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.
Pictured: Kelli Harrington and Tommy Thurston in Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre’s “The Bridges of Madison County.” Photo by Cody Jolly Photography.
by Jason Epperson
The Jeff Awards announced recipients of the 46th Annual Non–Equity trophies in a ceremony tonight at the Athenaeum, honoring excellence at Chicago’s non-union theaters.
The most decorated productions were Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre’s “The Bridges of Madison County” and The Artistic Home’s “Requiem for a Heavyweight,” garnering four awards each. The three new works recognized were Alex Higgin–Houser and David Kornfeld’s new musical “Haymarket,” Kristiana Rae Colón’s “Tilikum,” and Philip Dawkins’ “The Gentleman Caller.” Broken Nose Theatre’s “Plainclothes” won the coveted Ensemble Award.
As the awards enter the final leg of their two-year test run of non-gendered performance categories, the winners seem split fairly evenly between men and women with at least one non-binary winner. That’s a departure from last fall’s Equity ceremony which honored a heck of a lot of male performers. The overall gender representation in all categories (including non-performers) still leaves a lot to be desired, but has improved. Looking at the shows honored and performed over the course of the last two years, it becomes clearer and clearer that — committee biases aside — the non-Equity theaters are just better at diversity and inclusion than the union houses.
In addition to the competitive awards, Trap Door Theatre received a Special Award for “opening the door to an evocative and surreal world for 25 years.”
Below are the winners selected from 144 shows that opened between April 1, 2018, and March 31, 2019. Of those, 68 productions were recommended (adjudicated by the full committee), including 14 world premieres.
The next Equity Awards will be held on October 21 at Drury Lane Oakbrook.
2018 NON–EQUITY JEFF AWARD RECIPIENTS
“Plainclothes” – Broken Nose Theatre
PRODUCTION – MUSICAL
“The Bridges of Madison County” – Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre
PRODUCTION – PLAY
“Requiem for a Heavyweight” – The Artistic Home
DIRECTOR – MUSICAL
Fred Anzevino – “The Bridges of Madison County” – Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre
DIRECTOR – PLAY
John Mossman – “Requiem for a Heavyweight” – The Artistic Home
PERFORMER IN A PRINCIPAL ROLE – MUSICAL
Kelli Harrington (Francesca) – “The Bridges of Madison County” – Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre
Missy Wise (Alice Murphy) – “Bright Star” – BoHo Theatre
PERFORMER IN A PRINCIPAL ROLE – PLAY
Patrick Agada (Eric) – “Dutch Masters” – Jackalope Theatre Company
Mark Pracht (Harlan “Mountain” McClintock) – “Requiem for a Heavyweight” – The Artistic Home
PERFORMER IN A SUPPORTING ROLE – MUSICAL
Michelle Jasso (Elizaveta Grushinskaya) – “Grand Hotel” – Kokandy Productions
Jonathan Schwart (Otto Kringlein) – “Grand Hotel” – Kokandy Productions
PERFORMER IN A SUPPORTING ROLE – PLAY
Netta Walker (Maggie) – “Yen” – Raven Theatre
Brianna Buckley (Lily Anne Green) – “Crumbs from the Table of Joy” – Raven Theatre
August N. Forman (Gina) – “Girl in the Red Corner” – Broken Nose Theatre
Sam Krey (Ryan Smithson) – “Ghosts of War” – Griffin Theatre Company
Alex Higgin–Houser and David Kornfeld – “Haymarket” – Underscore Theatre Company
Kristiana Rae Colon – “Tilikum” – Sideshow Theatre Company
Philip Dawkins – “The Gentleman Caller” – Raven Theatre
Jeremy Ramey – “The Bridges of Madison County” – Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre
Breon Arzell – “The Total Bent” – Haven Theatre Company in association with About Face Theatre
John Tovar – “Girl in the Red Corner” – Broken Nose Theatre
ORIGINAL MUSIC IN A PLAY
Coco Elysses – “Tilikum” – Sideshow Theatre Company
Paul Deziel – “Tilikum” – Sideshow Theatre Company
Petter Wahlback – “Requiem for a Heavyweight” – The Artistic Home
John Nasca – “Grand Hotel” – Kokandy Productions
Erik S. Barry – “The Displaced” – Haven Theatre Company
Ryan Emens – “Dutch Masters” – Jackalope Theatre Company
Sam Hubbard (Violence and Intimacy Direction) – “Yen” – Raven Theatre