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The Joseph Jefferson Awards Committee will pay 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.



The non-Equity Awards ceremony will be held on Monday, June 8, 2015, at Park West, 322 W. Armitage, Chicago.  Doors open with a cash bar at 6 p.m., light buffet at 6:30 p.m., and the awards ceremony at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $40 in advance and $45 at the door.  A group rate of $35 is available for partiies of 10 or more.  Festive cocktail attire is suggested, and the public is cordially invited.   Tickets can be purchased online above with a credit card or by mail with the downloadable  mail order form.  

Nominations for the 42nd annual Jeff Non-Equity Awards were announced on April 23.   Included are 118 nominations in 24 categories for productions that opened between April 1, 2014, and March 31, 2015. The Non-Equity Awards honor excellence in Chicago theatres not under a union contract.   See the complete list of nominations.

NOTICE TO NOMINEES: Please provide your contact information and digital color headshot, as soon as possible, to John D. Glover at nonequitywing@jeffawards.org. 

For more information, contact John D. Glover, Non-Equity Wing Chair, at nonequitywing@jeffawards.org.  Follow live twitter feeds from the ceremony and behind the scenes at #josephjefferson.



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.



See the complete list and the press release with all the details.

At the gala  46th Annual Equity Jeff Awards held at Drury Lane Oakbrook on Monday, October 13, awards were spread among numerous theatres honoring a season of outstanding productions.  

From Writers Theatre, The Dance of Death received the Production-Play award for a large theatre, along with its two principal actors Larry Yando and Shannon Cochrane.  The Normal Heart, presented by TimeLine Theatre Company was honored with awards for Production- Play for a midsize theatre and for Director Nick Bowling.  

Goodman Theatre's revival of Brigadoon received the large tier Musical Award, as well as Costume Design for Mara Blumenfeld, and Choreography for Rachel Rockwell.  Hank Williams: Lost Highway won for Midsize Musical, along with lead actor Matthew Brumlow and Music Director Malcolm Ruhl.  Next to Normal at Drury Lane Productions received awards for Principal Actress Susie McMonagle and Director William Osetek. 

In the Revue categories, Porchlight Music Theatre's Ain't Misbehavin' won for Production - Revue, as well as awards for Director Brenda Didier, and for the band"s  pianist and conductor Austin Cook. Renee Mathews took home the Actress in a Revue award for Old Jews Telling Jokes and John Hartman won Actor in a Revue for Depraved New World at The Second City.

The prestigious Ensemble Award, sponsored by Actors' Equity Association, went to Seanachai Theatre Company's production of The Seafarer.

(See above for the complete list.)

In a year of enormous loss to the theatre community, the ceremony featured a moving photographic memorial that honored 24 theater professionals  and was underscored by the cast of Women at the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown from Theatre at the Center performing No One is Alone, vocal arrangement by Michael Mahler.

The capacity audience viewed 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, Wing Chair of the Jeff Awards Committee, served as producer for the evening.  Director Henry Godinez and actor Gene Weygandt emceed the event.  Following the ceremony, guests enjoyed a lavish Drury Lane buffet and dancing.  

Listen to the interview with Jeff Equity Chair Merril Prager and WGN's Dean Richards, Sunday, October 20, following the awards.



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Equity Wing | see complete list
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Dean Richards interviews Merril Prager

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"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.