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2017 Equity Jeff Award nominations announced

Written by
Kris Vire
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The Joseph Jefferson Committee announced the nominees on Wednesday for this year’s 49th annual Equity Wing awards, honoring productions that opened between August 1, 2016 and July 31, 2017. As is often the case, the list is heavy on nominations from the big suburban musical houses; this year’s leader is Drury Lane Oakbrook Terrace, with 19. (Because Smokey Joe’s Café was treated as a revue rather than a musical, Drury Lane was eligible for nominations in six different acting categories—and it hit all six.)

Paramount Theatre in Aurora made a strong showing—as it has each year since the Jeff committee altered its rules in 2015 to include Aurora in its geographical boundaries—with 15 nominations, which tied it with Glencoe’s Writers Theatre, which managed the notable achievement of earning two or more nominations for each of five different productions. The Goodman Theatre led the pack inside city limits, with 14 nominations across three productions.

Porchlight Music Theatre, a musical-oriented company in the city, scored with its own unusual achievement: Because its Judy Garland bio piece End of the Rainbow was deemed a play with music and the Stephen Sondheim tuner Marry Me a Little was ruled a revue, it had shots at being nominated in three different production categories for four shows (with its productions of In the Heights and The Scottsboro Boys as musicals), and it got all four.

In the category of Solo Performance, which many years struggles to get a full count of nominees, this year there are four—all from the Greenhouse Theater Center’s yearlong “Solo Celebration!” series. And in a further quirk of the Jeff committee’s bylaws, American Blues Theater’s perennial holiday production of It’s a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago! returned to eligibility this year—its 15th year running—and picked up nominations for midsize production of a play and ensemble.

The complete list of nominations follows. The 2017 Equity Jeff Awards will be presented at Drury Lane Oakbrook Terrace on November 6.

Production—Play—Large

Blues for an Alabama Sky, Court Theatre
East Texas Hot Links, Writers Theatre
Hand to God, Victory Gardens Theater
Man in the Ring, Court Theatre
Uncle Vanya, Goodman Theatre

Production—Play—Midsize

Born Yesterday, Remy Bumppo Theatre Company
The Columnist, American Blues Theater
End of the Rainbow, Porchlight Music Theatre
It’s a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago!, American Blues Theater
Silent Sky, First Folio Theatre

Production—Musical—Large

Chicago, Drury Lane Oakbrook Terrace
Crazy for You, Drury Lane Oakbrook Terrace
Disney's The Little Mermaid, Paramount Theatre
Parade, Writers Theatre
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Paramount Theatre

Production—Musical—Midsize

Disney's Mary Poppins, Mercury Theater Chicago
In the Heights, Porchlight Music Theatre 
The Scottsboro Boys, Porchlight Music Theatre 

Production—Revue

Marry Me a Little, Porchlight Music Theatre 
Smokey Joe's Café, Drury Lane Oakbrook Terrace
Spamilton, Royal George Theatre

Ensemble

Blizzard ’67, 16th Street Theater
East Texas Hot Links, Writers Theatre
It's a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago!, American Blues Theater
The Scottsboro Boys, Porchlight Music Theatre
Smokey Joe's Café, Drury Lane Oakbrook Terrace
Spamilton, Royal George Theatre

New Play

Michael Cristofer, Man in the Ring, Court Theatre
Selina Fillinger, Faceless, Northlight Theatre
Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon, Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley, Northlight Theatre
Ike Holter, The Wolf at the End of the Block, Teatro Vista
Antoinette Nwandu, Pass Over, Steppenwolf Theatre Company
Madhuri Shekar, Queen, Victory Gardens Theater
Charles Smith, Objects in the Mirror, Goodman Theatre

Director—Play

David Darlow, Born Yesterday, Remy Bumppo Theatre Company
Gary Griffin, Hand to God, Victory Gardens Theater
Charles Newell, Man in the Ring, Court Theatre
Ron OJ Parson, Blues for an Alabama Sky, Court Theatre
Ron OJ Parson, East Texas Hot Links, Writers Theatre
Chuck Smith, Objects in the Mirror, Goodman Theatre

Director—Musical or Revue

Jim Corti, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Paramount Theatre
Matthew Crowle, Crazy for You, Drury Lane Oakbrook Terrace
Marcia Milgrom Dodge, Smokey Joe’s Café, Drury Lane Oakbrook Terrace
Gary Griffin, Parade, Writers Theatre
William Osetek, Chicago, Drury Lane Oakbrook Terrace

Principal Actor—Play

Allen Gilmore (Emile Griffith), Man in the Ring, Court Theatre
Allen Gilmore (John Workolo), Objects in the Mirror, Goodman Theatre
Erik Hellman (Arthur de Bourgh), Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley, Northlight Theatre
Daniel Kyri (Shedrick Kennedy Yarkpai), Objects in the Mirror, Goodman Theatre
Mike Nussbaum (Albert Einstein), Relativity, Northlight Theatre 
Alex Weisman (Jason/Tyrone), Hand to God, Victory Gardens Theater

Principal Actor—Musical

Clyde Alves (Bobby Child), Crazy for You, Drury Lane Oakbrook Terrace 
Patrick Andrews (Leo Frank), Parade, Writers Theatre 
Alex Goodrich (Georg Nowack), She Loves Me, Marriott Theatre 
Paul-Jordan Jansen (Sweeney Todd), Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Paramount Theatre
Nathaniel Stampley (Robert), The Bridges of Madison County, Marriott Theatre

Principal Actress—Play

Cassandra Bissell (Henrietta Leavitt), Silent Sky, First Folio Theatre
Chaon Cross (Hilary), The Hard Problem, Court Theatre 
Angela Ingersoll (Judy Garland), End of the Rainbow, Porchlight Music Theatre 
Elizabeth Ledo (Erica), Bright Half Life, About Face Theatre 
Eliza Stoughton (Billie Dawn), Born Yesterday, Remy Bumppo Theatre Company
Lisa Tejero (Vivian Bearing), Wit, The Hypocrites

Principal Actress—Musical

Kelly Felthous (Roxie Hart), ChicagoDrury Lane Oakbrook Terrace 
Bri Sudia (Mrs. Lovett), Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Paramount Theatre
Bri Sudia (Ruth Sherwood), Wonderful Town, Goodman Theatre 
Kathy Voytko (Francesca), The Bridges of Madison County, Marriott Theatre
Aerial “Mon Aerie” Williams (Younger Josephine), Black Pearl: A Tribute to Josephine Baker, Black Ensemble Theater

Solo Performance

Will Allan (Chester), Circumference of a Squirrel, Greenhouse Theater Center
Linda Reiter (Rose Kennedy), Rose, Greenhouse Theater Center
Simon Slater (Derek Eveleigh), Bloodshot, Greenhouse Theater Center
Gene Weygandt (Matty), Uncle Phillip’s Coat, Greenhouse Theater Center

Supporting Actor—Play

Marton Csokas (Astrov), Uncle Vanya, Goodman Theatre 
Keith Kupferer (Howard), The Mystery of Love & Sex, Writers Theatre 
Adam Poss (Arvind Patel), Queen, Victory Gardens Theater
Tommy Rivera-Vega (Eli), Parachute Men, Teatro Vista

Supporting Actor—Musical

Larry Adams (Bela Zangler), Crazy for You, Drury Lane Oakbrook Terrace 
Jonathan Butler-Duplessis (Sebastian), Disney’s The Little Mermaid, Paramount Theatre
Jonathan Butler-Duplessis (Jim Conley), Parade, Writers Theatre 
Alex Goodrich (Bud Frump), How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Marriott Theatre
James Earl Jones II (Ladislav Sipos), She Loves Me, Marriott Theatre

Supporting Actress—Play

Kristen Bush (Yelena), Uncle Vanya, Goodman Theatre 
Kymberly Mellen (Susan Mary Alsop), The Columnist, American Blues Theater 
Lia Mortensen (Lucinda), The Mystery of Love & Sex, Writers Theatre 
Caroline Neff (Sonya), Uncle Vanya, Goodman Theatre

Supporting Actress—Musical

Felicia Boswell (Mary Magdalene), Jesus Christ Superstar, Paramount Theatre 
E. Faye Butler (Matron Mama Morton), Chicago, Drury Lane Oakbrook Terrace
Angela Ingersoll (Hedy La Rue), How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Marriott Theatre
Iris Lieberman (Fraulein Schneider), Cabaret, Theatre at the Center 
Meghan Murphy (Tanya), Mamma Mia!, Marriott Theatre

Actor—Revue

Austin Cook (The Man), Marry Me a Little, Porchlight Music Theatre 
Justin Keyes (Little Walter), Smokey Joe’s Café, Drury Lane Oakbrook Terrace
Yando Lopez (Ensemble), Spamilton, Royal George Theatre
Evan Tyrone Martin (Ensemble), I Left My Heart: A Salute to the Music of Tony Bennett, Mercury Theater Chicago

Actress—Revue

Michelle Lauto (Ensemble), Spamilton, Royal George Theatre 
Donica Lynn (Willie Mae), Smokey Joe’s Café, Drury Lane Oakbrook Terrace
Meghan Murphy (Ruth), Smokey Joe’s Café, Drury Lane Oakbrook Terrace
Bethany Thomas (The Woman), Marry Me a Little, Porchlight Music Theatre 

Scenic Design—Large

William Boles, Native Gardens, Victory Gardens Theater
Linda Buchanan, Blues for an Alabama Sky, Court Theatre
Jeffrey D. Kmiec, Disney’s The Little Mermaid, Paramount Theatre
Jack Magaw, East Texas Hot Links, Writers Theatre
Courtney O'Neill, Harvey, Court Theatre
Todd Rosenthal, Uncle Vanya, Goodman Theatre

Scenic Design—Midsize

Angela Weber Miller, Captain Blood, First Folio Theatre
Greg Pinsoneault, In the Heights, Porchlight Music Theatre
Christopher Rhoton, End of the Rainbow, Porchlight Music Theatre
Grant Sabin, Born Yesterday, Remy Bumppo Theatre Company
Joe Schermoly, Naperville, Theater Wit

Costume Design—Large

Theresa Ham, Disney’s The Little Mermaid, Paramount Theatre
Theresa Ham, Mamma Mia!, Marriott Theatre
Rachel Healy, Blues for an Alabama Sky, Court Theatre
Susan E. Mickey, Shakespeare in Love, Chicago Shakespeare Theater
Sully Ratke, Chicago, Drury Lane Oakbrook Terrace

Costume Design—Midsize

Kristy Leigh Hall, Pygmalion, Remy Bumppo Theatre Company
Izumi Inaba, A Comedical Tragedy for Mister Punch, The House Theatre of Chicago
Kate Setzer Kamphausen, In the Heights, Porchlight Music Theatre
Bill Morey, End of the Rainbow, Porchlight Music Theatre
Mieka van der Ploeg, The Great and Terrible Wizard of Oz, The House Theatre of Chicago

Sound Design—Large

Mikhail Fiksel, The Hunter and the Bear, Writers Theatre
Rob Milburn and Michael Bodeen, Julius Caesar, Writers Theatre
Andre Pluess, Man in the Ring, Court Theatre
Richard Woodbury, Uncle Vanya, Goodman Theatre

Sound Design—Midsize

Joe Court, 10 Out of 12, Theater Wit
Heath Hays, The Room, A Red Orchid Theatre
Grover Holloway, The Great and Terrible Wizard of Oz, The House Theatre of Chicago
Jeffrey Levin, The River Bride, Halcyon Theatre

Lighting Design—Large

Nick Belley and Jesse Klug, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Paramount Theatre
Bart Cortright, The Hunter and the Bear, Writers Theatre
Lee Fiskness, Chicago, Drury Lane Oakbrook Terrace
Greg Hofmann, Jesus Christ Superstar, Paramount Theatre
Jesse Klug, Disney’s The Little Mermaid, Paramount Theatre

Lighting Design—Midsize

Erik Barry, Circumference of a Squirrel, Greenhouse Theater Center
Christine Binder, Bright Half Life, About Face Theatre
Cat Davis, The River Bride, Halcyon Theatre
John Kelly, I Am My Own Wife, About Face Theatre
Michael Stanfill, Wit, The Hypocrites

Choreography

Matthew Crowle, Crazy for You, Drury Lane Oakbrook Terrace
Jane Lanier, Chicago, Drury Lane Oakbrook Terrace
Ericka Mac, Mamma Mia!, Marriott Theatre
Tammy Mader, Singin’ in the Rain, Marriott Theatre
Alex Sanchez, Wonderful Town, Goodman Theatre

Original Music

Neil Bartram, Shakespeare in Love, Chicago Shakespeare Theater
Orbert Davis, Paradise Blue, TimeLine Theatre Company
Chirstopher Kriz, Silent Sky, First Folio Theatre
Ronnie Malley, Great Expectations, Silk Road Rising and Remy Bumppo Theatre Company

Music Direction

Austin Cook, Marry Me a Little, Porchlight Music Theatre
Roberta Duchak, Smokey Joe’s Café, Drury Lane Oakbrook Terrace
Michael Mahler, Parade, Writers Theatre
Doug Peck, Wonderful Town, Goodman Theatre
Tom V
endafreddo, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Paramount Theatre

Puppet Design

Jesse Mooney-Bullock, A Comedical Tragedy for Mister Punch, The House Theatre of Chicago
Jesse Mooney-Bullock, Disney’s The Little Mermaid, Paramount Theatre
Blair Thomas, Mr. and Mrs. Pennyworth, Lookingglass Theatre Company

Proiection Design

Christopher Ash, Mamma Mia!, Paramount Theatre
Paul Deziel, Beauty’s Daughter, American Blues Theater
Stephan Mazurek, The Fundamentals, Steppenwolf Theatre Company
Mike Tutaj, Julius Caesar, Writers Theatre
Mike Tutaj, Objects in the Mirror, Goodman Theatre

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