Special Jeff Awards Announced

Special Jeff Award to Honor William Pullinsi’s 50 Years in Theatre: Ceremony to Include Tribute to Second City’s 50th Anniversary

October 1, 2009 - Chicago, IL.  A Special Jeff Award will be presented to director/producer William Pullinsi at the Jeff Awards Ceremony, October 19th, in recognition of his 50 years in theatre. The SecondCity will receive a Tribute Award in honor of their 50th Anniversary.  "Our ceremony will include highlights of SecondCity’s unique brand of humor over the years and performances by the casts of “Studs Terkel’s Not Working” and “America:  All Better,” says Producer Diane Hires.


Pullinsi was the founder and artistic director of Candlelight Playhouse, America’s first dinner theater, which opened in Washington, D.C., in 1959 and Summit, IL in 1961. Pullinsi is widely recognized for his work as director of the American musical.  He has served as Artistic Director at Theatre at the Center since 2005.  He has directed and/or produced more than 400 shows in his career, receiving 18 Jeff Awards. He also produced many shows posting record-breaking multi-year-runs, including “Fiddler on the Roof,” “Man of La Mancha,” and “Little Shop of Horrors,” which transferred to the RoyalGeorgeTheatre. Highlights of his career include purchasing the Broadway set of “Company” from Hal Prince; the off-Broadway plants for “Little Shop of Horrors,” and the Tony Award-winning costumes from “Nine.”  Pullinsi also opened the Forum Theatre in 1970 to present more serious and thought-provoking theatre, including “The National Health,” “Robert and Elizabeth,” and the world premiere of “Boss.”  Additionally, at Candlelight, he took chances on musicals considered to be artistic or commercial flops that he turned major successes in the Chicagoland area, including “Follies,” “Song & Dance,” and “Rags.”


Shows for which he received Jeff Awards for both Production and Direction include: “Follies,” “Into the Woods,” “Phantom,” “Little Shop of Horrors,” “Nine,” “The National Health,” and “Man of La Mancha.”  He directed “Into the Woods” at Marriott’s Lincolnshire Theatre; and the long-running “Over the Tavern” at Northlight Theatre and the Mercury Theatre.  William Pullinsi served as Associate Producer of “Trying,” a new play off Broadway.


Pullinsi received his B.F.A. from Boston Conservatory, did graduate work at the GoodmanSchool and received the honorary degree of Doctor of Humanities from LewisUniversity. He was named a Distinguished Artist in the Theatre by the Chicago Academy of Arts and also by the Chicago Drama League. In 1989, Pullinsi became the first American director to stage a musical in Russia with a Soviet cast and crew, directing “Man of La Mancha” during a five week visit to the Drama Theatre of Turgenev in Orel.  Pullinsi is a lifelong member of Actors Equity Association and a member of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers.


The 41st Annual Jeff Awards ceremony will be held on Monday, October 19, at the NorthShoreCenter for the Performing Arts in Skokie,

9501 Skokie Boulevard
. A pre-show Appetizer Buffet will run from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., and the Awards Ceremony, directed by Michael Weber, will begin at 7:30 p.m. Advance purchase tickets, which include the ceremony and the pre-show buffet, are $75 ($55 for members of Actors¢ Equity Association, United Scenic Artists, Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers, and the Dramatists Guild of America). The evening is black tie optional, and the public is cordially invited to attend. To purchase tickets, visit the Jeff Awards website at www.jeffawards.org. For more information, please contact Diane Hires at equitywing@jeffawards.org.


The Jeff Awards has been honoring outstanding theatre artists annually since it was established in 1968. With up to 50 members representing a wide variety of backgrounds in theatre, the Jeff Awards is committed to celebrating the vitality of Chicago area theatre by recognizing excellence through its recommendations, awards, and honors.  The Jeff Awards 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.  The Jeff Awards evaluates over 250 theatrical productions and holds two awards ceremonies annually. Originally chartered to recognize only Equity productions, the Jeff Awards established the Non-Equity Wing in 1973 to celebrate outstanding achievement in non-union theatre. The next Non-Equity awards ceremony will be held at the Park West on June 7, 2010.




Your complimentary ticket to the 41st Annual Jeff Awards Ceremony will be held at the News Media table at NorthShoreCenter for the Performing Arts only if you make a reservation in advance with Jeffrey Marks at 312.606.0400 or media@jeffawards.org.


Names of award recipients will be released immediately following the presentation ceremony October 19 by email and on our website. Photos from the event will be available on our website. A Media Curtain is available for your own photos. We will also have an interview area available to you, and will assist in bringing interviewees to that area. If you need a quote
or interview with any Jeff Awards committee member, please call or e-mail Jeffrey Marks at
312-606-0400 or


The Jeff Awards website, www.jeffawards.org, lists all the current Equity nominees and statistics, along with other Jeff Awards information and news.