By Bill Hirschman, FloridaTheaterOnStage.com, for SouthFloridaReporter.com, Dec. 30, 2015 – 2015 produced a wild variety of snapshots to paste in the theatrical scrapbooks: a male Dolly Levi, a possibly homicidal dimwit slicing carrots, the heartbreaking consequence of passing on gay marriage, an unhinged kidnapper forcing her captives to learn nonsense, Ali MacGraw and Ryan O’Neal taking on live stage drama, a tsunami engulfing a Japanese village, theaters moving into stages an entire county away from their first venues, a green-gunked survivor of toxic sludge singing love songs to his blind librarian girlfriend. You know, just another year for regional theater in South Florida.
But for a region still fighting a long-ago debunked national perception of mediocrity and timidity, South Florida once again earned a reputation for risk-taking artistically and financially. Sometimes the bets paid off; sometimes they didn’t. But no one can argue that region did not flush away any sense of being a moribund dusty theatrical museum.
What follows are some of the outstanding, notable, interesting, off-the-wall or just plain intriguing work that was done – perhaps an entire evening, perhaps just a moment, plus trends, triumphs and tragedies. Caveats: This roster is not just subjective but woefully incomplete; don’t feel slighted if you’re not on the list. And importantly, as a Carbonell Awards judge, let me underscore that this in no way represents what I will be voting for or even campaigning for with other judges; the Carbonell criteria I use often is different than what this list represents. This is a just a smattering of what stuck to the roof of my brain.