Grove's Mittleman-Awarded Carbonell's George Abbott Honor

Carbonell Awards president Leslie J. Feldman announced Coconut Grove Playhouse producing artistic director Arnold Mittelman as the recipient of the 2006 George Abbott Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Arts, at the Carbonell program's annual Nominee and Sponsors' gala reception at Barton G's restaurant on South Beach.

 The announcement was made to an invited crowd of about 150 at the awards' annual private gala for nominees, sponsors, voting panel members and program officials, hosted by restaurateur Barton G. Weiss at South Beach's hottest hospitality address. Mittelman will be officially honored along with other award recipients at the the 30th annual award ceremonies on Monday, April 10 at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts.

 The ceremonies will be hosted by stage, film and TV star Florence Henderson.  Joining her will be Gary Sandy, whose "WKRP In Cincinnati" TV highlight is flanked by over 70 Broadway, off-Broadway and national theater appearances (and the Oscar-nominated film "The Insider.")   Also on hand will be Carbonell Award-winner and Tony Award nominee John Herrera, the Fort Lauderdale Gay Men's Chorus, and other performers to be announced. Nationally renowned band leader Peter Graves is music director.

 Presenters include former Carbonell Award Best Actress Lucie Arnaz, star of the Grove's current "Sonia Flew," plus Broadway veteran Patricia Conolly of the Parker Playhouse's current "About Time," legendary theater impresario Zev Buffman and many more.

 The Abbott Award, Feldman told the Barton G audience, is the 30-year-old Carbonell program's highest individual honor. Mittelman has been the Grove Playhouse's artistic mentor and producer for the last 21 of its 50 years as a live theater, sustaining and building its national and international recognition. Last autumn, Mittelman and the Grove board of directors partnered with the Broward Center for the Performing Arts to bring the Grove's entire regional theater season to Fort Lauderdale's Parker Playhouse. The Grove recently committed to extending the twin-city residency through 2007 and beyond.

 The award is voted upon by former Abbott Award recipients, the current Carbonell board of directors, and members of the South Florida Critics Circle representing newspapers, magazines and other journalistic media from Miami through the Palm Beaches.

 Previous recipients of the award, named after legendary Broadway director, playwright and producer George Abbott, span the hierarchy of South Florida culture from concert impresaria Judy Drucker, Florida Philharmonic Orchestra maestro James Judd, Miami Film Festival founder Nat Chediak, theater producer-actress Jan McArt, Miami City Ballet founder Toby Ansin and artistic director Edward Villella, to Miami Book Fair founder Mitchell Kaplan.

 The April 10 award ceremony will include music from the Best Musical nominees in a special arrangement by the Peter Graves Orchestra. Guest Star Sandy will highlight Best Play nominees in a special "Critic's Notebook" dramatization. The Fort Lauderdale Gay Men's Chorus will  bring the house down with a 75-voice finale, with orchestra, from the Elton John-Tim Rice musical "Aida." The year's artistic highlights will be covered further in song and parody by Henderson and South Florida's most divine divas.

 This special anniversary edition traces the development of South Florida's theater community back to its beginnings while celebrating today's red-hot theatrical scene with 45 shows at 16 different theaters up for awards. The competition this year is more fierce than ever before since additional blockbusters were eligible thanks to an extended voting period that added four extra months of performances to  accommodate a change from judging during the traditional theatrical season to a normal calendar year.

 In addition to honoring shows at regional theaters, awards will also be made in the new stock/road show category and include awards for Hairpspray, Tuesdays with Morrie, Elaine Stritch in At Liberty, Chicago, The King and I, The Constant Wife and two separate productions of Anna in the Tropics.

One of the most anticipated events of the theatrical season, the Carbonell Awards are South Florida's oldest and most prestigious arts honors, citing the best shows and performances in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties. 

 The event is a benefit to raise college scholarships for South Florida students studying performing arts and journalism.  Nearly $100,000 has been awarded since the program began in 1975.

The award ceremony is presented by the Broward Performing Arts Center Foundation, The Broward Center for the Performing Arts, Charles Cinnamon, Jay Harris, Playbill Magazine and Barton G. Weiss.  Sponsors and patrons include American Express, The Manuel Carbonell family, CitiBank, Jerome J. Cohen, Tony Finstrom, G-Four Productions, The Kravis Center for the Performing Arts and Michael McKeever.

Tickets are $50 and $75 and are available through the Broward Center's AutoNation Box Office at 954/462-0222 or .

 The Broward Center for the Performing Arts is located in the Riverwalk Arts & Entertainment District at 201 SW Fifth Avenue in Fort Lauderdale.  Ivan's Keyboard Collection, Marriott Hotels, El Dorado Furniture, TAM Brazilian Airlines, Mercedes Benz of Fort Lauderdale, Spirit Airlines, Humana, Pepsi and A Family Limousine are proud supporters of the Broward Center.  All dates, programs and artists are subject to change.

 The Broward Center for the Performing Arts is a founding partner in the Riverwalk Arts & Entertainment District, South Florida's most exciting destination for arts, culture shopping and dining.  The Riverwalk Arts & Entertainment District connects more than180 unique shops and restaurants with the Museum of Art / Fort Lauderdale, Florida Grand Opera, Concert Association of Florida, Old Fort Lauderdale Village & Museum and Historic Stranahan House along a 1.5 mile waterfront setting.

 Come for the Sun and Stay for the Stars in the Riverwalk Arts & Entertainment District, Downtown Fort Lauderdale.  For more information, or to receive your free copy of the 2005/06 Riverwalk A&E: Arts & Entertainment District Guide, visit  The Riverwalk Arts & Entertainment District is supported by the Broward County Board of County Commissioners as recommended by the Broward Cultural Council and the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau.

 Presentations at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts are sponsored in part by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, the Florida Arts Council, and the National Endowment for the Arts.  Support is also contributed by the Broward Performing Arts Foundation, Inc.  Student performances are presented in partnership with the School Board of Broward County, Florida through the Student Enrichment in the Arts (SEAS) Program.


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