New Judges for the 2021 – 2022 Theater Season

The Carbonell Awards Introduces New Team of Judges for 2021-2022 Theater Season

Broward County – 10 Judges

Miami/Dade County – 9 Judges

Palm Beach County – 11 Judges 

(South Florida – September 23, 2021) Jeff Kiltie, president of the Carbonell Awards, South Florida’s most highly coveted recognition of theatrical and performance excellence, today announced the nonprofit organization’s new team of judges for the 2021-2022 theater season.

“Over the last year, the Carbonell Awards has revised our entire judging process, changing the way judges are assigned, while maintaining our historic focus on recognizing and celebrating theatrical excellence on a regional basis,” says Kiltie. “In addition, we have redefined the required qualifications for being a Carbonell judge, while strengthening our commitment to creating diverse judging panels, including diversity in age, gender, race, sexual orientation and ethnicity.”

“We have an outstanding panel of 30 experienced judges, many of whom have been working with the Carbonell Awards for years, but also eight new volunteer judges**, all very highly qualified, who have a passion for and openness to all kinds of theater, including plays, musicals, new works, classics, immersive and multidisciplinary theater,” he says. “This may be the most impressive and diverse roster of Carbonell judges in our 45-year history.”

Carbonell Awards Judges 2021-2022

Broward County

+ R. Kent Chambers-Wilson (Lauderdale Lakes) has a varied theatrical background with experience as an actor, stage manager, assistant director, producer, sound designer, dramaturge, and playwright. Recently named Carbonell Coordinator, he also has been on the Ambassadors Council for the National New Play Network, and Board President for The Theatre League of South Florida.

+ Mary Damiano (Oakland Park) is the former Managing Director of the Carbonell Awards, as well as an award-winning writer, editor, and theater critic who has covered the South Florida arts scene since 2000. She has had more than 2,500 articles published in dozens of publications, including the Miami HeraldSun-Sentinel, New Times, South Florida Gay News, She Magazine, The New Pelican Newspaper,, and, of which she is the founding editor of and shepherded the online arts magazine through its first 100 issues.

+ Mark Demeter (Davie) is a Producer/Director for BECON-TV and volunteers for ACT of Davie as a lighting designer. With his passion for the theatre, he and is constantly looking for ways to bring theatre and TV together and 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.

+ Donna Horkey (Davie) has been a theater lover since childhood and has performed many roles from actor, props master, and make-up artist to stage manager and director, including a two month stint traveling the south in a summer stock production of Godspell. She and her husband are avid theater goers and supporters. Since 1988, she has had her own management consulting practice specializing in sexual harassment and employment discrimination investigations, training, and expert witness work nationwide.

+ David Jobin (Wilton Manors) 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), Jobin 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, he 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 (Hollywood) 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 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.

+ Jill Kratish (Fort Lauderdale) is Director of Programming for the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, where she focuses on Broadway and Off-Broadway, concerts, comedies, and special events; She is a recipient of a Silver Palm Award for Outstanding Contribution to South Florida Theater. Jill serves as Vice President of the Florida Professional Presenters Consortium; and is a Broadway League member and Tony Award voter.

+ Andrea O’Connell (Fort Lauderdale) is a proud member of Actors Equity Association who acted in numerous shows at the Caldwell Theatre, Actors’ Playhouse-Miracle Theatre, and other venues before transitioning from her performing roles to a new career as an Instructional Designer; also a playwright.

+ Jennifer Sierra-Grobbelaar (Fort Lauderdale) is the Director of Marketing for the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, and earlier spent 10 years as Marketing & PR Director for Cirque Dreams and 13 years at Broadway Across America. She is a playwright and producer and the recipient of a Silver Palm Award for Outstanding Interactive Theatrical Experience, a Remy Award, and the Charlie Cinnamon Award in 2018 for her significant contributions and dedicated service to the Carbonell Awards.

+ John Thomason (Deerfield Beach) 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; contributes freelance film reviews for Palm Beach ArtsPaper and freelance theatre reviews for; and is a voting member of the Florida Film Critics Circle.

Miami-Dade County

+ Adalberto Acevedo (Miami) is a proud member of the ACME Acting Company where he began his directorial career; traveled to Costa Rica with Teatro Avante representing the U.S. in the Hispanic Theatre Festival. He formed The Alliance Theatre Lab in 2001, where he served as Artistic Director; a Theatre Arts Teacher at Arthur & Polly Mays Conservatory of the Arts for 25 years and is a recipient of the Silver Palm Award and a three-time Carbonell Award nominee.

+ Al Alschuler (Miami) served on the Board of the original Coconut Grove Playhouse and its predecessor, the Players Repertory Theatre, as well as both New Theatre and City Theatre.  A longtime journalist specializing in the arts, interior design, architecture, and travel, he is a former president of the South Florida International Press Club and the Interior Design Guild of South Florida.

+ Nancy Cohen (Miami) 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 and is an avid theatergoer and arts patron.

+ Christine Dolen (Davie) wastheater critic for the Miami Herald 1979-2015 and continues to cover culture for Her stories and reviews also have appeared in the SunSentinel, New Times, Inspicio, and other publications. She is a recipient of a Silver Palm Award, the South Florida Theatre League’s Remy Award, and the Carbonell’s prestigious George Abbott Award in 2001. Ten years later, Dolen was named one of a dozen of the country’s most influential theatre critics by American Theatre Magazine.

+ Marjorie O’Neill-Butler (Miami Beach) has previously served as a Carbonell judge for six years and twice co-directed the annual awards ceremony. In addition, she has worked as a playwright and theatre critic, and is currently a member of the Dramatists Guild, AEA and SAG-AFTRA.**

+ Ileana Oroza (Miami Beach), who, after a career as a lecturer at the University of Miami’s School of Communications and at The Miami Herald, where she served as both Arts Editor and Assistant Managing Editor, is now an independent editor with a special focus on cultural issues.

+ Ellen Rusconi (Miami)currently works at the Arsht Center for the Performing Arts and previously spent more than 20 years working both on Broadway and Off-Broadway for both nonprofit and commercial theaters. In addition, she is the former Producing Director of the Stage Directors & Choreographers Foundation. **

+ John Soliday (Miami) is a Carbonell Award nominated “Best Director.” Six of the 75-plus color-blind-cast productions he directed set box office records, including at Miami’s Coconut Grove Playhouse; and he directed Broward Center’s first Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and The Tempest. Dr. Soliday is University of Miami Associate Professor of Cinema and Theatre Arts; 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; is a member of the Society of Stage Directors and a past member of Actors Equity; and a recipient of 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.

+ Pauline Winick (Miami Beach) is a leader in the local arts community after serving as Chairman of the Cultural Councils of Miami-Dade County and the City of Miami Beach. She studies the Meisner method, performed in college, and continues to study plays and the technical requirements of stagecraft.

Palm Beach County

+ Dr. Lhisa Almashy (Lake Worth) is an award-winning educator who spent the last 17 years working with the School District of Palm Beach County, most recently directing the strategic initiative on equity, access, and cultural competency. She earned her B.A. in Theatre and History and a Master of Arts degree from the University of San Francisco, and a doctorate in Leadership and Learning in Organizations from Peabody College at Vanderbilt University. Dr. Almashy founded film and theatre organizations in California and Michigan, worked with the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, and has even judged high school thespian competitions. A distinguished keynote speaker and panel moderator, she has also facilitated cultural competency and diversity workshops. **

+ Cheryl Dunn Bychek (Royal Palm Beach) served as PR/Marketing Director for the BoarsHead Theatre in Lansing, Michigan before filling the same role for the Theatre Club of the Palm Beaches, later promoting road shows at the Duncan Theatre in Lake Worth. She has been with the Carbonells since she was first recruited by Jack Zink in 1994.

+ Hap Erstein (West Palm Beach) was theater critic for The Palm Beach Post 1994-2008 and was previously theater critic for The Washington Times 1982-1994, where he won many awards and was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in Criticism. For many years, he was a judge for the Helen Hayes Awards, and continues to review theater and writes related features for Palm Beach ArtsPaper, an online and print magazine.

+ Allen H. Jones (West Palm Beach)isa retired Production Designer who has worked on hundreds of TV commercials, films, and plays, and was former Resident Set Designer for The Great American Children’s Theatre, a nationally recognized company associated with the Nederlander Organization. **

+ Mark Keller (Delray Beach) has produced and/or developed numerous shows from Broadway (161st Street, War Horse, A Christmas Story: The Musical) to Off Broadway (Oh Me Oh My Oh Youmans, Knitters In The Sun, Company, On A Clear Day, Count Dracula) to Regional (Allan Carr’s Can’t Stop the Stories!) to major concerts (Lucie Arnaz, Betty Buckley, Christine Ebersole, Linda Eder, Sutton Foster, Lorna Luft, Andrea McArdle, Donne McKechnie, Billy Porter, Faith Prince, Chita Rivera, and more). He is a member of Actors’ Equity Association, Society of Arts & Letters, South Florida Theatre League, Manhattan Association of Cabarets & Clubs, and the Association of Performing Arts Presenters.

+ Teri Mitze (Greenacres) started her career as an Associate Producer at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. She was Founder and Producer of The Great American Children’s Theatre for 22 years, eventually a program of the Nederlander Organization, where her responsibilities included producing, promoting, and touring the Equity company to 19 cities. She also produced as many as 300 national television commercials and worked as Assistant to Production Designer on several feature films; spent a year as Chief of Staff for the CEO of RKO Pictures; and produced and consulted On/Off-Broadway productions.

+ Deborah Nix (Delray Beach) is a retired high school and middle school counselor who encouraged students to enjoy and pursue the arts, as well as a 7-year judge for the “Read Together” program of the Palm Beach County Literacy Coalition. A lifelong theater student and goer, she has been active with the Karamu Theatre in Cleveland, the Red Barn Theater in Woodstock, NY, and the Alliance/AUC Players in Atlanta. **

+ Karen Poindexter (Palm Beach Gardens) has been a producer in Regional, Broadway and London theaters 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.She has worked with numerous stars including Burt Reynolds, Charles Nelson Reilly, Sarah Jessica Parker, Martin Sheen, and more; and has produced new musicals/plays for Helen Hayes, NY HBO Studio, NYC Fringe Festival, etc.

+ Jeremy Quinn (Boynton Beach) recently returned to South Florida after working in and around NYC for 22 years, including having served as Producing Artistic Director of the White Plains Performing Arts Center 2011-2016 where he produced and directed several NY regional premieres. He has acted in or directed over 300 theatrical productions including On and Off Broadway and three National Tours. Quinn is a member of the prestigious Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab, was Director and Associate Director of the Broadway/Off-Broadway Theatre World Awards 2007-2016, Associate Producer for Broadway for a New America, Founder and Producing Artistic Director of the Island City Theatre Project, Founder and President of The NY Actors’ Alliance, and former member of AEA and SAG. **

+ Linda Shorrock (Boynton Beach) Is a South Florida Resident who works both professionally and in higher education in costuming for theatres throughout the US. She is the current costumer for Palm Beach State College, and professionally works as a designer, wardrobe coordinator, and costume technician. Some of her recent shows include Zorbaand A Little Night Musicat Palm Beach Dramaworks, The Fantasticks and Shoutat the Winter Park Playhouse, The Devil’s Musicat Arts’ Garage, Companyfor MNM Productions, and Groundhog Day for Slow Burn Theatre Company. Other recent favorite productions include the critically acclaimed Priscilla, Queen of the Desert for Slow Burn Theatre Company, and the Magellan Gold Award winning show Elyriafor Celebrity Cruise Lines.** 

+ Jan Sjostrom (Boca Raton) spent 28 years as cultural editor and theater reviewer for The Palm Beach Daily Newsbefore retiring earlier this year. **

The Judging Process

In direct response to community concerns, over the last year the Carbonell Awards developed new judge criteria and replaced the two-tier system of recommendation panelists and judges with a new county-focused process that still maintains the regional integrity of the awards. For each eligible production, the new Carbonell Coordinator will assign seven judges, including one professional reviewer, four judges from the home county, and two judges from the other counties.

Two special committees of experienced Carbonell judges researched similar award programs across the country and made specific recommendations to the Board. In response, the Carbonell Awards revised overall production eligibility requirements and instituted a new scoring rubric in judging on-stage and back-stage achievements from which both the nominations and eventual award recipients will be determined. The scoring rubric is adapted from and with the permission of  the highly respected ariZoni Theatre Awards of Excellence.

In situations where the number of attending judges may vary—for example, unassigned judges can volunteer to see a show on their own—the point scores will be weighted for fairness. Based on the accumulated final results, the top six scoring recipients in each competitive category will be considered the nominees, and the nominee with the highest score will be declared the winner at the Carbonell Awards Ceremony.

For a complete outline of the new Production Eligibility Requirements, Carbonell Qualifications, Judging Process and Scoring Rubric, please visit our website at