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Personal Best Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach 2004 - Louis Tyrrell

Age: 53

Hometown: New York City

Claim to fame: Founder and producing director of the acclaimed Florida Stage

What he's done for us lately: The Florida Stage has stuck by its guns for 17 years, producing quality new stage works with professionalism. No tired revivals of Arsenic and Old Lace or The Glass Menagerie, no janitors stumbling on as walk-ons, no costumes from Kmart. Spots are hit, lines are spoken on cue, and the company does its damnedest to grapple with the issues that contemporary playwrights are brooding upon. This year, Tyrrell, a hands-on theater man all the way, directed local playwright Michael McKeever's macabre Running with Scissors. Then the company staged one of the best South Florida productions of the past year, Permanent Collection, Thomas Gibbons' challenging examination of institutional racism and political correctness.

What it takes: "In the theater, it's all about collaboration. The thing that's driven me is ultimately a practical need to interact with other people, to have a positive impact on the community in the small way that we do. The moment we start to think too much of ourselves and that impact, though, I remind myself that we wear wigs and bows for a living."

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