Theatre League Celebrates Theatrical Community’s Unsung Heroes With Remy Awards

SFTcleagueaThe South Florida Theatre League has announced its 2014 Remy Awards recognizing outstanding service and pioneering efforts in the development of the arts in the region.

The number of awards this year has been expanded from six to eight, all recognizing members of the theatrical community who are not usually recognized by more traditional artistic awards such as the Carbonell Awards.

This year the recipients include patrons, a newspaper critic, a technical director, a force behind community theater, a politician and founders of a children’s theater.

“We are honored to be able to present these awards to people who are such important members or our community,” says League President Christopher Jahn. “These are individuals whose contributions are absolutely key to the success of our theatres and productions, yet they often go unrecognized. This is our opportunity to say ‘thank you’.”

Theaters and theater producers were asked to nominate individuals they felt were deserving of recognition, and a League committee was tasked with choosing the winners. The awards are named in honor of Remberto Cabrera, the former Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs’ Senior Cultural Administrator and Chief of Cultural Development.

The Remy Awards will be given out – along with the separate Silver Palm Awards – at the Theatre League’s Holiday Party at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 1 at STACHE, 109 South West Second Avenue in Fort Lauderdale. Admission is $25 for non-League members; there is no charge for League members in good standing.

For further information about the League and The Remy Awards, contact Executive Director Andie Arthur at 954-557-0778 and/or visit the South Florida Theatre League website at

This year’s recipients are:

The Pioneer Award – Paul Tei – Mad Cat Theatre Company

The Pioneer Award is bestowed upon individuals who have, over the years, taken the lead and contributed substantially to the health, growth and development of the South Florida theater community.

Tei is a playwright, actor, director, designer and founder of Mad Cat Theatre Company. As he has stated, “To be safe and create art is a lie. There should be no separation from the art and the artist as well as the action on stage and the spectator. Theatre is a dialogue of deconstruction and within its limitlessness lie the key to a wide spectrum of illuminations.”

Under his leadership, Mad Cat has earned a reputation for exceptional and unique theatre, and has received countless awards in every year of the company’s existence and innumerable accolades. He has directed almost every one of the productions, wrote or co-wrote many of its plays, added design elements to all of them, and acted in some.

He has also directed in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Nevada, New Hampshire, Vermont, Manchester, the United Kingdom and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland. He has guest directed at many other South Florida theatre companies including Mosaic Theatre, The Naked Stage, GableStage and City Theatre. His acting credits, which include his current stand in MTC’s Hedda Gabler, have been recognized with five Carbonell awards. His television credits include: American Horror Story, Franklin & Bash, CSI Miami, Disney’s Zeke & Luther. His most notable was the continuing role as Barry the money launderer on Burn Notice.

The Service Award – Christine Dolen – Miami Herald

The Service Award is given to either individuals or organizations in recognition of their invaluable and outstanding contributions made through time, talent, service, and expertise by taking the initiative and actively participating and contributing to the growth and development of the South Florida Theatre League.

Dolen has been the Miami Herald’s theater critic since 1979. “She has earned the respect of the entire theatrical community, not to mention her peers,” a news release stated. In 1997, she was a member of the Pulitzer Prize drama jury, and in 1999, she was a senior fellow in the National Arts Journalism Program at Columbia University. She is a member of the American Theatre Critics Association, and she was recently named as one of the top 12 influential theatre critics in the nation by American Theatre magazine.

The League’s news release stated, “Her reviews, articles and blog posts are highly anticipated; a pre-show article, a selection as a Pick of the Week or even a mention in one of her columns can do wonders for a production. Christine’s reviews are thoughtful and thought-provoking, and have consistently inspired theatres, companies, and performers to strive to meet the standards she expects from them. Her genuine passion and love for theatre is evident in all she does; her dedication to the South Florida Theatrical community is deep – and deeply appreciated.”

The Civic Arts Leadership Award – Lois Frankel

The Civic Arts Leadership Award is a new award given to individuals in public service who have significantly supported the arts.

Frankel has been a lifelong patron of the arts. As mayor of West Palm Beach, she recruited the Palm Beach International Photographic Museum, and helped facilitate the creation of the Ann & Don Brown Theatre where Palm Beach Dramaworks performs. She was a key participant in the revitalization of the downtown district – fueled by cultural events and the addition of performance and exhibition space at the Waterfront Pavilion. As mayor, she sought opportunities to bring the arts to the city. The news release stated, “The 70 new businesses she recruited to downtown added a new vitality to the city, and that vitality is due at least in part to the positive impact of the arts in the area.” She has long been a strong supporter of the Bak Middle School of the Arts, arts education in general and the NEA.

The Jay Harris Arts Leadership Award – Kathy and Joe Savarese – Maltz Jupiter Theatre

Named in memory of one of South Florida’s most dedicated arts patrons, this new award honors those who have made a substantial contribution to the theatrical community in the ways that Jay Harris did – through leadership, on-going volunteerism and financial support.

Kathy and Joe Savarese have played an integral role in the success of the Maltz Jupiter Theatre. The news release stated, “Not only have they generously supported the theatre since 2006, but they have also touched the hearts of many, and contributed to the awareness of the magic and charm the theatre brings to the local community. Their commitment has helped shape artistic excellence in our community for generations to come.” The Savareses’ have sponsored a major production each year for the past five years and consistently support all major events. “Their contributions have created opportunities for the entire region to not only experience the arts live, up close and in person, but to inspire, educate, and entertain. Thanks to their hands-on commitment and financial support, the Maltz Jupiter Theatre has achieved recognition for artistic excellence. The Savares’ enthusiasm, passion, and outstanding presence at every event, every show, and every theatre milestone is truly what makes them deserving of this award,” the news release stated.

Outstanding Board Member – Steven M. Weinger, Esq. – GableStage

GableStage Board of Directors President Steve Weinger is recognized for his litigation on behalf of individuals with developmental disabilities. Yet while maintaining his practice, Weinger donates significant time to a number of not-for-profit organizations, including cultural and educational institutions, advocacy groups for the disabled, and non-profit health care providers. His contributions to GableStage include being a driving force behind raising funds to co-produce Tarell Alvin McCraney’s production of Anthony and Cleopatra with The Royal Shakespeare Company in London and The Public Theatre in New York. “Steve Weinger has been the best president of our Board of Directors in the 16 years that I’ve been at GableStage,” wrote Producing Artistic Director Joe Adler. “He’s an attorney with a full practice – and yet he always makes time for my issues and concerns. His advice and counsel are invaluable – and I know I can always count on him.”

Outstanding Contributor to Children’s Theater – John and Maria Rodaz – Area Stage Company

Although Area Stage had been a well-known theatre production company staging professional productions for many years, in 2009 Maria and John Rodaz decided to create an acting conservatory for children and young adults that would carry all the rigors of a professional company. The news release stated, “Area Stage’s conservatory program regularly produces student productions of the highest quality. Being part of these productions allows students to learn a high level of professionalism which takes them far when they graduate and leave the program, or branch out to perform outside of Area Stage even while still training there.” Area Stage has also instituted a program of scholarships for young actors that do not have the financial means to pay conservatory rates.

Outstanding Contributor to Community Theater – Alvin Entin – Pembroke Pines Theatre of the Performing Arts (PPTOPA)

Alvin E. Entin’s service to community theatre in general, and to Pembroke Pines Theatre of the Performing Arts in particular, “has been continuous, persistent, and exemplary,” the news release stated. As chairman of the board of PPTOPA for 17 years, Entin has been one of the guiding lights of the company. He forged the agreement with the City of Pembroke Pines which enabled PPTOPA to maintain a healthy financial outlook, and remains on the Liaison Committee to the city. Entin chaired the PPTOPA play selection committee from the beginning. He has been the company’s principal fundraiser, marketer, and legal counsel. He is also the face of PPTOPA, maintaining the company’s ticket booth at all productions. Alvin has served as an actor, assistant director and/or director, as well as artistic consultant on numerous productions. “His high standards are reflected in the company’s productions, which are judged by critics and professionals in the area to be far beyond the normal perception of community theater,” the release stated.

Outstanding Behind the Scenes Contributor – Gene Seyffer – Actors’ Playhouse

Gene Seyffer has been a behind the scenes man at Actors’ Playhouse nearly 20 years. Though he has designed sets here and there when called upon, his primary focus has been as Technical Director (which includes overseeing the scene shop) – making sure production design elements are linked together and built just right. He and his team of behind the scenes builders and technical personnel at the theater and in the shop constantly work under extreme pressure and deadlines. Some of Gene’s rewarding technical challenges have included August Osage County, Miss Saigon, 1776 and Les Miserables. The job of a technical director can be a thankless one, and mostly unknown and unappreciated by the general public, but all who work in theatre know this job is critical to making a production work.   Gene holds a MFA in Theatrical Design and Production from Northwestern University.

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