The 2018 Non-Equity Jeff Award Winners

The 2018 Non-Equity Jeff Award Winners

Pictured: (left to right) Jeffery Owen Freelon Jr. and Tiffany Oglesby in The New Colony’s world premiere of THE LIGHT by Loy A. Webb | Evan Hanover

By Jason Epperson

The recipients of the 45th Annual Non–Equity Jeff Awards on were announced tonight in a ceremony at the Athenaeum Theatre hosted by Veronica Garza.

Steep Theatre’s “Lela & Co.” and Griffin Theatre Company’s “Ragtime” took home the best production honors, as well as the director awards for Scott Weinstein and Robin Witt, respectively. Loy A. Webb’s “The Light” was deemed the best New Play, and “The CiviliTy of Albert Cashier” took home the New Musical trophy.

Other productions receiving multiple awards included Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre’s “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” and Interrobang Theatre Project’s “Foxfinder.” Strawdog Theatre Company was presented with a Special Award for “30 years of collaboration as an innovative and provocative Ensemble.”

For the first time, the Jeff Awards have dropped gender from the performance awards, instead nominating double the actors per category. Two awards were handed out for each of the principal and supporting slates for both musicals and plays.

Between April 1, 2017 and March 31, 2018, there were 136 eligible Non–Equity productions considered for Jeff Recommendation. Opening night teams recommended 63 of those (or 46%) be judged by the entire committee. There were 45 productions that received at least one nomination, representing the work of 32 theater companies. This season’s Equity Jeff Awards will be held on Monday, October 22, 2018, at Drury Lane Oakbrook.

Following are the winners (top, in bold) along with the nominees:

ENSEMBLE

  • Ragtime” – Griffin Theatre Company | WINNER
  • Ideation” – Jackalope Theatre Company
  • “Insurrection: Holding History” – Stage Left Theatre
  • “Into the Empty Sky” – Trap Door Theatre
  • “Mother of the Dark Water” – MPAACT
  • Shakin’ the Mess Outta Misery” – Pegasus Theatre Chicago

 

PRODUCTION – MUSICAL

 

PRODUCTION – PLAY

  • Lela & Co.” – Steep Theatre Company | WINNER
  • “Foxfinder” – Interrobang Theatre Project
  • Ideation” – Jackalope Theatre Company
  • “The Invisible Hand” – Steep Theatre Company
  • The Light” – The New Colony

 

DIRECTOR – MUSICAL

  • Scott Weinstein – “Ragtime” – Griffin Theatre Company | WINNER
  • Fred Anzevino – “Sweeney Todd” – Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre
  • Lili-Anne Brown – “Marie Christine” – BoHo Theatre
  • Spencer Neiman – “Bonnie & Clyde” – Kokandy Productions
  • Scott Weinstein – “Violet” – Griffin Theatre Company

 

DIRECTOR – PLAY

  • Robin Witt – “Lela & Co.” – Steep Theatre Company | WINNER
  • Audrey Francis – “The Invisible Hand” – Steep Theatre Company
  • Margaret Knapp – “Foxfinder” – Interrobang Theatre Project
  • Toma Langston – “The Light” – The New Colony
  • Gus Menary – “Ideation” – Jackalope Theatre Company

 

PERFORMER IN A PRINCIPAL ROLE – MUSICAL

  • Jacquelyne Jones (Mrs. Lovett) – “Sweeney Todd” – Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre | WINNER
  • Philip Torre (Sweeney Todd) – “Sweeney Todd” – Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre | WINNER
  • Kyrie Courter (Marie Christine) – “Marie Christine” – BoHo Theatre
  • Max DeTogne (Clyde) – “Bonnie & Clyde” – Kokandy Productions
  • Desiree Gonzalez (Bonnie) – “Bonnie & Clyde” – Kokandy Productions
  • Matthew Huston (Stu) – “Yank! A World War II Love Story” – Pride Films and Plays
  • Nicole Laurenzi (Violet) – “Violet” – Griffin Theatre Company
  • Laura McClain (Mother) – “Ragtime” – Griffin Theatre Company
  • Jason Richards (Tateh) – “Ragtime” – Griffin Theatre Company
  • Dani Shay (Young Albert) – “The CiviliTy of Albert Cashier” – Permoveo Productions i/a/w Pride Films and Plays
  • Denzel Tsopnang (Coalhouse Walker, Jr.) – “Ragtime” – Griffin Theatre Company

 

PERFORMER IN A PRINCIPAL ROLE – PLAY

  • Cruz Gonzalez-Cadel (Lela) – “Lela & Co.” – Steep Theatre Company | WINNER
  • Michael B. Woods (Cyrano) – “Cyrano” – BoHo Theatre | WINNER 
  • Lucy Carapetyan (Josephine) – “Nice Girl” – Raven Theatre Company
  • Alexandra Fisher (Judith Covey) – “Foxfinder” – Interrobang Theatre Project
  • Jeffery Owen Freelon Jr. (Rashad) – “The Light” – The New Colony
  • Vince Kracht (Chauncey) – “The Nance” – Pride Films and Plays
  • John Mossman (Peck) – “How I Learned to Drive” – The Artistic Home
  • Tiffany Oglesby (Genesis) – “The Light” – The New Colony
  • Sara Pavlak McGuire (Sarah) – “Time Stands Still” – AstonRep Theatre Company
  • Joel Reitsma (Nick) – “The Invisible Hand” – Steep Theatre Company
  • Alejandro Tey (Mace) – “The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity” – Red Theater Chicago

 

PERFORMER IN A SUPPORTING ROLE – MUSICAL

  • Katherine Thomas (Sarah) – “Ragtime” – Griffin Theatre Company | WINNER
  • Missy Wise (Blanche) – “Bonnie & Clyde” – Kokandy Productions | WINNER
  • Stephen Allen (Flick) – “Violet” – Griffin Theatre Company
  • Gina Francesca (Hetaira) – “Lysistrata Jones” – Refuge Theatre Project
  • Veronica Garza (Lisa) – “A New Brain” – Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre
  • Emily Goldberg (Shelby) – “The Spitfire Grill” – Refuge Theatre Project
  • Nicole Michelle Haskins (Effy) – “The Spitfire Grill” – Refuge Theatre Project
  • Molly LeCaptain (Louise / Radio Singers) – “Yank! A World War II Love Story” – Pride Films and Plays
  • John Marshall Jr. (Artie) – “Yank! A World War II Love Story” – Pride Films and Plays
  • Billy Rude (Jeffrey) – “The CiviliTy of Albert Cashier” – Permoveo Productions i/a/w Pride Films and Plays

 

PERFORMER IN A SUPPORTING ROLE – PLAY

  • Owais Ahmed (Bashir) – “The Invisible Hand” – Steep Theatre Company | WINNER
  • Stella Martin (Sherry) – “Nice Girl” – Raven Theatre Company| WINNER
  • Chris Chmelik (Man) – “Lela & Co.” – Steep Theatre Company
  • Gregory Fenner (Dubby) – “Megastasis” – Eclipse Theatre Company
  • Bryce Gangel (Robin) – “1980 (Or Why I’m Voting for John Anderson)” – Jackalope Theatre Company
  • Kelli Harrington (Barbara Grant) – “Perfect Arrangement” – Pride Films and Plays
  • Renee Lockett (Bernadette) – “Surely Goodness and Mercy” – Redtwist Theatre
  • Regina Whitehead “RjW” Mays (Phaedra) – “Kingdom” – Broken Nose Theatre
  • Andrew Neftali Perez (Norte) – “Water & Power” – UrbanTheater Company
  • Kathleen Ruhl (Daphne) – “I Saw My Neighbor on the Train and I Didn’t Even Smile” – Redtwist Theatre

 

NEW MUSICAL

 

NEW PLAY

  • Loy A. Webb – “The Light” – The New Colony | WINNER
  • Shepsu Aakhu – “Never the Milk and Honey” – MPAACT
  • Patricia Cotter – 1980 (Or Why I’m Voting for John Anderson)” – Jackalope Theatre Company
  • Michael Allen Harris – Kingdom” – Broken Nose Theatre
  • Douglas Post – “Forty-Two Stories” – City Lit Theater Company
  • Lloyd Suh – Franklinland” – Jackalope Theatre Company

 

MUSIC DIRECTION

  • Jeremy Ramey – Sweeney Todd” – Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre | WINNER
  • John Cockerill – Bonnie & Clyde” – Kokandy Productions
  • Jermaine Hill and Ellen Morris – Ragtime” – Griffin Theatre Company
  • Robert Ollis – “Yank! A World War II Love Story” – Pride Films and Plays
  • Jon Schneidman – The Spitfire Grill” – Refuge Theatre Project

 

CHOREOGRAPHY

  • Jenna Schoppe – “Yank! A World War II Love Story” – Pride Films and Plays | WINNER
  • William Carlos Angulo – “Ragtime” – Griffin Theatre Company
  • Breon Arzell – Marie Christine” – BoHo Theatre
  • Kevin Bellie – “Bullets Over Broadway” – NightBlue Performing Arts
  • Shanna VanDerwerker – Lysistrata Jones” – Refuge Theatre Project

 

FIGHT CHOREOGRAPHY

 

ORIGINAL MUSIC IN A PLAY

  • Jesse Case – “Foxfinder” – Interrobang Theatre Project | WINNER
  • Red Clay, Desta Sound – “Never the Milk and Honey” – MPAACT
  • Jeffrey Levin – Her Majesty’s Will” – Lifeline Theatre
  • Mike Mazzocca – “Into the Empty Sky” – Trap Door Theatre
  • Nicholas Tonozzi – “Round Heads and Pointed Heads” – Red Tape Theatre

 

SOUND DESIGN

  • Justin Glombicki – “In the Soundless Awe” – Saltbox Theatre Collective | WINNER
  • Jesse Case – “Foxfinder” – Interrobang Theatre Project
  • Thomas Dixon – “The Invisible Hand” – Steep Theatre Company
  • Morgan Lake – “Pillars of the Community” – Strawdog Theatre Company
  • Michael J. Patrick – “Bonnie & Clyde” – Kokandy Productions

 

COSTUME DESIGN

 

LIGHTING DESIGN

  • James Kolditz – “Sweeney Todd” – Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre | WINNER
  • Heather Gilbert – “Marie Christine” – BoHo Theatre
  • John Kelly – “Foxfinder” – Interrobang Theatre Project
  • G. “Max” Maxin IV – “Cyrano” – BoHo Theatre
  • Brandon Wardell – “Lela & Co.” – Steep Theatre Company

 

SCENIC DESIGN

  • Eric Luchen – “Foxfinder” – Interrobang Theatre Project | WINNER
  • Jeffrey D. Kmiec – American Hero” – First Floor Theater
  • Joe Schermoly – Lela & Co.” – Steep Theatre Company
  • Ray Toler – Choir Boy” – Raven Theatre Company
  • John Wilson – The Light” – The New Colony
About author

Jason Epperson

Jason is a producer, manager, and designer with 17 years of experience in Chicago, New York, and in the touring market. In 2015, he founded Lotus Theatricals - the publisher of Performink, and an independent commercial producing company - with Abigail Trabue.

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