46th Non-Equity Jeff Award Winners

46th Non-Equity Jeff Award Winners

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

ENSEMBLE

“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

SOLO PERFORMANCE

Sam Krey (Ryan Smithson) – “Ghosts of War” – Griffin Theatre Company

NEW MUSICAL

Alex Higgin–Houser and David Kornfeld – “Haymarket” – Underscore Theatre Company

NEW PLAY

Kristiana Rae Colon – “Tilikum” – Sideshow Theatre Company

Philip Dawkins – “The Gentleman Caller” – Raven Theatre

MUSIC DIRECTION

Jeremy Ramey – “The Bridges of Madison County” – Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre

CHOREOGRAPHY

Breon Arzell – “The Total Bent” – Haven Theatre Company in association with About Face Theatre

FIGHT CHOREOGRAPHY

John Tovar – “Girl in the Red Corner” – Broken Nose Theatre

ORIGINAL MUSIC IN A PLAY

Coco Elysses – “Tilikum” – Sideshow Theatre Company

PROJECTION DESIGN

Paul Deziel – “Tilikum” – Sideshow Theatre Company

SOUND DESIGN

Petter Wahlback – “Requiem for a Heavyweight” – The Artistic Home

COSTUME DESIGN

John Nasca – “Grand Hotel” – Kokandy Productions

LIGHTING DESIGN

Erik S. Barry – “The Displaced” – Haven Theatre Company

SCENIC DESIGN

Ryan Emens – “Dutch Masters” – Jackalope Theatre Company

ARTISTIC SPECIALIZATION

Sam Hubbard (Violence and Intimacy Direction) – “Yen” – Raven Theatre

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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