The 42nd annual Jeff Award nominations were announced Tuesday, Aug. 31, with Court Theatre receiving 18 of the 162 nominations for Chicago Equity theatrical productions. Most notably, Court received three of six possible nominations for best large play. Court's productions were represented in 10 of the 13 categories for which it was eligible, and each of the theatre's five 2009-10 season productions received at least one Jeff nomination.
Court Theatre topped the list of play producers with its 18 nominations, which included seven for Tony Kushner's adaptation of Pierre Corneille's The Illusion, directed by Artistic Director Charles Newell; five nominations for The Mystery of Irma Vep, directed by Hypocrites Artistic Director and Court collaborator Sean Graney; and four for August Wilson's Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, directed by Resident Artist Ron OJ Parson.
The Jeff Awards sent judges to the opening nights of 111 Equity productions offered by 42 producing organizations. From these openings, 88 productions were "Jeff Recommended," which made them eligible for award nominations. All five of Court's 2009-10 season productions were "Jeff Recommended."
Established in 1968, the Jeff Awards is committed to celebrating the vitality of Chicago area theatre by recognizing excellence through its recommendations, awards and honors.
This year's award ceremony will be held Monday, Oct. 25 at Drury Lane Oakbrook, 100 Drury Lane, Oakbrook Terrace. Musical numbers featuring cast members from nominated musicals and video segments from nominated plays will be included in the ceremony, which will be emceed by actors Deanna Dunagan and Felicia P. Fields. Tickets, which include the ceremony and a pre-show buffet, are $75 to the public ($55 for members of Actors' Equity Association, United Scenic Artists, Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, and The Dramatists Guild of America).
Court Theatre's Jeff Award nominations
- The Illusion-Best Play
- Ma Rainey's Black Bottom-Best Play
- The Mystery of Irma Vep-Best Play
- Ma Rainey's Black Bottom-Best Ensemble
- Charles Newell for The Illusion-Best Director of a Play
- Sean Graney for The Mystery of Irma Vep-Best Director of a Play
- Erik Hellman in The Mystery of Irma Vep-Best Actor in a Principal Role, Play
- Chris Sullivan in The Mystery of Irma Vep-Best Actor in a Principal Role, Play
- Mary Beth Fisher in The Year of Magical Thinking-Best Solo Performance
- Allen Gilmore in Sizwe Banzi is Dead-Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Play
- Timothy Edward Kane in The Illusion-Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Play
- John Culbert for Ma Rainey's Black Bottom-Best Scenic Design, Large
- Collette Pollard for The Illusion-Best Scenic Design, Large
- Jacqueline Firkins for The Illusion-Best Costume Design, Large
- Alison Siple for The Mystery of Irma Vep-Best costume Design, Large
- Joshua Horvath and Nick Keenan for The Illusion-Best Sound Design, Large
- Joshua Horvath and Ray Nardelli for Ma Rainey's Black Bottom-Best Sound Design, Large
- John Culbert for The Illusion-Best Lighting Design, Large