, Charles Nelson Reilly, Charles Durning, Kirstie Alley, Parker Stevens, Marilyn McCoo, Cathy Rigby, Sarah Jessica Parker, Judd Nelson, Robert Hays, Bebe Neuwirth, Joanne Worley, Valerie Harper to name a few. Additional spotlight achievements include having developed and presented new musicals/plays for Helen Hayes, NY HBO Studio, NYC Fringe Festival, New York Music Festival and NYC Cabarets. Film/Television credits include Prince of Central Park (based on the Broadway musical) starring Kathleen Turner, Danny Aiello, Harvey Keitel, and Cathy Moriarty; BL Stryker, ABC Mystery Wheel starring Burt Reynolds and Ozzie Davis; and Cop and a Half starring Burt Reynolds and Ruby Dee, directed by Henry Winkler with Imagine Films and Universal Pictures.

Jennifer Sierra-Grobbelaar (Broward)
Jenn is the Director of Marketing for Broward Center for the Performing Arts. She spent 10 years as Cirque Dreams Marketing & PR Director. Her theatrical career blossomed at Broadway Across America as National Subscription Ticketing Manager, Parker Playhouse Operations Manager, Florida Theatrical Association’s Education Liaison and PR & Marketing Operations Director for the region. She was Associate Producer of Cirque Dreams Broadway commemorating Broward Center’s 20th Anniversary and WE…The Rhythm & Passion of the People, Broward 100’s Duende Centennial Celebration directed by Neil Goldberg. Together with Matt May, Jenn is the Co-Creator and Producer of Diego & Drew Say I Do which held its World Premiere in 2016 receiving a Silver Palm Award for Outstanding Interactive Theatrical Experience. Together in 2017, they co-produced the Silver Palm Awards 10th Anniversary Celebration. She received a Remy Award in 2016 from the Theater League of South Florida for Service to the Arts and in 2018 the Charlie Cinnamon Award for her significant contributions and dedicated service to the Carbonell Awards.

John Soliday (Miami-Dade)
John Soliday is a Carbonell Award nominated “Best Director.” Six of the seventy-five plus color-blind-cast productions he directed set box office records, including at Miami’s Coconut Grove Playhouse. He directed Broward Center’s first Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and The Tempest. Dr. Soliday bridges the professional/academic worlds as University of Miami Associate Professor of Cinema and Theatre Arts. He directs Europe’s 23-year-old Czech National Film School English summer program in Prague, Vienna, Berlin, Munich, and Salzburg. His alumni work from Broadway to Hollywood, Chicago to Miami, across Asia, Russia, Europe, and the Americas. He is a member of the Society of Stage Directors and a past member of Actors Equity. Honors include: “The Tyrone Guthrie Award,” “The English-Speaking Union International Award,” various acting, directing, speaking, and teaching awards, and “The National Communication Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Artistic Scholarship and International Leadership.”

John Thomason (Broward)
John Thomason is the managing editor of Boca Raton and Delray Beach magazines, where he also serves as arts and entertainment editor and features writer. He writes three blogs per week covering the A&E beat on Bocamag.com, and contributes freelance film reviews for Palm Beach ArtsPaper and freelance theatre reviews for Florida Theater On Stage. He is a voting member of the Florida Film Critics Circle and a judge for Carbonell Awards, honoring excellence in South Florida theatre.

Pauline Winick (Miami-Dade)
A civilian leader in the cultural community, Pauline Winick served as Chairman of the Cultural Councils of Miami-Dade County and the City of Miami Beach. She studied the Meisner method and performed in college and continues to study plays. Since being appointed a panelist she been working on expanding her knowledge of the technical requirements of stagecraft and has tried to study in advance each play on the South Florida schedule, if I can find them. Pauline describes herself as straight-forwarded, with no agenda, she worked with the TCG group when it held its conference here in Miami almost two years ago and, and non-affiliated.

Breakdown by County

Broward 10
Miami-Dade 7
Palm Beach 5