Silver Palm Awards Sets 2019 Ceremony Date And Seeks Sponsors
The 2018-2019 Silver Palm Awards will be presented on Monday, November 4, 2019 at ArtServe, in Ft. Lauderdale. This year marks the 12th annual distribution of the awards, established in 2007 to honor outstanding contributions to theatre in the region by playwright Tony Finstrom, actress/talk show host Iris Acker, and theatre critic Ron Levitt.
For the first twelve years, the trophies themselves were anonymously donated by Finstrom, who served as the Executive Producer for those years. A consistent patron and devout advocate of local theatre, Finstrom, who passed away in December, left a trust to help fund the awards and local theatre companies, in the hope that theatre would continue to flourish in South Florida.
"Tony loved the South Florida theatre community," said award-winning playwright Michael McKeever, "and he made sure his love would continue after he was gone." Andy Rogow, award-winning Artistic Director of Island City Stage, echoed McKeever's sentiments saying "Tony left Michael, Matt, and I the honor of continuing his legacy, and we are determined to do so, in a manner that reflects Tony's personality and grace." Both McKeever and Rogow, along with Matt May, of Verve Central Productions, all past Silver Palm Award recipients, comprise the Administrative Committee, with May serving as Executive Producer of the awards.
May, who co-produced the past two year's awards ceremonies and receptions, will again produce this year's event, and the multi-talented, multi-Silver Palm Award-winning actor/playwright/designer/"host with the most," Michael McKeever, will again emcee the ceremony. Past Silver Palm Award recipient Conor Walton, who co-produced last year's event, is serving as producer of the post-ceremony reception which he, along with his husband and theatre philanthropist, Mark Traverso, are sponsoring.
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"The Silver Palm Awards mean so much to our theatre community, recognizing outstanding contributions made each season," says May. "And I'm very excited to once again produce this year's event, carrying on Tony's legacy. ArtServe continues to be a wonderful partner, as does Conor, who never fails to give every event an added flair.
Finstrom was annually quoted as saying "(t)he Silver Palm Awards are presented annually to those who've made an outstanding or unique contribution to South Florida theatre. There are no nominees, no winners or losers, and no limit to the number of citations given. It's one of the biggest yearly networking parties for our theatre community and, from my point of view, it's so entertaining to watch everyone come together and have a great time, while they celebrate some amazing work."
With the passing of Acker in September, 2018, Finstrom created the first annual "Iris Acker Award for Sustained Excellent Work in South Florida Theatre," last year. This year, May, McKeever, and Rogow are initiating an annual award in Finstrom's name. Sponsors are sought for these two awards. Interested parties should contact May, via SilverPalmAwards@gmail.com.
The names of the recipients of this year's Silver Palm Awards, submitted by the Nominating Committee, comprised of theatre journalists of Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties, will be announced in late September (covering the season designated from September 1st, 2018 to August 31st, 2019), along with details about reservations for this event.