Frequently Asked Questions

What does it mean to be "Jeff Recommended"?
The designation of "Jeff Recommended" is given to a production when, after the opening night of its run, at least ONE ELEMENT of the show was deemed excellent  by the opening night judges of the Jeff Awards. The entire production is then eligible for nomination for awards at the end of the season. See details under "Jeff Awards History, Eligibiliy and Judging Mechanics".

What are the differences between Equity and Non-Equity awards?
Equity awards recognize outstanding achievement in productions performed under union contracts. Non-Equity awards recognize outstanding achievement in professional productions not operating under union contracts.

How do I invite the Jeff Judges to my show?
You can make a request by emailing the appropriate wing chair: or 

How do I get tickets to the award show?
Once nominations have been announced, tickets can be purchased online by credit card or with a mail-in form for purchases by check. If available, tickets may be sold at the door for an additional fee.

How do I become a Jeff Judge?
If you are interested in becoming a member apply here or send us an e-mail with questions. A candidate must be knowledgeable about theater, either through professional or academic training, or because of exceptional commitment and exposure to all forms of theater. All members must be able to critically analyze theater and meet the time commitments required of membership. Candidates who are spouses or domestic partners of current Jeff Awards members are not eligible at this time.

What can I expect as a member?
Jeff Awards participation requires a significant commitment. Our membership opportunities offer a range of time commitments while still maintaining the theater excellence authenticity and credibility of the Jeff Awards. Members can vote on the final ballot each season as long as they have met their responsibilities for that complete year. Full Membership requires members to attend a minimum of 50% of Jeff Recommended productions in both Equity and Non-Equity theater wings. Members also have the option of Rotational Membership where they can focus exclusively on one wing for a year, with a six month hiatus between, and then rotate to the other for another year. Rotation members must attend and vote on a minimum of 80% of Jeff Recommended productions. All judges share opening night responsibilities that are randomly assigned. In addition, members serve on one sub-committee, submit ballots for all productions attended, pay annual dues, and submit an annual conflict of interest form. We also attend general meetings and stay engaged through training on theater excellence, dismantling racism and issues of social justice, as well as initiatives focused on equity, diversity and inclusion. Our members are guests of theaters and act as ambassadors to the community when they represent the Jeff Awards at productions.

What can I expect from the membership consideration process?

Our members are invigorated by what is happening in the world and the vital need for diverse voices. That requires that we remain committed to infusing equitable perspectives in how we champion theater excellence. To remain a valued resource for the community we support, our Jeff Awards membership must reflect the diversity of the Chicago theater community. We welcome all interested and qualified candidates, regardless of sex, age, ethnicity, disability, race, color, national origin, sexual orientation or gender identity, or any other basis prohibited by law.   

Once an application has been submitted, the Membership Committee reviews materials and schedules interviews with prospective candidates. Approval of the candidate is by majority vote of the entire committee, and if there is no vacancy, candidates are placed on reserve until a vacancy occurs.