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Chicago Shakespeare Theater, The Goodman Theatre Receive Highest Number of Awards, Including Best Productions

CHICAGO, November 1, 2004 – The Joseph Jefferson Awards Committee presented 25 awards in 24 categories plus two Special Awards at the 36th Annual Joseph Jefferson Awards in evening ceremonies held at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie.

Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s Rose Rage, Henry VI Parts 1, 2, and 3 was the most recognized production, earning four Jeff awards including Production – Play. It transferred to New York following its Chicago run. The theatre company also garnered the most awards with seven Jeffs, including Director – Play, Director – Musical, Ensemble, Actor in a Supporting Role, Actress in a Supporting Role and Scenic Design.

The Goodman Theatre, the second top award recipient with five awards, received three Jeff Awards for The Light in the Piazza, which also won Best Production – Musical. It was produced in association with Seattle’s The Intiman Theatre. Other Goodman awards included: Actress in a Principal Role – Musical, Lighting Design, Sound Design and Special Achievement in Percussion.

Victory Gardens Theater walked away with three total Jeff Awards, two in the New Works category, for Trying, now running Off-Broadway, and Free Man of Color. Renowned stage, screen and TV actor Fritz Weaver also received the Principal Actor in a Play award for his role in Trying. About Face Theatre was awarded three Jeffs, including two for Winesburg, Ohio, which won for New Adaptation and Actor in a Supporting Role – Musical, in addition to Original Incidental Music for Pulp.

Special Jeff Awards were presented to Court Theatre and Dr. Bella Itkin. Nick Rudall accepted for Court Theatre, cited for 50 years of excellence in the production of modern and traditional classics. Dr. Bella Itkin accepted her Special Jeff Award for her lifetime of dedication to the training, education and continued development of actors and directors.

During the 2003-2004 season (running August 1, 2003 - July 31, 2004), the 45-member Jeff Committee judged a total of 133 Equity productions offered by 55 local producing organizations. The committee recommended a total of 88 productions presented by 47 of those producing organizations. The final roster of 124 Jeff nominations in 23 categories represents 58 productions from 25 producing organizations.

Founded in 1968, the mission of the Joseph Jefferson Awards Committee is to honor excellence in theatrical productions in the Chicago theatre community. Originally chartered to recognize Equity productions, the Citations non-Equity wing was founded in 1973 to celebrate outstanding achievement in non-union Chicago theatre. The committee, composed of theatre professionals and enthusiasts, evaluates approximately 200 theatrical productions and holds two awards ceremonies each year. The Citations Awards, honoring outstanding achievement in non-union productions, are presented in early June.

Click here for the complete listing of 2003-2004 Joseph Jefferson Equity awards.

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Jeffrey Marks, Equity Chair
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