South Florida Theatre Traditions Move Online

Julie Rowe and Cat Greenfield perform at last year's Carbonell Awards

This week brought a raft of news about some of the South Florida theatre world’s favorite traditions, which, like pretty much every gathering post-COVID, have moved online.

The 44th-annual Carbonell Awards, originally scheduled for April 6 in Lauderhill, will now take place virtually through the YouTube channel for Broward Center for the Performing Arts and simulcast on the Carbonell Awards’ Facebook page. The new date and time is 7:30 p.m. Aug. 3.

A historic first for a ceremony that has for decades brought the community together, face to face, for an impeccably dressed night celebrating its outstanding on- and offstage talent, the virtual ceremony will be produced by Carbonell-winning music director Caryl Fantel—who usually can be seen behind the piano as the awards are handed out. Details of the ceremony, such as how recipients will be able to accept their awards from a distance, are likely to appear in the coming weeks on the awards’ website.

This is inevitable but bittersweet news for me, as a Carbonell judge for whom this one night is the culmination of a year’s worth of attending and judging South Florida regional theatre. While I’ll miss the in-person camaraderie and the electric energy of Carbonell night, I’m thankful that 2019’s superlative performers, directors and technical talent will finally receive their (over)due.

In other stage news, the South Florida Theatre League’s Summer Theatre Fest, a staple during the off-season for the past six years, has also made the prudent decision to transition to a Quarantine Theatre Fest. Executive Director Andie Arthur has announced a slate of virtual activities to bring the theatre community together during July, while hopefully spurring fresh interest in the various theatre companies’ online initiatives.

The schedule includes:

• Corona Creatives and Chill, 7:30 p.m. July 1 via Zoom: A mini conference for theatre artists and administrators to discuss challenges related to the COVID-19 crisis. Free, but RSVP required.

• Power Dynamics in the Rehearsal Room, 2 p.m. July 11 via Zoom: Intimacy director Nicole Perry leads this workshop on best practices for consent and power dynamics when rehearsing intimate scenes.

• In the Room: Continuing Workshops Around Inclusion, TBA July 12 via Zoom: Christina Alexander leads two sessions around diversity, one for artistic directors and board members, the other on how artists can be good allies in the theatre community and beyond.

• Marketing to Diverse Audiences, 2 p.m. July 18 via Zoom: Willie Fernandez, whose Broadway production credits include “The Great Comet of 1812” and “American Son,” will discuss marketing theatre to audiences of color.

• Audition Workshop, all day July 19 via Zoom: The Theatre League’s most popular workshop moves online, with director Michael Leeds and Music Director Caryl Fantel assisting aspiring talent in honing their audition chops.

• Critics Forum, 2 p.m. July 24 via Zoom: Yours truly will be among the professional South Florida theatre critics at this discussion, aimed at fostering conversation between producers and the press.

• The Remy Awards, 7:30 p.m. July 27, streaming online: The Theatre League’s annual awards celebration honors the community’s unsung heroes.

Some events in the Quarantine Fest are free; others request a $10 donation. Visit the league’s website for details.

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