Sunday April 23rd 2017

42nd Annual Jeff Equity Awards

Tonight, the Joseph Jefferson Awards for Theater were presented for the Equity season of 2009/2010. This years local star studded event took place at Drury Lane Oakbrook, which is a perfect spot for an evening like this- a great theater with perfect views for all, a marvelous lobby where actors and other theater people can meet and mingle and lots of banquet facilities for the after party ( lots of bars as well). This annual event is indeed a celebration of the marvelous professional theater that is offered in The Great Chicago Area and as I have said over and over, our theater scene is “second to none”- we have it all.

One of the highlights of this season, at least for me, was seeing Teatro Vista ( Theater with a View) get rewarded for a special production that they partnered with Victory gardens on as part of the VG “Ignition Series” where young playwrights “of color” get to bring their thoughts and ideas to a staged reading and then to production.Victory Gardens saw that what they had in “The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity” was a winner, and boy, was it!  Five, yes FIVE Jeff Awards:

Best production- Play                                                                                

New Work- writer Kristoffer Diaz

Best Director – Edward Torres

Best actor Principal- Desmond Borges

Fight Choreography- David Woolley

This show also went on to New York and wowed them just as it did here! It was also a finalist for a Pulitzer. Diaz, who has roots in New York, seems to fit in with the Chicago scene and I have a feeling he will be creating more for Chicago and of course for Teatro Vista , theater with a view!

Watching all of my amigos from Teatro Vista filled with such happiness and pride, made me proud to count them as my friends. For 21 years, this troupe has worked hard to bring plays to the general market to get their message out to the people about some of the prejudices that exist in their worlds. The general market has accepted this Equity Latino organization and The Jeff Awards Committee has rewarded them for their excellent work.

Other big  winners- Drury Lane’s “Ragtime” for best Musical Production, Best Musical Director ( Rachel Rockwell) , Best Actor Musical ( Quentin Earl Darringtgon ( he was  perfection), Best Actress in a Musical ( Cory Goodrich), Best Supporting actor (Mark david kaplan) and actress ( Valisia LeKae) in a Musical and Roberta Duchak as Best Musical Direction. There were also three awards for a small Cabaret production up in Glencoe at Writers Theatre for “Oh Coward!”- a celebration of the music and character of Noel Coward with Rob Lindley snd Kate Fry earning the awards for best actor and actress in a Revue. This show was extended for 6 months and I think they might have been able to go even longer if they didn’t have other commitments for the theater and the actors.

To learn more about The Joseph Jefferson Awards and to get the complete list, visit www.jeffawards.org

If you want to lear more about all of the theaters in the area, visit www.theatreinchicago.com

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