Awards / Acclaim

Best Show You Did Not See 2017
Florida Theater on Stage

Carbonell Nomination
"Best Actor"
Gregg Weiner


"Top 10 Shows of
2016 Award
Our Lady Of 121st Street

Florida Theater on Stage
(John Thomason)

Best Show You Did Not See 2015
Florida Theater on Stage
Up & Comer
Robert Johnston

Florida Theater on Stage
Silver Palm Awards
New Talent 2015"
Robert Johnston


Best Ensemble 2011 Nomination

Top 12 Notable Performers 2010
Arturo Rossi

Florida Media News
Theatre Visionary
Award 2010
Arturo Rossi

"Season of the Arts"
Top 20 Artists
Under 40 2010
Arturo Rossi

Miami Herald

“Ground Up & Rising's First Short Feature Film "Observe"
was honored as an official selection of the 2010 Cannes Film Festival
Festival de Cannes

Best Director
You Didn’t See 2009
Arturo Rossi
Best Show
You Didn’t See 2009

Best Actor
You Didn’t See 2009
Arturo Rossi

“For the second year in a row, the winning entry comes from Ground Up and Rising, the shoestring troupe in Miami that mounted the stunning On an Average Day; also home to the best acting and direction you didn't see awards, both going to Arturo Rossi.”
 - Bill Hirschman, Sun-Sentinel (The best and worst on South Florida stages in '09)

Best of Miami
Best Actor 2009
Meshaun Labrone Arnold

Miami New Times

“Meshaun Labrone Arnold both wrote and starred in The Hate U Gave, but the piece had little
of the self-indulgent flab most writer/actors can't bring themselves to shear from their own work.
His acting and writing were wise, while his subject – and character – was just a savant: a man
who saw the whole world clearly except for his own place in it. Watching Arnold, as Tupac, rage
against the chasms that divide us (by gender, class, or anything else, but especially by race) –
even as he bore helpless witness to his own inability to do anything but widen them –
was to see right into the hidden heart of alienation. Arnold's tense, kinetic body
and tortured face were pictographs, notating its cost.”
-  Brandon K. Thorp, Miami New Times ("Best of Miami 2009")

Best of Miami
Best Supporting Actress 2009
Lela Elam

Miami New Times

“This award could easily have gone to a dozen other actors from Judas Iscariot,
whose characters were as big, bright, and sharply drawn as only a three-hour play with
an almost perfect cast can allow. But Lela Elam brought it with an intensity rare even for her
(which is saying something), as she played both an eternally grieving mother and Saint Monica.
Her mother bit was moving, subtle, fragile, almost silent, but her Saint Monica was another
thing entirely. Monica was the driving force of the play – an enactment of a long-overdue trial
for Judas Iscariot, begun because Monica believes Iscariot got a bad rap – and she was entirely credible: a personality of such blazing force that you figure, yeah, she could totally reverse
a divine judgment. In a single breath, she was bawdy in an entirely 21st-century, hip-hop
kind of way; hilarious; trenchant; and scary. It was a hard part that Elam handled
with relish. An actress this good probably has a difficult time finding roles worth
sinking her teeth into. Thank heavens for Guirgis.
-  Brandon K. Thorp, Miami New Times ("Best of Miami 2009")

Best of Theater 2008

“The Hate U Gave at Ground Up & Rising in Miami... Meshaun Labrone Arnold's performance as doomed rapper Tupac Shakur was mesmerizingly profane and threatening, seductive and sophisticated. Arnold's bare-bones script was immeasurably elevated by Arturo Rossi's imaginative staging: a fantasia of obscenity-laced raps and rants examining the good intentions, tragic results and destructive hypocrisy living at the intersection of race, art and pop culture.”
- Bill Hirschman, Sun-Sentinel (South Florida's 2008 theater season's most memorable moments)

Best of Classical Music 2008
Miami Herald

“Project Copernicus joined the acting troupe Ground Up & Rising in
an affecting commemoration of the fifth anniversary of the Iraq War..”
- Miami Herald staff report (The year in review:Classical Music)


Best Of Miami 2008
Best Supporting Actor
Sheaun McKinney

Miami New Times

“Sheaun McKinney is one of the finest actors in South Florida, his take on Austin
Judge a breathing testament to human dignity and sweetness. When he cries after
an argument with his sister, he cries — tears, snot, the whole works.”
- Brandon K. Thorpe, Broward New Times Review of “A House With No Walls”

Best of Theater

Miami New Times

“After watching his turn as a puling slave in the excruciating House with No Walls,
we thought we had Sheaun McKinney figured. He was a cute, skinny kid, good
for grabbing the heartstringsand little else. Our mistake. As a prison guard named
Valdez in Ground Up & Rising's Jesus Hopped the A-Train, he wasn't onstage a minute
before the mean temperature in the auditorium dropped 10 degrees. He didn't want to
rough up his charges, as the script might have suggested; he wanted to kill them.
That desire, unspoken and undeniable, was almost certainly the actor's own innovation.
At least when he was onstage, McKinney really was full of hate, inspiring in viewers a
creeping uneasiness and a sense they were sitting too close to an explosion waiting to happen.
- Brandon K. Thorp, Miami New Times (2007: The Moments in Review)

Best of Performing Arts 2006
Miami Herald

“Small companies made a big artistic impact in 2006, demonstrating
yet again that talent, taste and creativity can compensate for meager funding.
Standout companies included … Miami's Ground Up & Rising ….”
- Christine Dolen, Miami Herald Theatre Critic