The South Florida Silver Palm Theatre Awards, founded eleven years ago to honor theatrical excellence in South Florida, has announced that this year it will present the coveted award to 30 individuals and organizations.
"The Silver Palm Awards are presented annually to those who've made an outstanding or unique contribution to South Florida Theatre," explained Silver Palm Awards Executive Producer Tony Finstrom. "There are no nominees, no winners or losers, and no limit to the number of citations given in any 'category,' though there really are no official categories."
"If we were all still in school, and report cards were issued at the end of the year, these are the names that would make up the honor role," Finstrom added. "We bestowed only 13 awards in our first season of existence. Last December, our tenth, we presented 28 of them, and this December we're giving out 30."
The awards are determined by a vote of the South Florida Theatre Press Corp, who Finstrom drafts each year into submitting nominations for outstanding contributions to South Florida Theatre. The votes are then tallied, from which a final list of recipients is determined.
Finstrom (a playwright), BECON TV talk show host Iris Acker, and Florida Media News critic Ron Levitt were the co-founders of this award, and they served on this year's Silver Palm Nominating Council. Miamiartzine.com editor and theater critic Michelle F. Solomon serves on the Silver Palm Nominating Council, as well, along with Christine Dolen (artburstmiami.com, Miami Herald, Sun-Sentinel), Hap Erstein (Palm Beach Post, and Palm Beach ArtsPaper.com), Bill Hirschman (FloridaTheaterOnStage.com, and FloridaWeekly.com), John Thomason (Boca Raton Magazine, and FloridaTheatreOnStage.com), J.W. Arnold (South Florida Gay News), Roger Martin (MiamiArtzine.com, and broadwayworld.com), Jeffrey Bruce (TalkinBroadway.com), and Mary Damiano (freelance theater journalist/critic).
Silver Palm Awards have been presented to over 200 individuals and/or groups during the previous ten theatre seasons, and the "2017-2018 Season" consisted of shows that opened between Sept. 1st, 2017 and Aug. 31, 2018.
"I'm happy to announce this year we're also including a new award named for one of our co-founders, Iris Acker, who passed away in September," Finstrom said. "And her son,Mitchell Acker, will be presenting it."
This year's awards ceremony and reception will be helmed by the Silver Palm Award-winning theatrical producer Matt May of Verve Central Productions and by Silver Palm Award-winning actor and celebrated party host Conor Walton. It will take place on Monday, December 10th, 2017, from 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM, at ArtServe, 1350 E. Sunrise Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Playwright/actor and previous winner of multiple Silver Palm Awards Michael McKeever will host the awards presentation, assisted by Silver Palm Award-winning actress/singer Leah Sessa.
Special thanks to ArtServe, The Addison, Daniel Events, Florida Trophy Center Inc., Amy Pasquantonio/Amatista Photography, and Jennifer McClain for their in-kind contributions to the evening's festivities.
Open to the public, there is a $20 advance reservation admission charge, or a $25 cash-only admission charge at the door.
For further information and/or reservations, visit: www.silverpalmawards.com.
The 2017-2018 Silver Palm Award recipients, in alphabetical order, are:
- Joseph Adler for his outstanding direction of "The Humans," "Gloria," "If I Forget," and "I'm Gonna Pray For You So Hard," at GableStage
- Clay Cartland for his outstanding performances in "Rock of Ages" and "Disaster"' at Slow Burn Theatre
- Jeffrey Cason, Jr., an outstanding new choreographer, for his work on "God's Trombones" at M Ensemble
- Christopher Demos-Brown for his outstanding new play "Wrongful Death and Other Circus Acts" at Zoetic Stage
- Patrick Fitzwater for his outstanding direction of "Memphis" and "The Bridges of Madison County" and his outstanding choreography for "Memphis," "The Secret Garden," and "Rock of Ages" at Slow Burn Theatre
- Sabrina Lynn Gore for her outstanding performance in "Next To Normal" at Infinite Abyss Productions and Measure for Measure Theatre
- Annelise Jensen for her outstanding performances in "The Bridges of Madison County" at Slow Burn Theatre, "Fun Home" at Zoetic Stage, "Once"at Actors' Playhouse, and 'I LLove You, You're Perfect, Now Change" at MNM Productions
- Rita Joe for her outstanding performances in "White Guy On the Bus" 'at GableStage and "Seven Guitars" at M Ensemble
- Kimmi Johnson for her outstanding performance in "Fun Home" at Zoetic Stage
- Jill Kratish for her outstanding commitment to, and programming of, regional work at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts
- Michael Leeds for his outstanding direction of 'White Guy On The Bus' at GableStage
- J. Barry Lewis for his outstanding direction of 'An Inspector Calls' at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre and 'EQUUS' at Palm Beach Dramaworks
- Bruce Linser for his outstanding performance in 'The Drowsy Chaperone' at The Wick Theatre, and for his outstanding direction of 'Woody Guthrie's American Song' at Palm Beach Dramaworks
- Mia Matthews for her outstanding performances in 'Hairspray' at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre, 'Hir' at Island City Stage, and 'The Revolutionists' at FAU's Theatre Lab
- Michael McClain for his outstanding set designs for 'Wrongful Death And Other Circus Acts,' 'Fun Home,' and 'Top Dog/under Dog' at Zoetic Stage, and 'Be Here Now' at FAU's Theate Lab
- Michael McKeever for his outstanding performance in 'Mr. Parker' at Island City Stage, and for his outstanding new plays 'Mr. Parker' at Island City Stage and 'The Camp' at the West Boca Theatre Company
- Stuart Meltzer for his outstanding direction of 'Fun Home,' 'wrongful Death And Other Circus Acts,' and 'Top Dog/under Dog' at Zoetic Stage
- Kim Ostrenko for her outstanding performance in 'Communion' at Primal Forces
- Palm Beach Dramaworks (awarded to the producer) for its outstanding 'Woody Guthrie's American Song' Ensemble, featuring: Jeff Raab, Sean Powell, Cat Greenfield, Don Noble, Julie Rowe, Joshua Lubben, Michael Lubben and Tom Lubben
- Elizabeth Price for her outstanding performance in 'The Accident' at Primal Forces, and her outstanding direction of 'Straight White Men' at Thinking Cap Theatre
- Nicholas Richberg for his outstanding performances in 'Billy And Me' at Palm Beach Dramaworks, and 'Fun Home' at Zoetic Stage
- John Rodaz for his outstanding direction of 'An Octoroon' and 'Cabaret,' and his outstanding set design for 'An Octoroon' at Area Stage
- Caleb Scott for his outstanding performance in 'Dancing Lessons' at Zoetic Stage
- Dawn C. Shamburger for her outstanding costume designs for 'The Revolutionists' at FAU's Theatre Lab
- Jessica Shulte for her outstanding performance in 'Constellations,' and her outstanding direction of 'ART' at New City Players
- Laura Turnbull for her outstanding performances in 'The Pink Unicorn' at Primal Forces, 'Be Here Now' at FAU's Theatre Lab, and 'Wrongful Death And Other Circus Acts' at Zoetic Stage
- Michael Ursua for his outstanding performances in 'La Cage Aux Folles' at MNM Productions and 'The Secret Garden' at Slow Burn Theatre, and for his outstanding musical direction of 'Zanna Don't' at Island City Stage and 'Memphis' at Slow Burn Theatre
- Tom Wahl for his outstanding performances in 'Billy And Me' at Palm Beach Dramaworks, and 'White Guy On The Bus' at GableStage
- Mike Westrich for his outstanding performances in 'Hedwig And The Angry Inch' at Outre Theatre, and 'Little Shop Of Horrors' at MNM Productions
- Iris Acker Award for sustained excellent work in South Florida Theatre to Stage Manager Suzanne Clement Jones