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 Photos from the 47th Annual Jeff Awards:  by Johnny Knight.  See photos here.




The Joseph Jefferson Award Committee (Jeff Awards) announced that certain New Works participating in the National New Play Network Rolling Premier Program (www.NNPN.org) will be eligible for Jeff Awards consideration. 

Jeff Awards Chair David Liesse states, “The Jeff Awards has always encouraged the work done by playwrights in developing new scripts. We are cognizant of the funding now available through NNPN to support these playwrights in continuing to refine their works through multiple premieres in multiple cities. By addressing this issue, we are committed to the support of this creative process."

See the press release for more details.





See the complete list of recipients and the press release for all the details

Two theatres in their first year of Equity eligibility received the most awards at the gala 47th Annual Jeff Awards held at Drury Lane Oakbrook on Monday, October 5, which celebrated a season of outstanding productions.  The Hypocrites earned six awards, including Production-Play for a midsize theatre,  for All Our Tragican epic 12-hour adaptation of the 32 surviving Greek tragedies.   Paramount Theatre, in its first year of eligibility, scored five large tier Equity awards, including the statue for Production-Musical for Les Misérables.

Another multi-award winner, including the award for Production-Play for a large theatre, was Moby Dick, the saga of the legendary great white whale, created with aerial acrobatics and produced by Lookingglass Theatre Company and The Actors Gymnasium, 

Production-Musical for a midsize theatre was awarded to The Addams Family, which had an extended run at Mercury Theater Chicago.

Principal acting honors went to Kate Fry as Rosemary Muldoon in Outside Mullingar at Northlight Theatre and Jerod Haynes as Bigger in Native Son at Court Theatre, produced with American Blues Theater.  Awards for principal acting in musicals went to Heidi Kettenring as Anna in The King and I at Marriott Theatre and Nicholas Dantes as Young Billy in Billy Elliot, the Musical at Drury Lane.

In the revue categories, Porchlight Music Theatre’s Sondheim on Sondheim received nods for Production-Revue, for Director Nick Bowling, and for Music Director Austin Cook. Cory Goodrich took home the Actor or Actress in a Revue award for Ring of Fire, The Music of Johnny Cash, a co-production of Mercury Theater Chicago and Theatre at the Center whose six-month run continues through November 1. 

The capacity audience enjoyed live performances from all nominated musicals and revues and video performances from nominated plays.  The Equity Awards ceremony was directed by Michael Weber, with music direction by Linda Madonia and stage management by Colleen Tovar.  Merril Prager, Equity Wing Chair of the Jeff Awards Committee, served as producer for the evening. Performers Cheryl Lynn Bruce and E. Faye Butler emceed the event.  Following the ceremony, guests enjoyed a lavish Drury Lane buffet and dancing.




The Jeff Awards 2015 Equity Special Award was presented to actors Paula Scrofano and John Reeger at the Jeff Awards ceremony on October 5, in recognition of their theatrical career contributions to the Chicago theatre scene over the past five decades.  Paula and John are consummate professionals who have enriched the Chicago community with signature techniques that have brought laughter, tears, chills and thrills to audiences over the years.  This dynamic duo met, studied their craft together, married, raised a family, and based their entire Equity careers in Chicago.  To many of their peers, they serve as an example that even in this day and age it is possible to have a successful career, a family and a life in Chicago theatre.

See the complete press release.






Actor Michael Shannon did the honor of announcing the nominees for the 2014-2015 Equity Jeff Awards.     View the complete list of nominees and the press release for all the details.   During the taping, Jeff Awards Committee Chair Diane Hires had a chance to interview Michael Shannon about his experience with Chicago theatre as well his other stage, TV and film roles.  



See the complete LIST OF RECIPIENTS and the PRESS RELEASE  with all the details. 

Non Equity Awards were given on Monday, June 8, 2015, at Park West, 322 W. Armitage, Chicago.  

The Wild Partya dark, sensual, wanton musical, and Men Should Weep, a tale of a disordered Scottish tenement household, took home top honors Monday, June 8, at Park West during the 42nd Annual Non-Equity Jeff Awards ceremony recognizing excellence in non-union Chicago theatre.  Bailiwick Chicago’s musical of Michael LaChiusa’s The Wild Party led all musical nominees with eight awards, and Griffin Theatre’s Men Should Weep led play nominees with three awards.  Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre’s production of Always…Patsy Cline received the Jeff Award for Production-Revue.  

Brenda Didier directed Monday's ceremony, with musical direction provided by Jimmy Morehead. John D. Glover, Non-Equity Wing Chair of the Jeff Committee, produced the event. 

Diane Hires, Chair of the 55-member Jeff Awards Committee, welcomed the audience and presented this year's Special Jeff Award honoring the career and legacy of Russ Tutterow, longtime Artistic Director and patron of new works at Chicago Dramatists, who recently passed away.

For the second consecutive year, the annual awards gala sold out with 650+ guests, which featured musical production numbers from the season’s nominated musicals and revues, as well as excerpts from the season’s nominated plays.

photos by Bill Richert from the 2015 Jeff Non-Equity ceremony can be found here



The Joseph Jefferson Awards Committee paid a special tribute to the career and legacy of Russ Tutterow at the 2015 Non-Equity Awards Ceremony on June 8, 2015 at Park West.  The Jeff Awards had planned the Special Award honor for Tutterow, Emeritus Artistic Director of Chicago Dramatists, before he became ill and passed away on May 4 of this year.  Meghan Beals, Interim Artistic Director of Chicago Dramatists, will accept the award on his behalf. Russ nurtured local playwrights and developed a collaborative theatre incubator at Chicago Dramatists, where plays were given time and a place to grow. Throughout the three decades during which Russ served as the Artistic Director, he contributed significantly to the cultural life of the City and, through his work with playwrights, enhanced Chicago’s reputation as a great American theatre center. His direction of the world premiere of A Steady Rain written by Keith Huff, subsequently moved to a successful run on Broadway, but his legacy will live on most vividly in Chicago. See the press release.



Early Friday, April 24, 2015, Sean Graney, who recently returned to Chicago to resume his post as Artistic Director of The Hypocrites, informed the Joseph Jefferson Awards Committee that he just learned the theater company had been operating under an Equity CAT-N contract for the duration of the 2014-2015 Non-Equity season.  Over the past year, requests for judging its productions were made to the Non-Equity Wing without the committee having knowledge of the company's Equity status.  The Jeff Committee was aware that two of the productions had Equity performers (as indicated in the program); however, the comittee has now confirmed that these were not guest contracts.  As such, the company's productions are not eligible for consideration in the Non-Equity Wing, and all related Non-Equity Jeff Award nominations have been rescinded.  The productions in question will be shifted to the Equity Wing for awards consideration during its current season, which commenced on August, 1, 2014 and will end on July 30, 2015.

See the full press release.





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Now Playing
Equity Wing | see complete list
The Glass Menagerie
The Hypocrites

The Explorers Club
Windy City Playhouse

Jeeves at Sea
First Folio Theatre

Yasmina's Necklace
16th Street Theater

The Man Who Murdered Sherlock Holmes
Mercury Theater Chicago

Non-Equity Wing | see complete list
The Old Friends
Raven Theatre

The Drawer Boy
Redtwist Theatre

American Buffalo
Mary-Arrchie Theatre Co.

Ma'at Production Association of Afrikan Centered Theater

The Hairy Ape
Oracle Productions

Scrofano and Reeger to receive 2015 Jeff Equity Special Award

2015 Equity Nominations Announced

Michael Shannon to Announce 2015 Equity Awards Nominations

"Jeff Recommended" indicates that at least one element of a show was deemed excellent by opening night judges. The entire production is then eligible for nomination for awards at the end of the season.
The Joseph Jefferson Awards Committee celebrates the vitality of Chicago area theatre by recognizing excellence through its recommendations, awards and honors. The committee fosters the artistic growth of area theatres and theatre artists and promotes educational opportunities, audience appreciation, and civic pride in the achievements of the theatre community.

Help us in our work of fostering high-quality Chicagoland theatre by making a tax-deductible donation. The Jeff Awards is a registered 501(c)(3) organization under the Internal Revenue Code.