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Chicago stage, TV and film star 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.

(Note to Nomiinees: Please send your contact information, as soon as possible, to Merril Prager at equitywing@jeffawards.org.)

Six world premiere plays, three world premiere musicals, and three new adaptations seen first by Chicago audiences were among those receiving Jeff nominations by the Jeff Awards Committee. 187 nominations in 36 categories honor Chicago Equity theatrical productions that opened between August 1, 2004 and July 31, 2015.    During the 2014-15 season, Jeff Awards judges attended opening nights of 149 Equity productions offered by 61 producing organizations, and from these openings, 112 productions were "Jeff Recommended" and eligible for award nominations.  

The 47th Annual Equity Jeff Awards ceremony honoring excellence in professional theatre produced within the immediate Chicago area will be held on Monday, October 5 at Drury Lane Oakbrook, 100 Drury Lane, Oakbrook Terrace.  Emceeing the festivities are multi-talented award-winning performers Cheryl Lynn Bruce and E. Faye Butler.  Performances featuring cast members from nominated musicals and reviews and video segments from nominated plays will highlight the October 5 ceremony, directed by Michael Weber.    Pre-show appetizers and cash bar will be offered from 6-7:30 p.m., followed by the ceremony.   A lavish buffet reception will be held immediately thereafter.  

Advance purchase tickets, which include the ceremony and pre- and post-show parties, are $75 ($55 for members of Actors' Equity Association, United Scenic Artists, Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, Stage Managers' Association, The Dramatists Guild of America and American Federation of Musicians.)  The evening is black tie optional and the public is invited to attend.  To purchase tickets, see the buy ticket button above or download the mail order form.  (Note: there is a $2.50 charge for credit card purchases.)  

For more information, contact Jeff Equity Chair Merril Prager at equitywing@jeffawards.org. 




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.

The Wild Party received Jeff Awards for Production-Musical, Ensemble, Direction of a Musical and Choreography (both helmed by Brenda Didier), as well as Principal Actress in a Musical or Revue for Danni Smith (in the role of Queenie), Principal Actor in a Musical for Matthew Keffer (in the role of Burrs), Musical Direction for Aaron Benham, and Lighting Design for Brian Hoehne. 

Griffin Theatre’s Men Should Weep received Jeff Awards for Production-Play, Direction of a Play for Robin Witt, and Principal Actress in a Play for Lori Myers. 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.



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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2015 Equity Nominations Announced

Michael Shannon to Announce 2015 Equity Awards Nominations

Dean Richards interviews Merril Prager

"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.