jakub | October 8, 2023

AMERICAN THEATRE | Goodman, Teatro Vista Take Centerstage at Equity Jeff Awards


Teatro Vista's THE DREAM KING. (Photo by Joel Maisonet.)

This year’s Chicago Equity Jeff Awards, held at Drury Lane Theatre Oakbrook, celebrated its 55th anniversary with big wins for Goodman Theatre and Teatro Vista. Hosted by actors Lorenzo Rush Jr. and Janet Ulrich Brooks, the ceremony recognized 46 recipients among 214 nominees across 32 categories, representing productions from 35 companies.

For their production of The Who’s Tommy, the Goodman received nine Jeffs in addition to awards for The Cherry Orchard and Rebecca Gilman’s new play Swing State. Robert Falls received a special award for his lifelong commitment to Chicago theatre, spanning 40 directorial credits and producing over 150 world premieres. Teatro Vista’s new “silent musical” The Dream King, created by Marvin Quijada, took home eight Jeffs, including best production of a play in the midsize theatre category. 

Other notable awardees include Rivendell Theatre Ensemble’s Motherhouse and Court Theatre’s The Gospel at Colonus taking home best ensemble honors alongside The Who’s Tommy. American Blues Theater also took home a best production of a play award for Fences, and Chicago Shakespeare’s The Notebook joined The Dream King, Motherhouse, and Swing State as winners of the Libby Adler Mages award for new work. The complete list of winners is below:

Production — Play (Large)
The Cherry Orchard; Goodman Theatre

Production — Play (Midsize)
The Dream King; Teatro Vista
Fences; American Blues Theater

Production — Musical (Large) — The Dr. Harlan Haimes Award
The Who’s Tommy; Goodman Theatre

Production — Musical (Midsize)
London Road; Shattered Globe Theatre

Director — Play (Large) — The Michael Maggio Award
Robert Falls; The Cherry Orchard; Goodman Theatre

Director — Play (Midsize)
Monty Cole; Fences; American Blues Theater

Director — Musical (Large)
Des McAnuff; The Who’s Tommy; Goodman Theatre

Director Musical (Midsize)
Elizabeth Margolius; London Road; Shattered Globe Theatre 

Ensemble Play
Motherhouse; Rivendell Theatre Ensemble

Ensemble Musical or Revue
The Gospel at Colonus; Court Theatre
The Who’s Tommy; Goodman Theatre

Performer in a Principal Role Play
Kamal Angelo Bolden (Troy Maxson); Fences; American Blues Theater
Marvin Quijada (Actor); The Dream King; Teatro Vista

Performer in a Principal Role Musical
Ali Louis Bourzgui (Tommy); The Who’s Tommy; Goodman Theatre
Erica Stephan (Sally Bowles); Cabaret; Porchlight Music Theatre

Solo Performance
Alexis J. Roston (Billie Holiday); Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill – Mercury Theater Chicago

Performer in a Revue
Felicia P. Fields; Pearl’s Rollin’ With the Blues; Writers Theatre
Evan Mills; Don’t Quit Your Daydream; The Second City

Performer in a Supporting Role Play
Karen Aldridge (She); Is God Is; A Red Orchid Theatre
Meighan Gerachis (Aunt Weezie); Motherhouse; Rivendell Theatre Ensemble

Performer in a Supporting Role Musical
Mary Robin Roth (Fräulein Schneider); Cabaret; Porchlight Music Theatre
Elizabeth Stenholt (Medium Alison); Fun Home; Paramount Theatre
Joy Woods (Middle Allie); The Notebook; Chicago Shakespeare Theater

New Work The Libby Adler Mages Award
Bekah Brunstetter and Ingrid Michaelson; The Notebook; Chicago Shakespeare Theater
Rebecca Gilman; Swing State; Goodman Theatre
Marvin Quijada; The Dream King; Teatro Vista
Tuckie White; Motherhouse; Rivendell Theatre Ensemble

Scenic Design (Large)
Andrew Boyce; Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express; Drury Lane Productions
Jeffrey D. Kmiec; Into the Woods; Paramount Theatre

Scenic Design (Midsize)
Joe Schermoly; The Dream King; Teatro Vista

Costume Design (Large)
Bill Morey; Cabaret; Porchlight Music Theatre

Costume Design (Midsize)
Robert Kuhn; Priscilla, Queen of the Desert; Mercury Theater Chicago

Sound Design (Large)
Gareth Owen; The Who’s Tommy; Goodman Theatre

Sound Design (Midsize)
Matthew Chapman; The Dream King; Teatro Vista

Lighting Design (Large)
Amanda Zieve; The Who’s Tommy; Goodman Theatre

Lighting Design (Midsize)
Conchita Avitia; The Dream King; Teatro Vista

Choreography
Lorin Latarro; The Who’s Tommy; Goodman Theatre

Music Direction
Rick Fox; The Who’s Tommy; Goodman Theatre

Original Music in a Play
Matthew Chapman, Marvin Quijada, Elliot Taggart, and Ethan T. Parcell; The Dream King; Teatro Vista

Projection Design
Peter Nigrini; The Who’s Tommy; Goodman Theatre

Artistic Specialization
Drew Dir; Puppet Design; Manual Cinema’s Christmas Carol; Writers Theatre and Manual Cinema
Amanda Hermann and Yu Shibagaki; Properties Design; Lucy and Charlie’s Honeymoon; Lookingglass Theatre Company
Mike Oleon; Puppet Design; The Dream King; Teatro Vista

Short Run Production
The Island; Court Theatre

Short Run Performer
Kelly Anne Clark (The Actor); Being Seen; RG Productions

Special Award 
Robert Falls

The Jeff Awards have honored theatre artists annually since 1968 and are committed to celebrating the vitality of Chicago theatre. In 1973, they established a non-Equity wing to celebrate achievements in non-union theatre.

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