The Jeff Awards today announced 124 nominations in 25 categories for Non-Equity Jeff Awards for productions that opened between April 1, 2011, and March 31, 2012. The Non-Equity Awards honor excellence in Chicago theatres not under a union contract. Jeff Awards judges covered opening nights of 154 productions offered by 71 Non-Equity producing organizations. The judges recommended 64 of those shows, making them eligible for Non-Equity Jeff Award nominations. Thirty-two theatre companies received nominations.
Theo Ubique, with another bold season of musicals in their tiny Glenwood Arts District storefront, earned 14 nods, the most of any theatre company. “The Light in the Piazza,” a musical love story set in Italy, received eight mentions; “Pump Boys and Dinettes,” about patrons and waitresses at the Double Cupp Diner, had 6 nominations.
The 2012 nominations also recognized the strong seasons at Griffin Theatre Company, the new Bailiwick Chicago, and Mary-Arrchie Theatre Co. Griffin Theatre scored 11 nominations for two works: six for “Punk Rock,” a British play about issues of contemporary high school students; and five for “Spring Awakening,” a musical about teenage repression in 19th century Germany. Bailiwick Chicago scored 10 nominations, including five for “Passing Strange,” a rock musical about an African American’s artistic self-discovery, and five for “Violet,” a musical about a disfigured woman on a journey of healing. Mary-Arrchie Theatre Co. scored eight nominations: four with their hit “Superior Donuts,” the Tracy Letts play about an Uptown donut shop; and four for a tale of a complicated love triangle, ”Red Light Winter,” soon to be released as a motion picture. The Hypocrites’ bold adaptation of the “Sophocles: Seven Sicknesses” cycle garnered six nominations, tying with Griffin’s “Punk Rock” for most play nominations.
More Non-Equity theatres achieved eligibility this season, with 71 companies represented, up from 65 last year, and 61 in 2010, while two venerable Non-Equity companies, The House Theatre of Chicago and Profiles Theatre, moved to Equity contracts.
This year’s nominations also highlight the strength and diversity of artistic specializations that theatres have available to draw upon. This year there were sufficient nominations to merit separate awards categories for fight design and dialect coaching, while the broader “artistic specialization” category includes nominations for a range of skills such as gore design and percussion.
The 39th Annual Non-Equity Jeff Awards Ceremony will be held on Monday, June 4, 2012, at the Park West, 322 W. Armitage, Chicago, IL. Doors open for a cash bar at 6:00 p.m., with a light buffet at 6:30 p.m., and the presentation ceremony at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $40 in advance, $45 at the door. A group rate of $35 is available for parties of 10 or more. Festive cocktail attire is suggested, and the public is cordially invited. Tickets may be purchased online with a credit card at www.jeffawards.org or by mail with the downloadable mail-order form.
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 Awards Nominees:
Production — Play
"Opus" — Redtwist Theatre
"Punk Rock" — Griffin Theatre Company
"Red Light Winter" — Mary-Arrchie Theatre Co.
"Sophocles: Seven Sicknesses" — The Hypocrites
"Superior Donuts" — Mary-Arrchie Theatre Co.
"The Word Progress on My Mother's Lips Doesn't Ring True" — Trap Door Theatre