The Joseph Jefferson Awards committee tonight announced the nominations for the 41st annual Non-Equity Jeff Awards, honoring productions opening between April 1, 2013, and March 31, 2014. Bohemian Theatre Ensemble and Oracle Productions led with the most nominations per company, at 12 and 11 respectively, while Bailiwick Chicago's Dessa Rose garnered the most nominations for a single production, with eight.
All told, the 127 nominations in 24 categories are split among 29 producing companies, though there are several heavy hitters: Raven Theatre, Griffin Theatre Company, Lifeline Theatre, Steep Theatre Company and Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre each raked in seven or more nominations, which is par for the Jeffs course for those companies in recent seasons. New to the party this year is Kokandy Productions, which in its first year of eligibility refocused itself on musical theater, a move that paid off with eight nominations split between its productions of The Last Five Years and Sweet Smell of Success.
There are, as always, the conspicuous omissions, the most surprising of which for me is the Hypocrites' Into the Woods—in my opinion the best of the company's four eligible shows this year, but the only one to come away without a single nomination.
And there are those that you realize never had a chance: Despite winning last year's ensemble award for Idomeneus, Sideshow Theatre Company found all four of its eligible shows this year—Maria/Stuart, The Burden of Not Having a Tail, 9 Circles and The Golden Dragon—snubbed by the Jeffs' opening night judges, and thus ineligible for nominations.
And other ambitious fare, such as Pavement Group's Harry and the Thief, Broken Nose Theatre's ROOMS: A Rock Romance, Buzz22 Chicago's Ghost Bike and Walkabout Theatre Company's The Wild, were never seen by Jeff judges because the companies aren't old enough or produce too sparsely to meet the committee's eligibility rules. We've all gotta have parameters—none of us can see everything onstage in this city, try as we might—but it's a shame to see such worthy pieces left out of the running entirely.
Still, JoJeff did show an adventurous streak this year alongside his penchant for naturalistic period dramas and realistic scenic designs. With multiple nods to more out-there works like Oracle's The Mother and Pink Milk, Red Tape Theatre's The Life and Death of Madam Barker and Trap Door Theatre's The Core of the Pudel, plus healthy doses of off-kilter pieces in the New Work and New Adaptation categories, this round of nominations will make for an interesting mix at the Non-Equity Awards ceremony Monday, June 2, at Park West. (The Equity Jeff Awards ceremony is held in October.)
The complete list of nominees follows. For productions that were reviewed by Time Out, each nomination links to our original review.
Production — Play
Great Expectations — Strawdog Theatre CompanyIncident on Run #1217 — Factory TheaterThe Knowledge — Steep Theatre CompanyThe Mother — Oracle ProductionsThe Playboy of the Western World — Raven TheatreVeronica's Room — Bohemian Theatre Ensemble
Production — Musical
Dessa Rose — Bailiwick ChicagoKiss of the Spider Woman — Bohemian Theatre EnsembleMonty Python's Spamalot — NightBlue Performing Arts CompanyPassion — Theo Ubique Cabaret TheatreSweet Smell of Success — Kokandy Productions
Director — Play
Jonathan Berry — The Knowledge — Steep Theatre CompanyMatt Engle — Incident on Run #1217 — Factory TheaterJason Gerace — Great Expectations — Strawdog Theatre CompanyElly Green — Rabbit — Stage Left TheatreMax Truax — The Mother — Oracle Productions
Director — Musical
Fred Anzevino — Passion — Theo Ubique Cabaret TheatreLili-Anne Brown — Dessa Rose — Bailiwick ChicagoPeter Marston Sullivan — Kiss of the Spider Woman — Bohemian Theatre EnsembleDerek van Barham — Songs from an Unmade Bed — Pride Films & PlaysDavid E. Walters — Monty Python's Spamalot — NightBlue Performing Arts Company
Clybourne Park — Redtwist TheatreCore of the Pudel/Gutting the Legend of Faust — Trap Door TheatreGreat Expectations — Strawdog Theatre CompanyThe Killer Angels — Lifeline TheatreThe Knowledge — Steep Theatre CompanyThe Mother — Oracle ProductionsPink Milk — Oracle Productions in association with White Elephant
Actor in a Principal Role — Play
Chris Ballou (Mozart) — Amadeus — Bohemian Theatre EnsemblePatrick Gannon (Dave/Mint/Candy) — The Tennessee Williams Project — The HypocritesFred Geyer (Presley Stray) — The Pitchfork Disney — Interrobang Theatre ProjectSteve O'Connell (Salieri) — Amadeus — Bohemian Theatre EnsembleJoel Reitsma (Danny) — Motortown — Steep Theatre CompanyNate Santana (Joe) — Golden Boy — Griffin Theatre Company
Actor in a Principal Role — Musical
Nathan Carroll (Molina) — Kiss of the Spider Woman — Bohemian Theatre EnsembleJim DeSelm (Jamie) — The Last Five Years — Kokandy ProductionsEvan Tyrone Martin (Valentin) — Kiss of the Spider Woman — Bohemian Theatre EnsembleJordan Phelps (Performer) — Songs from an Unmade Bed — Pride Films & PlaysDavid Schlumpf (Sidney Falcone) — Sweet Smell of Success — Kokandy ProductionsKevin Webb (Performer) — Songs from an Unmade Bed — Pride Films & Plays
Actress in a Principal Role — Play
Sally Eames (Susan) — Woman in Mind — Eclipse Theatre CompanyKelli Harrington (Maria Callas) — Master Class — Theo Ubique Cabaret TheatreKatherine Keberlein (The Mother) — The Mother — Oracle ProductionsCaroline Neff (Zoe) — The Knowledge — Steep TheatreMary Williamson (June) — Reverb — Redtwist Theatre
Actress in a Principal Role — Musical
Molly Brennan (Madam Barker) — The Life and Death of Madam Barker — Red Tape TheatreSydney Charles (Dessa Rose) — Dessa Rose — Bailiwick ChicagoHarmony France (Ruth) — Dessa Rose — Bailiwick ChicagoAllison Hendrix (Catherine) — The Last Five Years — Kokandy ProductionsDanni Smith (Fosca) — Passion — Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre
Actor in a Supporting Role — Play
Matt Edmonds (Aaron) — All-American — Redtwist TheatreJose Antonio Garcia (Happy) — Fallow — Steep Theatre CompanyDennis William Grimes (Richard) — Rabbit — Stage Left TheatreJoseph Wiens (Brad) — Orange Flower Water — Interrobang Theatre ProjectNorm Woodell (Bonaparte) — Golden Boy — Griffin Theatre Company
Actor in a Supporting Role — Musical
Tommy Bullington (Smee) — Return of Neverland — Quest Theatre EnsembleDaniel Desmarais (Leaf Coneybear) — The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee — Griffin Theatre CompanyGreg Foster (Patsy/French Taunter) — Monty Python's Spamalot — NightBlue Performing Arts CompanyNathan Gardner (Dallas) — Sweet Smell of Success — Kokandy ProductionsDavid Schlumpf (Nehemiah) — Dessa Rose — Bailiwick Chicago
Actress in a Supporting Role — Play
Eleanor Katz (Jessie Mae Watts) — The Trip to Bountiful — Raven TheatreAshleigh LaThrop (Jade) — Motortown — Steep Theatre CompanyNina O'Keefe (Lorna) — Golden Boy — Griffin Theatre CompanyNora Lise Ulrey (Mary Tilford) — The Children's Hour — Pride Films and PlaysSarah Wellington (Performer) — Veronica's Room — Bohemian Theatre Ensemble
Actress in a Supporting Role — Musical
Victoria Blade (Susan) — Sweet Smell of Success — Kokandy ProductionsCharlotte Mae Ellison (Olive Ostrovsky) — The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee — Griffin Theatre CompanyJasondra Johnson (Dorcas) — Dessa Rose — Bailiwick ChicagoLaura McClain (Rona Lisa Peretti) — The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee — Griffin Theatre CompanyKatie Miller (Lady of the Lake) — Monty Python's Spamalot — NightBlue Performing Arts CompanyColette Todd (Clara) — Passion — Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre
Joel Kim Booster — Kate and Sam Are Not Breaking Up — The New ColonyBilal Dardai — The Sovereign Statement — The Neo-FuturistsPhilip Dawkins — Miss Marx: or the involuntary side effect of living — Strawdog Theatre CompanyWill Dunne — The Roper — The Den TheatreMaureen Gallagher — Comrades Mine — City Lit Theater CompanyManny Tamayo — Incident on Run #1217 — Factory Theater
Steve Gooch (translator) — The Mother — Oracle ProductionsSean Graney — 12 Nights — The HypocritesThom Pasculli — Core of the Pudel/ Gutting the Legend of Faust — Trap Door TheatreChristopher M. Walsh — A Tale of Two Cities — Lifeline TheatrePaul Edwards — A Study in Scarlet — Promethean Theatre Ensemble
Linda Fortunato — Kiss of the Spider Woman — BoHo TheatreKelsey Overberg and Christopher Pazdernik — Monty Python's Spamalot — NightBlue Performing Arts CompanyBrandon Powers — Pink Milk — Oracle Productions in association with White ElephantSteven Spanopoulos — Sweet Smell of Success — Kokandy Productions
Original Music in a Play
Josh Brechner — Pink Milk — Oracle Productions i/a/w White ElephantJonathan Guillen and Nicholas Tonozzi — The Mother — Oracle ProductionsAndrew Hansen — A Tale of Two Cities — Lifeline TheatreLeif Olsen — The Playboy of the Western World — Raven Theatre
Aaron Benham — Sweet Smell of Success — Kokandy ProductionsElizabeth Doran — Kiss of the Spider Woman — Bohemian Theatre EnsembleJames Morehead — Dessa Rose — Bailiwick Chicago
Buck Blue — Lascivious Something — Signal Ensemble TheatreAndrei Onegin — The Playboy of the Western World — Raven TheatreAmanda Rozmiarek — Brighton Beach Memoirs — Raven TheatreJameson Sanford — Veronica's Room — BoHo TheatreCarolyn Voss — Through the Leaves — the side project
Jessica Carson — Pink Milk — Oracle Productions i/a/w White ElephantDiane D. Fairchild — A Tale of Two Cities — Lifeline TheatreBrian Hoehne — Dessa Rose — Bailiwick ChicagoJohn Kelly — Great Expectations — Strawdog Theatre CompanyJared Moore — Ivywild — The HypocritesKurt Ottinger — The Playboy of the Western World — Raven Theatre
Theresa Ham — Amadeus — BoHo TheatreIzumi Inaba — The Life and Death of Madam Barker — Red Tape TheatreBeth Laske-Miller — A Study in Scarlet — Promethean Theatre EnsembleAlaina Moore — The Playboy of the Western World — Raven TheatreKate Setzer Kamphausen — Christmas Dearest — Hell In A Handbag ProductionsMieka van der Ploeg — Golden Boy — Griffin Theatre Company
Andrew Hansen — A Tale of Two Cities — Lifeline TheatreKevin O'Donnell — Ivywild — The HypocritesStephen Ptacek — The Killer Angels — Lifeline TheatreDanny Rockett and Cooper Forsman — Core of the Pudel/Gutting the Legend of Faust — Trap Door TheatreRick Sims — Golden Boy — Griffin Theatre Company
Ryan Bourque — Reverb — Redtwist TheatreMatt Hawkins — The Three Musketeers — Lifeline TheatreJohn Moran and Matt Engle — Incident on Run #1217 — Factory TheaterDavid Woolley — The Playboy of the Western World — Raven Theatre
Jeremy Clark — Video Design — The Mother — Oracle ProductionsJohn Fournier — Music and Lyrics — The Life and Death of Madam Barker — Red Tape TheatreMegan Hovany, Nick Rupard and Luke Verkamp — Puppet Design — The People's A Christmas Wish — Quest Theatre EnsembleScott C. Lamps and Andrew Park — Music and Lyrics — The People's A Christmas Wish — Quest Theatre EnsembleMary O'Dowd — Properties/Set Dressing — Brighton Beach Memoirs — Raven Theatre