Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre and The Hypocrites
Take Top Honors at Non-Equity Jeff Awards
June 4, 2012 - Chicago, IL. At the Non-Equity Jeff Awards held at Park West on Monday, June 4, Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre took most awards with 6 honors for their jewel box production of “A Light in the Piazza” including Production-Musical, Director-Musical for Fred Anzevino and Brenda Didier, Principal Actress for Kelli Harrington, Supporting Actor for Justin Adair, Music Director for Jeremy Ramey and, in a new award recognition, Dialect Coach for Eva Breneman. The Hypocrites’ avant-garde play “Sophocles: Seven Sicknesses” accrued 4 awards for Production-Play, Director and New Adaptation for Sean Graney, and Lighting Design for Jared Moore. “Punk Rock” by Griffin Theatre Company collected the Ensemble award, Director-Play for Jonathan Berry, and Principal Actor-Play for Joey DeBettencourt.
An audience of over 600 enjoyed the gala evening featuring musical production numbers from Bailiwick Chicago’s “Passing Strange” and “Violet,” Griffin Theatre’s “Spring Awakening,” and Theo Ubique’s “Pump Boys and Dinettes” and “The Light in the Piazza.” Emcees Vanessa Greenway, an artistic associate at Griffin Theatre, and Terry Hamilton, an associate artist at TimeLine Theatre Company, presided over an evening that recognized 141 nominations in 25 categories from 49 productions and ultimately honored 34 recipients from 15 theatres with 31 awards celebrating excellence in all aspects of Chicago Non-Equity theatre. Director for the ceremony was Ronna Kaye, and Non-Equity Chair Doug Bradburd produced the event.
The Building Stage claimed 3 awards for “Moby-Dick” with New Adaptation honors going to Blake Montgomery, Original Incidental Music to Kevin O’Donnell, and an award for Percussion (Artistic Specialization) toCasey Baker, Kevin O'Donnell and Mike Przygoda. “Urinetown The Musical” from Circle Theatre took awards for Choreography by Artistic Director Kevin Bellie and Costume Design of Jesus Perez, while Chuck Sisson received the Principal Role-Musical nod in Circle’s “The Baker’s Wife.” Redtwist Theatre took home 2 honors for “Opus” with Sound Design by three-time nominee Christopher Kriz and Music Coach (Artistic Specialization) for Zhanna Bullock, andJacqueline Grandt received Principal Actress-Play award for her gritty role as Agnes in “Bug.”
The New Work awards, an integral part of the fabric of Chicago theatre, went to Shepsu Aakhu for his play “Speaking in Tongues: The Chronicles of Babel” produced by MPAACT, where he is a founding member, and to New Yorker Deirdre O’Connor for “Assisted Living,” which played in a much extended run at Profiles Theatre.
Additional acting awards were presented to Melanie Keller for Principal Role-Actress in "East of Berlin & The Russian Play" at Signal Ensemble Theatre, to Aaron Kirby for Actor in a Supporting Role-Play in "Dark Play or Stories for Boys" at Collaboraction, to Sasha Gioppo for Actress in a Supporting Role-Play in "Red Light Winter" at Mary-Arrchie Theatre Company, and to Dana Tretta for Actress in a Supporting Role – Musical in “Pippin” at Bohemian Theatre Ensemble.
On behalf of the Jeff Awards, Chair Diane Hires welcomed the audience and presented the Special Award to Chicago Park District’s Theater on the Lake, which celebrates its 60th Anniversary this month. Theater on the Lake was honored for developing new audiences for Non-Equity theaters and artists and expanding theater opportunities throughout the Chicago community. In the early years of this Park District program, Chicago’s up-and-coming talent participated in neighborhood theatre programs, and the best plays were honored in a showcase of amateur community theatre performances on the lake. In recent years, the Theater on the Lake Program has grown in scope, remounting a cross section of the city’s most outstanding plays from both Non-Equity and Equity theaters.
The Jeff Awards has been honoring outstanding theatre artists annually since it was established in 1968. With an active contingent of 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 Equity Awards Ceremony, honoring productions presented under union contracts, will be held on Monday, October 15, 2012, at the Drury Lane Oakbrook in Oakbrook Terrace.
2012 Non-Equity Jeff Award Recipients
"The Light in the Piazza" — Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre
Jonathan Berry — "Punk Rock" — Griffin Theatre Company
Sean Graney — "Sophocles: Seven Sicknesses" — The Hypocrites
Fred Anzevino and Brenda Didier — "The Light in the Piazza" — Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre
Joey DeBettencourt — "Punk Rock" — Griffin Theatre Company
Melanie Keller — "East of Berlin & The Russian Play" — Signal Ensemble Theatre
Kelli Harrington — "The Light in the Piazza" — Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre
Aaron Kirby — "Dark Play or Stories for Boys" — Collaboraction
Justin Adair — "The Light in the Piazza" — Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre
Sasha Gioppo — "Red Light Winter" — Mary-Arrchie Theatre Co.
Shepsu Aakhu — "Speaking in Tongues: The Chronicles of Babel" — MPAACT
Deirdre O'Connor — "Assisted Living" — Profiles Theatre
Sean Graney — "Sophocles: Seven Sicknesses" — The Hypocrites
Blake Montgomery — "Moby-Dick" — The Building Stage
Kevin Bellie — "Urinetown the Musical" — Circle Theatre
Ovidiu Iloc — "The Word Progress on My Mother's Lips Doesn't Ring True" — Trap Door Theatre
Jeremy Ramey — "The Light in the Piazza" — Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre
Jared Moore — "Sophocles: Seven Sicknesses" — The Hypocrites
Jesus Perez — "Urinetown the Musical" — Circle Theatre
Matt Hawkins — "Cyrano" — The House Theatre of Chicago
Eva Breneman — "The Light in the Piazza" — Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre
Casey Baker, Kevin O'Donnell and Mike Przygoda — Percussion — "Moby-Dick" — The Building Stage
Zhanna Bullock — Music Coach — "Opus" — Redtwist Theatre
2011-2012 Non-Equity Statistics
In the season ended March 31, 2012, the Jeff Awards Committee judged the opening nights of 154 Non-Equity productions from 71 Non-Equity producing organizations. Of these, 64 productions were recommended by the opening night judges and became eligible for nominations.