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Jeff Awards won't consider Carousel

Written by
Kris Vire

The committee that administers the Joseph Jefferson Awards has decided that musical theater productions at the Lyric Opera will not be eligible for the Jeff Awards—despite its having deemed this spring's Carousel as "Jeff recommended," the first step toward potential Jeff nominations.

Eyebrows were raised in some circles when Carousel received the recommended designation, given the Jeff Awards' close association with the Actors' Equity Association union. The Jeffs hold two separate award ceremonies each year, one for shows produced under Equity contracts, and another for non-union productions.

But while Carousel and the Lyric's other Rodgers & Hammerstein productions of recent years have featured plenty of actors who are Equity members, from both Chicago and New York, the productions themselves are neither Equity nor non-union; Lyric, like most opera houses, operates under a contract with another AFL-CIO affiliated union, the American Guild of Musical Artists. The Lyric was notified on Tuesday that its musicals wouldn't be considered going forward, Jeff Committee chair Diane Hires tells me via e-mail.

Work produced on the Lyric Opera stage has, however, been a Jeff Award winner in the recent past: The Second City Guide to the Opera took home two statuettes in 2013 as a co-production between Lyric and Second City, the latter of which produces under Equity contract.

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