Some of South Florida theater’s shining stars



      Barbara Bradshaw (Photo by Steve Anthony)


Kelley Shanley (Photo by Jason Nuttle)



A theater production that a critic hailed as a “masterpiece,” a much-lauded performer, a nationally-renowned regional theater, and a performing arts center’s chief executive will each receive special honors during South Florida’s Carbonell Awards’ 2020 ceremony.

The annual ceremony, honoring top achievements in South Florida theater, will take place at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 3. You can watch it on the Broward Center for the Performing Arts YouTube channel, (

“The four winners of this year’s Carbonell Special Awards truly represent some of the finest talents in South Florida’s theatrical community, each with years of dedicated service elevating the art form,” said Carbonell Awards board president Donald R. Walters. “These extraordinary performers and presenters are particularly appreciated at a time when our theaters are dark, empty of audiences, illuminated by a single ghost light on stage, eagerly awaiting the eventual return of even more award-worthy productions and performances.”

The four special award recipients and the honors they will receive are:

  • Kelley Shanley will receive The George Abbott Award for Outstanding Achievement In The Arts.

    Shanley is President & CEO of the Broward Center for the Performing Arts. He has held this position since 2009, having served as the Center’s Executive VP/General Manager for the previous 10 years. During his tenure, Shanley led two successful capital campaigns to ensure a bright future for the performing arts in the region. A $60 million campaign completed in 2014 “transformed the Broward Center’s theaters and campus, solidifying its standing as one of the most-forward thinking performing arts entities in the nation—one that delivers some 700 performances a year and an economic South Florida impact estimated at $130 million,” according to LMG Publishing in a recent article. In addition, Shanley inttroduced a robust affiliated venues management program, bringing the infrastructure of the Center to support the cultural advancement of the region, and now is overseeing a $30 million renovation of the iconic Parker Playhouse. Shanley’s vision, to build community through the arts, led the dynamic growth of the Broward Center’s award-winning education programs, serving more than 3.2 million students to date. His collaborative style continues to build on successful arts partnerships with Broadway, opera, ballet, regional theater, and local performers, filling the stages with world-class programming and reflecting a commitment to the artistry of our local community.

    Each year, the Carbonell Awards sponsors the George Abbott Award for Outstanding Achievement In The Arts. It goes to an individual (or team) who has contributed significantly to the artistic and cultural development of the region. The award may be given for accomplishments within the year, or for a lifetime. Named after the legendary Broadway producer, The George Abbott Award is voted upon by former recipients, members of the Carbonell board of directors, and a cross-section of media, arts, and local cultural leaders.

    Previous winners of The George Abbott Award include playwright, actor  and scenic designer Michael McKeever, co-founder of Miami’s Zoetic Stage (2019); Gail Garrison, founding artistic director of City Theatre’s Summer Shorts Festival (2018); Kravis Center CEO Judith Mitchell (2016); and Shirley Richardson & Patricia E. Williams, the creative team behind the M Ensemble, Florida’s leading African-American theater company (2015)


  • Palm Beach Dramaworks will receive the Bill Von Maurer Award. The company has received a record-breaking 29 Carbonell Award nominations this season. Palm Beach Dramaworks is one of the premier cultural institutions in South Florida. The Wall Street Journal has called it one of the top ten regional theaters in the country.

The professional, not-for-profit company is committed to enhancing the quality of life “through the transformative power of live theatre.” Since its founding in 2000, PBD has delighted, touched, and inspired theatergoers with exceptional productions of a wide range of fascinating, thought-provoking works, from classic to contemporary to world premieres. The theater is also dedicated to developing new plays, and The Dramaworkshop has become a nurturing, creative environment for playwrights to cultivate their evolving work. The company continues to expand and diversify its audience through thoughtful and entertaining community engagement initiatives, and its robust educational programs are transforming the lives of students throughout the county. To date, Palm Beach Dramaworks has won more than 30 Carbonell Awards.

The Bill Von Maurer Award came into existence in 2006. The honor’s target is a theater company  that exemplifies excellence for the totality of its programming: productions, educational outreach, developmental programs and audiences served. Previous winners include City Theater in Miami (2015), Maltz Jupiter Theatre (2011), and Actors’ Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre in Coral Gables (2007).

  • Barbara Bradshaw will receive the Bill Hindman Award. Bradshaw has earned four Carbonell Awards for Best Actress and is a 17-time nominee.  She came to South Florida 45 years ago, found her theatre “home” and never returned to New York. She was a founding member of the Caldwell Theater company, where she performed in 47 different productions. With well over 200 shows nationwide on her resume (100+ here in South Florida), Bradshaw has appeared at many local theaters including Actors’ Playhouse, Palm Beach Dramaworks, Kravis Center, Florida Stage, Mosaic Theatre, Maltz Jupiter Theatre, and the much-missed Coconut Grove Playhouse. She has received the coveted Los Angeles Drama-Logue and The Silver Palm awards, and last year was honored by the Florida Professional Theater Association (FPTA) with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

The Bill Hindman Award’s namesake is a pioneer actor, theater director and producer. South Florida’s theater community established this award in 2000 to recognize contributions to South Florida theater development by an individual or group, for singular achievement and/or career contributions. Previous winners include actress and 10-time Carbonell nominee Harriet Oser (2015); veteran stage/film/TV performer Don McArt (2013); and Rafael De Acha, founder of the New Theatre in Coral Gables (2007).

  • The Amparo Experience will receive the Ruth Foreman Award. The Amparo Experience was an experienced theatrical journey in Downtown Miami that took the audience straight into the heart of one family’s fight for love, country, legacy, and the truth behind the real Havana Club Rum.Vanessa Garcia penned the piece while Victoria Collado staged it. A four-piece band accompanied. The production illustrated, in the words of critic Christine Dolen, “the particular power of immersive theater for those unafraid to jump in.”

The Ruth Foreman Award came into existence in 2000. Its namesake is a pioneer theater director and producer. The honor recognizes contributions to South Florida theater development by an individual or group, for singular achievement and/or career contributions. The Previous winners of The Ruth Foreman Award include Juggerknot Theatre Company for Miami Motel Stories (2019), Nicole Stodard for her role in the GAP Play Reading Series at Thinking Cap Theatre (2018), Florida Children’s Theatre in Fort Lauderdale (2016), and The Naked Stage for its annual event The 24-Hour Theatre Project (2014).

At the upcoming virtual awards ceremony, Carbonell Awards officials will present awards in 20 competitive categories, featuring 100 different nominations. Palm Beach Dramaworks earned 29 nominations overall, the most of any theater in the tri-county region. Meanwhile, downtown Miami’s Zoetic Stage received 20 nominations. That is the most for any theater in Miami-Dade County. Also, Slow Burn Theatre Company in Fort Lauderdale earned 12 nominations. That’s the most of any theater in Broward County. Out of more than 80 shows that opened in 2019 at regional theaters, 62 were eligible for nominations.

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

The Carbonell Awards’ namesake is internationally-renowned sculptor Manuel Carbonell. He 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. For more information, visit


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