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‘Madness,’ ‘Candide’ take top Jeff Awards

Larry Yando (left) Geoff Packard wJeff Awards for their roles “Candide” named best musical production.

Larry Yando (left) and Geoff Packard won Jeff Awards for their roles in “Candide,” named best musical production.

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Updated: December 9, 2011 8:05AM

A mad monarch infused with insight and a young innocent exposed to both the cruelties and wonders of this world took top honors at Monday night’s 43rd annual Equity Jeff Awards ceremony held at the Drury Lane Oakbrook Theatre.

In a season of exceptional work even by the usual local standards, Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s powerhouse production of “The Madness of George II,” Alan Bennett’s play about the 18th century British king who suffered from mental illness, was named best production of a play during the 2010-11 season. It also earned awards for its director (Penny Metropulos), its galvanic leading actor (Harry Groener) and two of its designers.

The Goodman Theatre (in collaboration with Washington, D.C.’s, Shakespeare Theatre Company) took home the award for best musical production for Mary Zimmerman’s vividly re-imagined revival of Leonard Bernstein’s “Candide,” and also garnered prizes for its leading actor, Geoff Packard; supporting actress Hollis Resnik, and suppporting actor Larry Yando.

The Court Theatre’s Charles Newell was named best director for another re-imagined musical, the Gershwins’ “Porgy and Bess,” on which he collaborated closely with Jeff-winning musical director Doug Peck.

The Jeffs pay homage to the superb work of Chicago’s midsize as well as large Equity theaters, and in the smaller category the winners included the Remy Bumppo production of Edward Albee’s “The Goat or, Who Is Sylvia?” (with actress Annabel Armour capturing best leading actress award) and the American Theater Company revival of “The Original Grease.”

ATC also received the coveted award for best ensemble for its production of Dan LeFranc’s “The Big Meal,” a multi-generational drama about family and mortality.

Other acting awards went to: Barbara Robertson for her solo turn in “The Detective’s Wife,” Jessie Mueller for her supporting actress work in the Writers’ Theatre production of “She Loves Me” (Mueller is now rehearsing for her Broadway debut opposite Harrick Connick Jr. in a revival of “On a Clear Day”), Chicago theater treasure Mike Nussbaum for his supporting role in “Broadway Bound” at Drury Lane Oakbrook (Nussbaum, still going strong at age 87, is currently appearing in “Follies” at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater) and Diana Simonzadeh, for her riveting supporting actress work in “Scorched,” a drama about the Middle Eastern presented by the Silk Road Theatre Project.

Following is a complete list of the 2011 Jeff Equity Award recipients:

PRODUCTION, PLAY (LARGE): “The Madness of George III,” Chicago Shakespeare Theater.

PRODUCTION, PLAY (MIDSIZE): “Edward Albee’s The Goat or, Who is Sylvia?,” Remy Bumppo Theatre Company.

PRODUCTION, MUSICAL (LARGE): “Candide” (Goodman Theatre and Shakespeare Theatre Company of Washington, D.C.)

PRODUCTION, MUSICAL (MIDSIZE): “The Original Grease,” American Theater Company.

PRODUCTION, REVUE: “Sky’s the Limit (Weather Permitting),” The Second City e.t.c.

DIRECTOR, PLAY: Penny Metropulos, “The Madness of George III.”

DIRECTOR, MUSICAL: Charles Newell, “The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess” (Court Theatre).

ENSEMBLE: “The Big Meal,” American Theater Company.

PRINCIPAL ACTOR, PLAY: Harry Groener, “The Madness of George III.”

PRINCIPAL ACTOR, MUSICAL: Geoff Packard, “Candide.”

PRINCIPAL ACTRESS, PLAY: Annabel Armour, “Edward Albee’s The Goat or, Who is Sylvia?”

PRINCIPAL ACTRESS, MUSICAL: Jessie Mueller, “She Loves Me” (Writers’ Theatre).

ACTOR OR ACTRESS, REVUE: Tim Baltz, “Sky’s the Limit (Weather Permitting).”

SOLO PERFORMANCE: Barbara Robertson, “The Detective’s Wife” (Writers’ Theatre).

SUPPORTING ACTOR, PLAY: Mike Nussbaum, “Broadway Bound” (Drury Lane Productions).

SUPPORTING ACTOR, MUSICAL: Larry Yando, “Candide.”

SUPPORTING ACTRESS, PLAY: Diana Simonzadeh, “Scorched” (Silk Road Theatre Project).

SUPPORTING ACTRESS, MUSICAL: Hollis Resnik, “Candide.”

NEW WORK, PLAY: (tie) Bruce Graham, “The Outgoing Tide” (Northlight Theatre), and David Henry Hwang, “Chinglish” (Goodman Theatre).

NEW WORK, MUSICAL OR REVUE: (Tie) Tim Baltz, Aidy Bryant, Jesse Case, Matt Hovde, Brendan Jennings, Jessica Joy, Michael Lehrer and Mary Sohn, “Sky’s the Limit (Weather Permitting)” and Joe Kinosian and Kellen Blair, “Murder for Two — A Killer Musical” (Chicago Shakespeare Theater).

NEW ADAPTATION, PLAY OR MUSICAL: Mary Zimmerman, “Candide.”

CHOREOGRAPHY: Tammy Mader, “42nd Street” (Marriott Theatre).

ORIGINAL INCIDENTAL MUSIC: Andrew Hansen, “To Master the Art” (TimeLine Theatre Company).

MUSIC DIRECTION: Doug Peck, “The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess.”

SCENIC DESIGN (LARGE): David Korins, “Chinglish.”

SCENIC DESIGN (MIDSIZE): Collette Pollard, “The Front Page” (TimeLine Theatre Company).

LIGHTING DESIGN (LARGE): Jason Lyons, “White Noise” (at the Royal George Theatre).

LIGHTING DESIGN (MIDSIZE): Sarah Hughey, “Scorched.”

COSTUME DESIGN (LARGE): Susan E. Mickey, “The Madness of George III.”

COSTUME DESIGN (MIDSIZE): Bill Morey, “The King and I” (Porchlight Music Theatre).

SOUND DESIGN (LARGE): Mikhail Fiksel, “Travels with My Aunt” (Writers’ Theatre).

SOUND DESIGN (MIDSIZE): Peter J. Storms, “Scorched.”

FIGHT/MOVEMENT DIRECTION: Rick Sordelet, “Romeo and Juliet” (Chicago Shakespeare Theater).

PROJECTIONS/VIDEO DESIGN: John Boesche, “A Twist of Water” (Route 66 Theatre Company), and Mike Tutaj, “In Darfur” (TimeLine Theatre Company).

ARTISTIC SPECIALIZATION: Tracy Otwell (Toy Theatre Design for “The Last Act of Lilka Kadison” at Lookingglass Theatre Company) and Melissa Veal (Wig and Makeup Design for “The Madness of George III”).

SPECIAL AWARD: Hedy Weiss, theater critic, Chicago Sun-Times.

TRIBUTE AWARD: Kathryn V. Lamkey, recently retired executive director/central regional director of Actors Equity Association.

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