SILVER PALM AWARD FOUNDERS:
Tony Finstrom (Executive Producer and Co-Founder) has worked in journalism in New York at “After Dark Magazine” and at “The Soho Weekly News.” He studied playwriting at New York’s Circle Repertory Company, at Primary Stages, and at Long Island’s Bay Street Theatre. He has worked at Circle Rep, Bay Street Theatre, Reckless Theatre Company (NYC), Playwrights’ Theatre of East Hampton (Long Island), the Oddfellows Playhouse (of the Hamptons) and, in Florida, at Brian C. Smith’s Off Broadway Theatre and The Public Theatre of South Florida, serving as Box Office, House and Company Manager, and in various other capaticites. He is an award winning playwright who founded his own theatre company in Fort Lauderdale, “Footlights Inc,” and is the Executive Producer and co-founder of South Florida’s Silver Palm Theatre Awards. The Theatre League of South Florida awarded him their 2006 Remy Award for outstanding service to the local theatre community, and a 2008 Silver Palm Award for his outstanding contribution to the 2008 South Florida Theatre Festival. The Mosaic Theatre named him a recipient of the Jack Zink Spirit Award for 2011, having “demonstrated excellence in the areas of leadership, creativity, commitment and passion for the arts.” Having previously spent many years on the boards of the South Florida International Press Club (as Vice President) and the Theatre League of South Florida (as Secretary), he currently serves as Carbonell Awards judge, and is a long time member of the Dramatists Guild of America.
Iris Acker (Co-Founder) is a working actress in theatre & films & television, and has produced, hosted, and promoted theatre on her T.V. show On Stage with Iris Acker for 25 years. Currently on BECON T.V, she co-hosts Spotlight on the Arts in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach County. Acker was the first Actors Equity Liaison for Florida and initiated The Equity Casting Hotline, which is now an Equity National feature. She also brought the half-price theatre ticket concept to South Florida, originally titled “Ticket Madness.” Acker directed the Carbonell Awards show for several years and has been nominated for Carbonells as well.
Ron Levitt (Co-Founder) is the Editor/theatre critic of Florida Media News and theatre critic for ENV Magazine, as well as a contributor to the Huffington Post and various national and syndicated state media. He is president of the South Florida International Press Club; past secretary of the local chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and is a free lance writer and theatre critic/columnist for a number of publications. Levitt served as Florida Assistant Secretary of State, overseeing Florida/s art and cultural affairs. A former United Press Staff Correspondent, he also founded Levitt Public Relations Group, which was one of the largest p. r. firms in Florida. He has served as president of the Dade Cultural Alliance, vice chairman of the Miami-Dade Cultural Affairs Council, Florida and Southeastern Chairman of the Public Relations Society of America and as president of both the French-American and European-American chambers of commerce. He also was vice president and is current adviser to the Theatre league of South Florida and is on the advisory board of WLRN Public Radio /Television, on the Executive Committee of the University of Miami Citizens Board, and is a member of the American Theatre Critics Association. A Carbonell judge for many years, Levitt also has taught creative writing at the University of Miami. He is a decorated former U.S. Naval Journalist, and was editor of the Marianas Eagle, a weekly newspaper named the best service publication by the Department of Defense.
THE NOMINATING COUNCIL / JOURNALISTS:
South Florida journalists who cover and review theatre, that have served on the Nominating Council, over the years, include the following. (Click on the names of the publications to view their individual online homes).
South Florida Gay News
The Miami Herald
Florida Media News
Palm Beach Daily News
*To view Nominating Council members for each year’s awards, please visit the individual awards page under “Recipients.”