The 44th Annual Carbonell Awards Announces Winners

The 44th Annual Carbonell Awards Announces Winners
in First Virtual Ceremony

Miami’s Zoetic Stage Wins Unprecedented 12 Carbonell Awards, Including Best Play and Best Musical

 Director Stuart Meltzer and Actress Jeni Hacker
Both Win Double Honors

Awards Were Presented in 20 Competitive Categories,
Plus Four Special Awards and Three Student Scholarships

Scholarship Fund Link

(South Florida – August 3, 2020) Donald R. Walters, Esq., board president of the Carbonell Awards, South Florida’s Theatre & Arts Honors, today announced that the 44th awards ceremony—the first virtual one in its history—was livestreamed online tonight and will be viewable going forward on the YouTube Channel of the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, easily accessible via the homepage of the Carbonell Awards ( The original live ceremony was postponed due to COVID-19.

“The online ceremony wasn’t the only history-making event at this year’s Carbonell Awards,” says Walters. “Zoetic Stage, a Miami company with scores of nominations and many wins over the years, became the theatre company to win the most awards in a single year. It earned an unprecedented 12 Carbonell Awards, including the dual top honors.”

Best Production, Musical

Sweeney Todd
Zoetic Stage

Best Production, Play

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
Zoetic Stage

“Additionally, Stuart Meltzer won a pair of Best Director Awards for helming both shows. The only other time the same theatre and director took top honors happened in the 2001/2002 season, when A Lesson Before Dying and James Joyce’s The Dead won Best Play and Best Musical, and the late Joseph Adler, long-time executive director of GableStage, won Carbonell Awards for directing both shows,” adds Walters. “Adler had a long history with the Carbonell Awards, winning for Best Director, Play category at the second annual ceremony in 1978, and winning many more throughout the years. Sadly, he passed away in April 2020, and, in recognition of the impact he had on South Florida theatre, this year’s virtual Carbonell Awards ceremony was dedicated to him.”

By the way, Zoetic’s Sweeney Todd earned a total of eight awards, tying it with a production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at Actors’ Playhouse in the 1999/2000 season as the most awarded show in Carbonell history.

Best Director, Musical

Stuart Meltzer
Sweeney Todd
Zoetic Stage

Best Director, Play

Stuart Meltzer
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
Zoetic Stage

 Meltzer wasn’t the only double award winner.

Best Actress, Musical

Jeni Hacker for playing Mrs. Lovett, bringing her career total of Carbonell Awards to four.
Sweeney Todd
Zoetic Stage

Best Actress, Play

Jeni Hacker for her role as a Mormon mother trying to understand a gay son.
Grindr Mom
Ronnie Larsen Presents

Best Actor, Musical

Aloysius Gigl for his role as the Demon Barber. This is his second Carbonell Award.
Sweeney Todd.
Zoetic Stage

Best Actor, Play

Timothy Mark Davis, for his performance as a young man with autism. Falling
New City Players

Best Supporting Actor, Musical

Terry Hardcastle for his performance as Judge Turpin, This is the fourth time he has won this particular award, the most of any actor in this category’s history.
Sweeney Todd.
Zoetic Stage

Best Supporting Actor, Play

David Kwiat for playing Philip Loeb, an actor who was hounded by the McCarthy blacklist. He is now a four-time Carbonell winner.
Ordinary Americans
Palm Beach Dramaworks

 Best Supporting Actress, Musical

Amy Miller Brennan, winning her second Carbonell Award.
The Spitfire Grill
Palm Beach Dramaworks

Best Supporting Actress, Play

Rita Cole for her role as Ruth Younger, and winning the Carbonell on her birthday.
A Raisin in the Sun
Palm Beach Dramaworks

Best Music Director

Paul Tine
Sweeney Todd
Zoetic Stage

Best Choreography

Justin M. Lewis
Hot Shoe Shuffle
The Wick Theatre

Best Scenic Design, Play or Musical

Anne Mundell
A Streetcar Named Desire
Palm Beach Dramaworks

 Best Lighting Design, Play or Musical

Rebecca Montero
Sweeney Todd
Zoetic Stage

 Best Costume Design, Play or Musical

Marina Pareja
Sweeney Todd
Zoetic Stage

Best Sound Design, Play or Musical

Matt Corey
Every Brilliant Thing
Zoetic Stage

Best Ensemble, Play or Musical

The Wolves
Zoetic Stage

Best New Work, Play or Musical

Grindr Mom
Ronnie Larsen Presents

The George Abbott Award

Kelley Shanley, President & CEO of the Broward Center for the Performing Arts

The Bill Von Maurer Award

Palm Beach Dramaworks

The Bill Hindman Award

Barbara Bradshaw, the recipient of four previous Carbonell Awards.

 The Ruth Foreman Award

Broadway Factor for The Amparo Experience, the critically acclaimed immersive theater production in Miami.

 Another highlight was the awarding of the 2020 Jack Zink Memorial Student Scholarships to Skye Alyssa Friedman (Palm Beach County, $3,000), Amaris Rios (Miami-Dade County, $2,000), and Jeremy Fuentes (Broward County, $1,000).

Carbonell Awards were presented in 20 competitive categories, featuring 100 different nominations. Out of more than 80 shows that opened in 2019 at regional theaters, 62 were eligible for nominations.

The virtual ceremony opened with members of the diverse local theatre community responding to the question, Why does theatre matter to you now? The personal three-word answers included, “Creating Art Inspires,” “Stories Need Telling,” “Catalyst for Change,” “Brings Humanity Together,” “I Can Breathe,” and “Miss the Magic!” The show also featured stirring musical numbers by Ben Bagby, Leah Sessa, Kareema Khouri, Liubov Ohrimenco, Elena Alamilla, and Caryl Fantel. Geoffrey Short announced the award categories and winners, and Christina Alexander served as Equity and Inclusion Consultant.

The entertainment-packed ceremony was conceived and created by Fantel Music, including Carbonell Award winner Caryl Fantel, who has been part of the award show’s production team for 12 years and is a two-time Silver Palm Award-winning music director, pianist and vocal coach; her daughter Alyssa Fantel, an actress, acting coach and award-winning playwright; and her husband Roy Fantel, who was the video and audio producer for the ceremony.

Sponsors for the 44th annual Carbonell Awards include Actors’ Equity Association, Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Rita & Jerome Cohen, Broadway Across America, Broward Center for the Performing Arts, Broward County Cultural Division, Carbonell Contemporary Sculptures, Cultural Council for Palm Beach County, CultureForce, South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center, Daniel Azoulay Studio, Jetstream Aviation Capital, Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, Miami-Dade County Auditorium, OutClique Magazine, South Florida Cultural Consortium, South Florida Theatre League, WLRN Public Media, WOW MKTG, and NBC 6 South Florida.

Awards by County

12    Miami-Dade
4     Palm Beach
4     Broward

Awards by Theater

12     Zoetic Stage
3     Palm Beach Dramaworks
2     New City Players
2     Ronnie Larsen Presents
1      The Wick Theatre

Awards by Production

8     Sweeney Todd, Zoetic Stage
2     The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, Zoetic Stage
2     Grindr Mom, Ronnie Larsen Presents
1     A Raisin in the Sun, New City Players
1     Falling, New City Players
1     Ordinary Americans, Palm Beach Dramaworks
1     A Streetcar Named Desire, Palm Beach Dramaworks
1     Every Brilliant Thing, Zoetic Stage
1     Hot Shoe Shuffle, The Wick Theatre
1     The Spitfire Grill, Palm Beach Dramaworks
1     The Wolves, Zoetic Stage

About The Carbonell Awards

Along with New York’s Drama Desk and Chicago’s Joseph Jefferson Awards, the Carbonell Awards are among the nation’s senior regional arts awards and predate others including Washington, D.C.’s Helen Hayes Awards. The Carbonell Awards fosters the artistic growth of professional theater in South Florida by celebrating the diversity of our theater artists, providing educational scholarships, and building audience appreciation and civic pride by highlighting achievements of our theater community. Named after Manuel Carbonell, an internationally-renowned sculptor, who designed the original solid bronze and marble award in 1976, each season volunteer panelists and judges choose nominees and recipients from hundreds of shows produced on stages throughout the tri-county area.