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Non-Equity Jeffs applaud Theo Ubique, Hypocrites, Griffin theaters

Updated: July 7, 2012 8:17AM

In many ways the Non-Equity Jeff Awards, which were announced Monday night at Park West Theatre, capture the spirit of Chicago theater in its truest sense. The winners, selected from an initial pool of 154 productions presented under the auspices of 71 different troupes, are emblematic of the way immense creativity can more than compensate for limited budgets.

Consider the top winners for the 2011-2012 season. Named best production of a play, with a total of four awards, was The Hypocrites’ “Sophocles: Seven Sicknesses,” director Sean Graney’s ultra-contemporary but starkly ritualistic five-hour adaptation of a series of classic Greek tragedies. Named best musical, with a total of six awards, was Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre’s ravishingly sung, exceptionally intimate revival of Adam Guettel’s “The Light in the Piazza” — a production, co-directed by Fred Anzevino and Brenda Didier, that is now enjoying what has been a multiply extended run through July 14.

In addition, “Punk Rock,” the powerful Griffin Theatre Company production of Simon Stephens’ play about bullying in a British high school, directed by Jonathan Berry, was cited for its superb ensemble work.

Look further at the list of winners — notably the original music award — and you will get a further sense of the full range of ingenious work on view in this city — from Romanian composer Ovidiu Iloc’s chilling soundscape for “The Word Progress on My Mother’s Lips Doesn’t Ring True” (at Trap Door Theatre), to Kevin O’Donnell’s stunning percussion score for The Building Stage’s ingenious rendering of “Moby-Dick.”

And that is just the tail of the whale.

Following is a complete list of the 2012 Non-Equity Jeff Award recipients:

PRODUCTION, PLAY: “Sophocles: Seven Sicknesses” (The Hypocrites).

PRODUCTION, MUSICAL: “The Light in the Piazza” (Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre).

DIRECTOR, PLAY: Jonathan Berry, “Punk Rock” (Griffin Theatre Company) and Sean Graney, “Sophocles: Seven Sicknesses” (The Hypocrites).

DIRECTOR, MUSICAL: Fred Anzevino and Brenda Didier, “The Light in the Piazza.”

ENSEMBLE: “Punk Rock” (Griffin Theatre Company).

PRINCIPAL ACTOR, PLAY: Joey DeBettencourt, “Punk Rock.”

PRINCIPAL ACTOR, MUSICAL: Chuck Sisson, “The Baker’s Wife” (Circle Theatre).

PRINCIPAL ACTRESS, PLAY: Jacqueline Grandt, “Bug” (Redtwist Theatre) and Melanie Keller, “East of Berlin & The Russian Play” (Signal Ensemble Theatre).

PRINCIPAL ACTRESS, MUSICAL: Kelli Harrington, “The Light in the Piazza.”

SUPPORTING ACTOR, PLAY: Aaron Kirby, “Dark Play or Stories for Boys” (Collaboraction).

SUPPORTING ACTOR, MUSICAL: Justin Adair, “The Light in the Piazza.”

SUPPORTING ACTRESS, PLAY: Sasha Gioppo, “Red Light Winter” (Mary-Arrchie Theatre Co.).

SUPPORTING ACTRESS, MUSICAL: Dana Tretta, “Pippin” (Bohemian Theatre Ensemble).

NEW WORK: Shepsu Aakhu, “Speaking in Tongues: The Chronicles of Babel” (MPAACT) and Deirdre O’Connor, “Assisted Living” (Profiles Theatre).

NEW ADAPTATION: Sean Graney, “Sophocles: Seven Sicknesses” and Blake Montgomery, “Moby-Dick” (The Building Stage).

CHOREOGRAPHY: Kevin Bellie, “Urinetown the Musical” (Circle Theatre).

ORIGINAL INCIDENTAL MUSIC: Ovidiu Iloc, “The Word Progress on My Mother’s Lips Doesn’t Ring True” (Trap Door Theatre) and Kevin O’Donnell, “Moby-Dick.”

MUSIC DIRECTION: Jeremy Ramey, “The Light in the Piazza.”

SCENIC DESIGN: Amanda Rozmiarek, “The Price” (Raven Theatre).

LIGHTING DESIGN: Jared Moore, “Sophocles: Seven Sicknesses.”

COSTUME DESIGN: Jesus Perez, “Urinetown the Musical.”

SOUND DESIGN: Christopher Kriz, “Opus” (Redtwist Theatre).

FIGHT DESIGN: Matt Hawkins, “Cyrano” (The House Theatre of Chicago).

DIALECT COACHING: Eva Breneman. “The Light in the Piazza.”

ARTISTIC SPECIALIZATION: Casey Baker, Kevin O’Donnell and Mike Przygoda (Percussion for “Moby-Dick”) and Zhanna Bullock (Music Coach for “Opus”).

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