The 2017 Equity Jeff Award Winners

The 2017 Equity Jeff Award Winners

Gabriel Ruiz, Allen Gilmore, Sheldon Brown, Kamal Angelo Bolden, and Thomas Cox in a scene from MAN IN THE RING at Court Theater, which was one of the New Play Jeff Award recipients for the 2016-2017 season. Photo by Michael Brosilow. 

The 49th Annual Equity Jeff Awards honored last season’s achievements in Chicago theater Monday night at Drury Lane Oakbrook.

Sweeney Todd” at Paramount was the most honored production of the evening, earning five trophies, including the best Production-Musical-Large. Paramount also received three awards for “The Little Mermaid” for a total of eight Jeffs, the most for any institution. Production-Play-Large went to Court’s “Blues for an Alabama Sky” — the company earned four awards in total. The prestigious Ensemble Award, sponsored by Actors Equity Association, went to “East Texas Hot Links” at Writers Theatre. Three new works were honored, Michael Cristofer’s “Man in the Ring” at Court Theatre, Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon’s “Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley” at Northlight, and Antoinette Nwandu’s “Pass Over” at Steppenwolf.

A Special Award was presented to recently retired Goodman Producer Steve Scott, honoring his 37-year career. Scott, who was introduced by Goodman Leaders Roche Schulfer and Robert Falls, said “he can’t believe he’s been in Chicago as a theatre artist for 37 years” and quipped that he was three years old when he arrived. Falls said of Scott: “his greatest gift is his extraordinary mentorship.”

In an attempt to address issues of inclusion and representation, the Jeff Committee has begun a process of self-study, and onstage at the ceremony Jeff Chair David Liesse said the survey phase results will be released soon.

The adjudicated productions took place between August 1, 2016, and July 31, 2017. The Jeff committee attended the opening nights of 159 productions from 62 producing organizations. Of these, 123 productions were “Jeff Recommended,” which made them eligible for award nominations.

The 2017 Equity Jeff Award recipients:

PRODUCTION – PLAY – LARGE
“Blues for an Alabama Sky” – Court Theatre

PRODUCTION – PLAY – MIDSIZE
“Born Yesterday” – Remy Bumppo Theatre Company

PRODUCTION – MUSICAL – LARGE
“Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” – Paramount Theatre

PRODUCTION – MUSICAL – MIDSIZE
“The Scottsboro Boys” – Porchlight Music Theatre

PRODUCTION – REVUE
“Smokey Joe’s Café” – Drury Lane Productions

DIRECTOR – PLAY
Ron OJ Parson – “Blues for an Alabama Sky” – Court Theatre

DIRECTOR – MUSICAL
Jim Corti – “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber
of Fleet Street” – Paramount Theatre

ENSEMBLE
“East Texas Hot Links” – Writers Theatre

ACTOR IN A PRINCIPAL ROLE – PLAY
Alex Weisman – “Hand to God” – Victory Gardens Theater

ACTOR IN A PRINCIPAL ROLE – MUSICAL
Paul-Jordan Jansen – “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” – Paramount Theatre

ACTRESS IN A PRINCIPAL ROLE – PLAY
Angela Ingersoll – “End of the Rainbow” – Porchlight Music Theatre

ACTRESS IN A PRINCIPAL ROLE – MUSICAL
Kathy Voytko – “The Bridges of Madison County” – The Marriott Theatre

ACTOR IN A REVUE
Austin Cook – “Marry Me a Little” – Porchlight Music Theatre

ACTRESS IN A REVUE
Michelle Lauto – “Spamilton” – The Royal George Theatre Cabaret

SOLO PERFORMANCE
Linda Reiter – “Rose” – The Greenhouse Theater Center in association with Forum Productions

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE – PLAY
Marton Csokas – “Uncle Vanya” – Goodman Theatre

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE – MUSICAL
Jonathan Butler-Duplessis – “Parade” – Writers Theatre

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE – PLAY
Kymberly Mellen – “The Columnist” – American Blues Theater

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE – MUSICAL
E. Faye Butler – “Chicago The Musical” – Drury Lane Productions

NEW PLAY
Michael Cristofer – “Man in the Ring” – Court Theatre
Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon – “Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley” – Northlight Theatre
Antoinette Nwandu – “Pass Over” – Steppenwolf Theatre Company

CHOREOGRAPHY
Matthew Crowle – “Crazy for You” – Drury Lane Productions

ORIGINAL MUSIC IN A PLAY
Orbert Davis – “Paradise Blue” – TimeLine Theatre Company

MUSIC DIRECTION
Tom Vendafreddo – “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” – Paramount Theatre

SCENIC DESIGN – LARGE
Jeffrey D. Kmiec – “Disney’s The Little Mermaid” – Paramount Theatre

SCENIC DESIGN – MIDSIZE
Joe Schermoly – “Naperville” – Theater Wit

LIGHTING DESIGN – LARGE
Nick Belley and Jesse Klug – “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” – Paramount Theatre

LIGHTING DESIGN – MIDSIZE
Cat Davis – “The River Bride” – Halcyon Theatre

COSTUME DESIGN – LARGE
Theresa Ham – “Disney’s The Little Mermaid” – Paramount Theatre

COSTUME DESIGN – MIDSIZE
Kristy Leigh Hall – “Pygmalion” – Remy Bumppo Theatre

SOUND DESIGN – LARGE
André Pluess – “Man in the Ring” – Court Theatre

SOUND DESIGN – MIDSIZE
Grover Hollway – “The Great and Terrible Wizard of Oz” – The House Theatre of Chicago

PROJECTION DESIGN
Mike Tutaj – “Objects in the Mirror” – Goodman Theatre

PUPPET DESIGN
Jesse Mooney-Bullock – “Disney’s The Little Mermaid” – Paramount Theatre

 

About author

Abigail Trabue

Abigail has worked as an actor/director in Chicago for over ten years, and along with husband Jason Epperson founded Lotus Theatricals in 2015, and PerformInk Chicago and Kansas City in 2016 (where she serves as Managing Editor of both publications). When not talking shop, Abigail is raising three padawans with Jason, drinking lots of coffee, converting school buses into RV’s, and eating all the foods at Disney World. You can find her on Twitter @AbigailTrabue

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