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Carbonell Awards Announces Expanded Team Of Judges For 2022-2023 Theater Season

Carbonell Awards Announces Expanded Team Of Judges For 2022-2023 Theater Season

Gary Schweikhart, president of the Carbonell Awards, South Florida's most highly coveted recognition of theatrical and performance excellence, today announced the nonprofit organization's expanded team of judges for the 2022-2023 theater season, including seven new judges.

"We have an outstanding panel of 35 experienced judges, many of whom have been working with the Carbonell Awards for years, but also seven 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 2022-2023

Broward County

+ Jerry Arbella (Wilton Manors) has been active in theater his entire life, from his early years through college in the Philippines, to his later years in Washington, D.C. and South Florida. He has been an actor, playwright, and arts journalist, and has served as a volunteer at both the Broward Center for the Performing Arts and Island City Stage.

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

+ Noah Cuellar (Fort Lauderdale) received his theater training in Illinois where he was a former member of the Chicago Latino Theatre Company. Both an actor and director, he has worked at such venues as the Court Theatre, Drury Lane Dinner Theatre, Opera Factory, Remains Theatre, and Stage 11; film/TV credits include Chicago, Losing Isiah, and Above the Law. **

+ 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 Herald, Sun-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. She is currently the theater reviewer for The Palm Beach Daily News.

+ 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 theater, he and is constantly looking for ways to bring theater 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 theater 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.

+ Mike Jeknavorian (Tamarac) is a featured columnist for Hot Spots Magazine and a staff writer/critic for OutClique Magazine. He has previously worked as a costume designer for Stage Works and assistant stage manager for Busch Gardens, both based in Tampa; a wardrobe assistant at the Hartford Stage Company in Connecticut; and a dresser for the Roundabout Theater Company in NYC. **

+ 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.

+ Greg Schuh (Tamarac) is an actor, director, teacher, dance and choreographer who has worked from California to New York, including directing shows for Playwrights Center of San Francisco, California Conservatory Theatre and the Palo Alto Players. He holds an MFA Degree in Acting from the University of Connecticut and attended the Lincoln Center Theatre's Directors Lab-West. **

+ David Simson (Pompano Beach) is a veteran director with a passion for theatre. He has directed multiple musicals (Chicago, Pippin, West Side Story), plus plays like Endgame, The Shadow Box, and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead at Lake Worth Playhouse's black box theater, and A Class Act at the Mizner Cultural Arts Center. **

+ 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 theater 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 Theater 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) was Chairman of the Board of the Players State Theatre Conservatory and served sequentially on Boards of its successor, the inaugural Coconut Grove Playhouse, as well as New Theatre, City Theatre and the short- lived Skyline Theatre Company. An editor and journalist specializing in the arts, interior design, architecture and travel, he is a former president of both the South Florida International Press Club and Interior Design Guild of South Florida.

+ Alice M. Billman (North Miami) is an experienced producer, director, and choreographer. Among her successful efforts are Arts for Healing, where she curated speakers and performances related to the healing arts; Heroes Unite, a nonprofit arts and cultural organization targeting underserved communities in Miami; and a July 4th event at the University of Miami where she auditioned, rehearsed and trained more than 500 performers. Billman also launched MMT (Mobile Micro Theatre) by converting a 65-passenger school bus into a 30-seat black box theater; co-produced Sweet & Sour Salsa, an award-winning feature documentary; and served as crew chief for Disney Entertainment for the Joe Robbie Stadium Superbowl XXIII field show in 1989. She has also performed on stages around the world, including La Mama (Tokyo), Le Salle D'etoile (Monaco), Madison Square Garden (New York), and locally at The Colony, The Filmore, The Adrian Arsht Center, The Amaturo, and The Olympia.

+ 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) was theater 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 theater 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 theater 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 Theater 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 Theater 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 theater 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.

+ Barbara Bradshaw (Delray Beach), a 17-time Carbonell Award nominee and four-time winner, has been a professional actress for more than 50 years. She also is the recipient of the Carbonell's Bill Hindman Award (2020), FPTA Lifetime Achievement Award (2019), and Best Actress Award winner for Los Angeles Dramalogue and the Silver Palm Awards. **

+ 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. In 2022, he received the Carbonell's prestigious Charlie Cinnamon Award.

+ Allen H. Jones (West Palm Beach) is a 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.

+ Dale King (Greenacres) is an award-winning newspaper reporter and critic in both Rhode Island and Florida. He currently writes for such publications as Palm Beach Arts Paper and South Florida Theatre Magazine. **

+ Christine LeShay (Delray Beach) began her career in 1993 as stage manager and sound technician for the Quest Theatre & Institute in West Palm Beach, later making her acting debut under the artistic direction of Bhetty Waldron. She is a playwright and owner/artistic director of A.C.T.S. of Life Productions and has served as a volunteer at Bob Carter's Actors' Workshop & Repertory Company. **

+ 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.

+ 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 theaters 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 Zorba and A Little Night Music at Palm Beach Dramaworks, The Fantasticks and Shout at the Winter Park Playhouse, The Devil's Music at Arts' Garage, Company for 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 Elyria for Celebrity Cruise Lines.

+ Jan Sjostrom (Boca Raton) spent 28 years as cultural editor and theater reviewer for The Palm Beach Daily News before retiring in 2021.

The Carbonell Awards fosters the artistic growth of professional theater in South Florida by celebrating the diversity of our theater artists, providing educational scholarships, and building audience appreciation and civic pride by highlighting achievements of our theater community. More than 20 professional theater companies in Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties participate in the awards process every year. The Carbonell Awards also celebrate the accomplishments of local artistic leaders by presenting several Special Awards.

Along with New York's Drama Desk and Chicago's Joseph Jefferson Awards, the Carbonell Awards are among the nation's senior regional arts awards and predate others, including Washington, D.C.'s Helen Hayes Awards. The Carbonell Awards are named after Manuel Carbonell, an internationally-renowned sculptor, who designed the original solid bronze and marble award in 1976, the signature trophy that is given annually to Carbonell Award winners. Over the last 45 years, the Carbonell family has donated more than $250,000 in awards. For more information, please visit

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