"I've wanted another one of these for so long," a gracious Lela Elam said last night as she accepted the Carbonell Award for Best Actress in a Play for her work in GableStage's Ruined. "I think they just look better as a set."
For Elam, who won a Carbonell in 2008 for GableStage's In the Continuum, it was a brief moment of levity in an otherwise tearful and moving acceptance speech -- and she wasn't the only actor to struggle to keep her composure.
Emotions also flew when Elena Maria Garcia, in something of an upset, accepted Best Supporting Actress in a Play for her portrayal of a cleaning lady who no habla inglés in Zoetic Stage's Moscow. "I think I'm going to vomit," said the visibly nervous Garcia, who later added, "Thank you for giving me the freedom to do whatever I needed to do with that mop."
Miami theaters were represented well at the Broward Center's Amaturo Theater during the Carbonells' fastest-moving, most entertaining ceremony in years. GableStage took home four statuettes, all for Ruined: Best Production of a Play, Best Director (Joseph Adler), Best Supporting Actor (Robert Strain), and the aforementioned Elam.
Zoetic Stage followed closely behind, winning three awards despite producing only two eligible shows all year: Best New Work, for Michael McKeever's Moscow; Best Actor in a Play, for Tom Wahl in I Am My Own Wife; and Garcia's win for Moscow.
Margaret M. Ledford won Naked Stage's only well-deserved Carbonell of the night, for her moody lighting in the theater's production of The Turn of the Screw.
But I'm burying the lead for the sake of Miami readers. The number one winner at last night's ceremony was, once again, the Maltz Jupiter Theater, which took home every single award in the Musicals categories, winning for all three of its major song-and-dance spectacles: Hello, Dolly!, The Music Man, and Cabaret. After accepting two Carbonell Awards for both Dolly and The Music Man ("I feel like Meryl Streep!" he announced during his second acceptance speech), out-of-town actor Matt Loehr performed the most rousing of the night's five musical performances with an exhilarating rendition of The Music Man's "Ya Got Trouble," reminding us of just how a powerhouse production can turn a familiar chestnut into something new and exciting.
Poor Actors' Playhouse came back with a goose egg the day after Easter, which is a shame considering the fine work it did all last year, but Maltz has become the 1927 Yankees of regional theater, and its strong showing will hopefully continue to raise the standards for the companies around it. Here's the full list of winners.
Best New Work (play or musical)
Moscow, Michael McKeever, Zoetic Stage
Best Production of a Play
Joseph Adler, Ruined, GableStage
Tom Wahl, I Am My Own Wife, Zoetic Stage
Lela Elam, Ruined, GableStage
Best Supporting Actor/Play
Robert Strain, Ruined, GableStage
Best Supporting Actress/Play
Elena Maria Garcia, Moscow, Zoetic Stage
Best Production of a Musical
The Music Man, Maltz Jupiter Theatre
Marsha Milgrom Dodge, Hello Dolly!, Maltz Jupiter Theatre
Matt Loehr, The Music Man, Maltz Jupiter Theatre
Vicki Lewis, Hello Dolly!, Maltz Jupiter Theatre
Best Supporting Actor/Musical
Matt Loehr, Hello Dolly!, Maltz Jupiter Theatre
Best Supporting Actress/Musical
Angie Radosh, Cabaret, Maltz Jupiter Theatre
Anne Shuttlesworth, The Music Man, Maltz Jupiter Theatre
Shea Sullivan, The Music Man, Maltz Jupiter Theatre
Best Scenic Design/play or musical
Michael Amico, Talley's Folly, Palm Beach Dramaworks
Best Lighting Design/play or musical
Margaret M. Ledford, The Turn of the Screw, The Naked Stage
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Best Costume Design/play or musical
Jose M. Rivera, The Music Man, Maltz Jupiter Theatre
Best Sound Design/play or musical
Matt Corey, The Birds, Mosaic Theatre
Best Ensemble Production (play or musical)
Rumors, Broward Stage Door