Tuesday January 17th 2017

47th Annual Jeff Awards

red%20logo%202.jpgJEFFNewly Eligible Theatres take Top Honors at the 47th Annual Jeff Awards

Paula Scrofano and John Reeger receive Special Award
for Career Achievement

October 5, 2015 – Chicago, IL. Two theatres in their first year of Equity eligibility received the most awards at the gala 47th Annual Equity Jeff Awards held at Drury Lane Oakbrook on Monday, October 5, which celebrated a season of outstanding productions.

Newly Equity eligible, The Hypocrites earned six awards for “All Our Tragic”, an epic 12-hour adaptation of the 32 surviving Greek tragedies, which was honored with awards for Production-Play for a midsize theatre, New Adaptation and Direction for Sean Graney, Costume Design for Alison Siple, Fight Choreography for Ryan Bourque and the prestigious Ensemble award, sponsored by Actors’ Equity Association.
Paramount Theatre. in their first year of eligibility, scored five large tier Equity awards: “Les Misérables” was recognized for Production-Musical, Director Jim Corti, and Scenic Designers Kevin Depinet and Jeffrey D. Kmiec.  Their production of the rock opera “The Who’s Tommy” earned statues for Lighting Designer Greg Hofmann and Projections Designer Mike Tutaj.
Another multi-award winner was “Moby Dick”, the saga of the legendary great white whale, created with aerial acrobatics and produced by Lookingglass Theatre Company and The Actors Gymnasium, receiving awards for Production-Play for a large theatre, Supporting Actor in a Play for Anthony Fleming III as Queequeg, Rick Sims’ Sound Design and Isaac Schoepp’s Rigging Design.
Production-Musical for a midsize theatre was awarded to “The Addams Family”, which had an extended run at Mercury Theater Chicago.
Special Awards were presented to husband and wife actors Paula Scrofano and John Reeger in recognition of their career contributions to Chicago theatre over the past five decades. The couple serve as an inspirational example of successful careers, family and lives in Chicago Theatre. The tribute to Paula and John included a photo montage from their performances over the years. The highlight was a live performance by Paula and John, “Why Do I Keep Going to the Theatre?” from the musical revue in which they earned their Equity cards in 1974, What’s a Nice Country Like You Doing in a State Like This?
Principal acting honors went to Kate Fry as Rosemary Muldoon in “Outside Mullingar” at Northlight Theatre and Jerod Haynes as Bigger in “Native Son” at Court Theatre, produced with American Blues Theater.  Awards for principal acting in musicals went to Heidi Kettenring as Anna in “The King and I” at Marriott Theatre and Nicholas Dantes as Young Billy in “Billy Elliot, the Musical” at Drury Lane.
In the revue categories, Porchlight Music Theatre’s “Sondheim on Sondheim” received nods for Production-Revue, for Director Nick Bowling, and for Music Director Austin Cook.  Cory Goodrich took home the Actor or Actress in a Revue award for “Ring of Fire, The Music of Johnny Cash”, a co-production of Mercury Theater Chicago and Theatre at the Center whose six-month run continues through November 1.
Chicago continues to be a nurturing center for New Works, and top awards for New Work-Play went to the late PJ Paparelli and Joshua Jaeger for their their provocative examination of Chicago public housing in “The Project(s)” at American Theater Company and to Mat Smart for “The Royal Society of Antarctica” at The Gift Theatre, the tale of a young woman at a remote Antarctica facility searching for answers to her mother’s disappearance.  New Work-Musical was awarded to Paul Gordon for “Sense and Sensibility”, a moving chamber piece based on the Jane Austen novel, produced by Chicago Shakespeare Theater.
The Solo Performance honor went to Ronald Keaton as “Churchill”, produced by SoloChicago Theatre and Greenhouse Theater Center.  Supporting Actress awards were presented to Kate Buddeke as Tanya in “Airline Highway” at Steppenwolf Theatre Company and to Michelle Aravena as Anita in “West Side Story” at Drury Lane Productions.  Supporting Actor in a musical went to Matthew Crowle as Hysterium in “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” at Porchlight Music Theatre.
The capacity audience enjoyed live performances from all nominated musicals and revues and video performances from nominated plays.  The Equity Awards ceremony was directed by Michael Weber, with music direction by Linda Madonia and stage management by Colleen Tovar.  Merril Prager, Equity Wing Chair of the Jeff Awards Committee, served as producer for the evening.  Performers Cheryl Lynn Bruce and E. Faye Butler emceed the event.  Following the ceremony, guests enjoyed a lavish Drury Lane buffet and dancing.
The Jeff Awards has been honoring outstanding theatre artists annually since it was established in 1968. With up to 55 members representing a wide variety of backgrounds in theatre, the Jeff Awards Committee is committed to celebrating the vitality of Chicago area theatre by recognizing excellence through its recommendations, awards, and honors. The Jeff Awards fosters the artistic growth of area theatres and theatre artists and promotes educational opportunities, audience appreciation, and civic pride in the achievements of the theatre community. Each year, the Jeff Awards Committee evaluates over 250 theatrical productions and holds two awards ceremonies. Originally chartered to recognize only Equity productions, the Jeff Awards Non-Equity Wing was established in 1973 to celebrate outstanding achievement in non-union theatre. The next Non-Equity awards ceremony will be held at Park West on June 6, 2016.

2015 Equity Jeff Award Recipients

PRODUCTION – PLAY – LARGE
“Moby Dick” – Lookingglass Theatre Company in association with The Actors Gymnasium

PRODUCTION – PLAY – MIDSIZE
“All Our Tragic” – The Hypocrites

PRODUCTION – MUSICAL – LARGE
“Les Misérables” – Paramount Theatre

PRODUCTION – MUSICAL – MIDSIZE
“The Addams Family” – Mercury Theater Chicago

PRODUCTION – REVUE
“Sondheim on Sondheim” – Porchlight Music Theatre

DIRECTOR – PLAY
Sean Graney – “All Our Tragic” – The Hypocrites

DIRECTOR – MUSICAL
Jim Corti – “Les Misérables” – Paramount Theatre

DIRECTOR – REVUE
Nick Bowling – “Sondheim on Sondheim” – Porchlight Music Theatre

ENSEMBLE
“All Our Tragic” – The Hypocrites

ACTOR IN A PRINICPAL ROLE – PLAY
Jerod Haynes – “Native Son” – Court Theatre and American Blues Theater

ACTOR IN A PRINCIPAL ROLE – MUSICAL
Nicholas Dantes – “Billy Elliot, the Musical” – Drury Lane Productions

ACTRESS IN A PRINCIPAL ROLE – PLAY
Kate Fry – “Outside Mullingar” – Northlight Theatre

ACTRESS IN A PRINCIPAL ROLE – MUSICAL
Heidi Kettenring – “The King and I” – Marriott Theatre

ACTOR OR ACTRESS IN A REVUE

Cory Goodrich – “Ring of Fire, The Music of Johnny Cash” –
Mercury Theater Chicago and Theatre at the Center

SOLO PERFORMANCE
Ronald Keaton – “Churchill” – SoloChicago Theatre and Greenhouse Theater Center

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE – PLAY
Anthony Fleming III – “Moby Dick” – Lookingglass Theatre Company
in association with The Actors Gymnasium

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE – MUSICAL
Matthew Crowle – “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” –
Porchlight Music Theatre

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE – PLAY
Kate Buddeke – “Airline Highway” – Steppenwolf Theatre Company

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE – MUSICAL
Michelle Aravena – “West Side Story” – Drury Lane Productions

NEW WORK – PLAY
PJ Paparelli and Joshua Jaeger – “The Project(s)” – American Theater Company
Mat Smart – “The Royal Society of Antarctica” – The Gift Theatre

NEW WORK – MUSICAL
Paul Gordon – “Sense and Sensibility” – Chicago Shakespeare Theater

NEW ADAPTATION
Sean Graney – “All Our Tragic” – The Hypocrites

CHOREOGRAPHY
Rachel Rockwell – “Billy Elliot, the Musical” – Drury Lane Productions

ORIGINAL MUSIC IN A PLAY
Henry Marsh – “Pericles” – Chicago Shakespeare Theater

MUSIC DIRECTION
Austin Cook – “Sondheim on Sondheim” – Porchlight Music Theatre

SCENIC DESIGN – LARGE
Kevin Depinet and Jeffrey D. Kmiec – “Les Misérables” – Paramount Theatre

SCENIC DESIGN – MIDSIZE
John Holt – “Accidentally Like a Martyr” – A Red Orchid Theatre

LIGHTING DESIGN – LARGE
Greg Hofmann – “The Who’s Tommy” – Paramount Theatre

LIGHTING DESIGN – MIDSIZE
Brian Sidney Bembridge – “The Royale” – American Theater Company

COSTUME DESIGN – LARGE
Dede M. Ayite – “Marie Antoinette” – Steppenwolf Theatre Company

COSTUME DESIGN – MIDSIZE
Alison Siple – “All Our Tragic” – The Hypocrites

SOUND DESIGN – LARGE
Rick Sims – “Moby Dick” – Lookingglass Theatre Company in association with
The Actors Gymnasium

SOUND DESIGN – MIDSIZE
Victoria Deiorio – “The White Road” – Irish Theatre of Chicago

PROJECTIONS / VIDEO DESIGN
Mike Tutaj – “The Who’s Tommy” – Paramount Theatre

ARTISTIC SPECIALIZATION
Isaac Schoepp – Rigging Design – “Moby Dick” – Lookingglass Theatre Company
in association with The Actors Gymnasium

SPECIAL AWARD
Paula Scrofano and John Reeger

2014-2015 EQUITY STATISTICS
In its 47th Equity season, August 1, 2014 through July 31, 2015, the Jeff Awards Committee judged the opening nights of 149 productions from 61 producing organizations.  Of these, 112 productions were “Jeff Recommended”, which made them eligible for award nominations.

EDITOR NOTE:
Due to circumstances beyond my control, this year, I was out of the state and unable to attend this gala. The Jeff Awards, both the Equity and Non-Equity festivities are an amazing night of being a part of our Chicago theater scene. Even those who are not involved, day-to-day, regular theater-goers, find themselves caught up in the magic world of our scene. If you have never had an opportunity to go to one, find the time to do so, but based on the way things are going, I suggest as soon as you know the dates, you sign on, as the trend is for more theater lovers to want to be there!

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