The Jeff Awards Committee today announced 118 nominations in 24 categories for the 42nd Annual Non-Equity Jeff Awards for productions that opened between April 1, 2014, and March 31, 2015. The Non-Equity Awards honor excellence in Chicago theatres not under a union contract. Jeff judges attended opening nights of 133 productions offered by 56 Non-Equity producing organizations. The Jeff Committee recommended 62 of those shows, making them eligible for Non-Equity Jeff Award nominations. Of the 62 Jeff Recommended productions, 46 received nominations, representing 23 theatre companies.
The Hypocrites, with a mix of musicals and plays, earned 15 nods this year, the most of any theatre company. “All Our Tragic”, an epic 12-hour adaptation of the 32 surviving Greek tragedies, scheduled to return in the summer of 2015, garnered ten nominations. The company’s reconceptualized production of Samuel Beckett’s “Endgame” earned three nominations, while its “H.M.S. Pinafore”, a revisionist gender-bending take on the Gilbert & Sullivan operetta, earned two nominations.
The 2014-2015 nominations also recognized strong showings from Griffin Theatre Company and Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre, each receiving 14 nominations. Griffin Theatre Company had three 2 recognized productions, with six nominations for the musical “Titanic”, a newly realized chamber version of the 1997 Best Musical Tony Award winner, five for “Balm in Gilead”, a study of debauched characters in a 1960’s greasy spoon diner, and three for “Men Should Weep”, a Scottish family drama in a Glasgow tenement during the Depression. Among Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre’s 14 nominations was the 1970’s rock opera “Jesus Christ Superstar”, receiving six nominations, as well as three musical revues: “Always…Patsy Cline”, earning four nomination, “A Kurt Weill Cabaret”, receiving three nominations and “A Musical Tribute to the Andrews Sisters” getting one nomination.
This year’s nominations also rewarded the efforts of Non-Equity theatres producing New Works and New Adaptations in Chicago, citing 8 nominations for world premieres. Four nominated new plays include Erik Gernand’s “A Place in the Woods” at The Fine Print Theatre Company (a newlyeligible company this year), Ike Holter’s “Exit Strategy” at Jackalope Theatre Company, Ronan Marra and Jon Steinhagen’s original musical “The Next Thing” at Signal Ensemble Theatre, and Joe Zarrow’s “Principal Principle” produced by Stage Left Theatre and Theatre Seven of Chicago. New Adaptation nominations recognize two Sean Graney productions at The Hypocrites, “All Our Tragic” and “H.M.S. Pinafore”, as well as Matt Foss’ “The Jungle” at Oracle Productions and Chris Hainsworth’s “Monstrous Regiment” at Lifeline Theatre.
The 42nd Annual Non-Equity Jeff Awards ceremony will be held on Monday, June 8, 2015, at Park West, 322 W. Armitage, Chicago. Emceeing the festivities are Karl Hamilton, well-known Chicago actor who has performed at Goodman Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Porchlight Music Theatre, Drury Lane Oakbrook, Marriott Theatre, Mercury Theater Chicago, and First Folio, and Chicago actress and Jeff nominee Sarah Hayes, an Artistic Associate at Porchlight Music Theatre, who has appeared with several Non-Equity companies, including Bailiwick, City Lit, Theo Ubique, Griffin and Strawdog.
Doors open with a cash bar at 6 p.m., light buffet at 6:30 p.m., and the awards ceremony at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $40 in advance and $45 at the door. A group rate of $35 is available for parties of 10 or more. Festive cocktail attire is suggested, and the public is cordially invited. Tickets are purchased online with a credit card at www.jeffawards.org or by mail with the downloadable mail-order form, also found at www.jeffawards.org. For more information, contact John D. Glover, Non-Equity Wing Chair, at email@example.com. Follow live twitter feeds from the ceremony and behind the scenes at #josephjefferson.
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 are 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 promote 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 hosts two awards ceremonies. Originally chartered to recognize only Equity productions, the Jeff Awards established the Non-Equity Wing in 1973 to celebrate outstanding achievement in non-union theatre. The next Equity Awards ceremony, honoring productions presented under union contracts, will be held on Monday, October 5, 2015, at Drury Lane Oakbrook in Oakbrook Terrace.