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Jeff nominations give panoramic view of Chicago theater scene

“The Madness George III” got nominations for best producti(play) best actor for its star Harry Groener (center).

“The Madness of George III” got nominations for best production (play) and best actor for its star, Harry Groener (center).

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Updated: November 16, 2011 1:30AM

Sure, it is a list that boosts egos, careers and funding intiatives, and sets into play a lively but friendly artistic competition. But more than anything else, the annual announcement of Jeff nominations honoring excellence in the Chicago area’s large and midsize Equity theaters serves as a powerful reminder of the breadth, depth and exceptional variety of work produced on local stages within just a 12-month period.

Whether classics, adaptations or new works, the range of productions during the 2010-2011 season was remarkable, as was the artistry in many disciplines. And here’s one additional cheer: For the passionate and engaged audiences who supplied that all-essential element of theater — bodies in the seats.

The 43rd annual Jeff Awards celebration, open to the public, will be held Nov. 7 at the Drury Lane Oakbrook Theatre, 100 Drury Lane, Oakbrook Terrace. Pre-show appetizers and cash bar will begin at 6:00 p.m., with the ceremony, directed by Michael Weber, starting at 7:30 p.m., with a buffet and reception to follow. The ceremony will include musical numbers from nominated shows and video segments from nominated plays. Advance purchase tickets are $75 ($55 for various theater union members). For tickets visit

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

PRODUCTION, PLAY (LARGE THEATER): “Chinglish” (Goodman Theatre); “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” (Steppenwolf Theatre Company); “Heartbreak House” (Writers’ Theatre); “The Madness of George III” (Chicago Shakespeare Theater); “The Outgoing Tide” (Northlight Theatre); “The Seagull” (Goodman Theatre); “Travels with My Aunt” (Writers’ Theatre).

PRODUCTION, PLAY (MIDSIZE THEATER): “The Big Meal” (American Theater Company); “Frost/Nixon” (TimeLine Theatre Company); “The Goat or, Who is Sylvia?” (Remy Bumppo Theatre Company); “The Importance of Being Earnest” (Remy Bumppo Theatre Company); “Scorched” (Silk Road Theatre Project); “To Master the Art” (TimeLine Theatre Company).

PRODUCTION, MUSICAL (LARGE THEATER): “42nd Street” (Marriott Theatre); “Candide” (Goodman Theatre and Shakespeare Theatre Company); “A Chorus Line” (Marriott Theatre); “Porgy and Bess” (Court Theatre); “Monty Python’s Spamalot” (Drury Lane Productions).

PRODUCTION, MUSICAL (MIDSIZE THEATER): “The King and I” (Porchlight Music Theatre); “Merrily We Roll Along” (The Music Theatre Company); “The Original Grease” (American Theater Company).

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

DIRECTOR, PLAY: James Bohnen, “The Goat or, Who is Sylvia?”; Dexter Bullard, “The Big Meal”; Stuart Carden, “Travels with My Aunt”; Louis Contey, “Frost/Nixon”; Robert Falls, “The Seagull”; BJ Jones, “The Outgoing Tide”; Pam MacKinnon, “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”; Penny Metropulos, “The Madness of George III”; Leigh Silverman, “Chinglish.”

DIRECTOR, MUSICAL: David H. Bell, “Hot Mikado” (Drury Lane Productions); Gary Griffin, “The Music Man” (Marriott Theatre); Michael Halberstam, “She Loves Me” (Writers’ Theatre); Mark Lococo, “A Chorus Line”; Charles Newell, “Porgy and Bess”; William Osetek, “Monty Python’s Spamalot”; Rachel Rockwell, “42nd Street”; Mary Zimmerman, “Candide.”

ENSEMBLE: “The Big Meal”; “A Chorus Line”; “Float” (About Face Theatre); “The Front Page” (TimeLine Theatre Company); “The Seagull”; “Sky’s the Limit (Weather Permitting)”; “Travels with My Aunt.”

ACTOR, PRINCIPAL ROLE, PLAY: Brad Armacost, “Shadowlands” (Provision Theater); Brad Armacost, “The Weir” (Seanachaí Theatre Company); Harry Groener, “The Madness of George III”; Terry Hamilton, “Frost/Nixon”; Tracy Letts, “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”; John Mahoney, “The Outgoing Tide”; Nick Sandys, “The Goat or, Who is Sylvia?”; Nick Sandys, “Blithe Spirit” (First Folio Theatre).

ACTOR, PRINCIPAL ROLE, MUSICAL: Joe Kinosian, “Murder for Two - A Killer Musical” (Chicago Shakespeare Theater); Michael Mahler, “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” (Theatre at the Center); Geoff Packard, “Candide”; Stephen Schellhardt, “Hot Mikado”; Alan Schmuckler, “Murder for Two - A Killer Musical.”

ACTRESS, PRINCIPAL ROLE, PLAY: Karen Aldridge, “The Trinity River Plays” (Goodman Theatre); Annabel Armour, “The Goat or, Who is Sylvia?”; Jennifer Lim (Xu Yan), “Chinglish”; Lois Markle, “Three Tall Women” (Court Theatre); Sandra Marquez, “26 Miles” (Teatro Vista and Rivendell Theatre Ensemble); Rondi Reed, “The Outgoing Tide”; Kathy Scambiatterra, “Sweet Bird of Youth” (The Artistic Home); Mary Ann Thebus, “The Piano Teacher” (Next Theatre Company); Karen Janes Woditsch, “To Master the Art.”

ACTRESS, PRINCIPAL ROLE, MUSICAL: Brianna Borger, “The King and I”; Elizabeth Lanza, “Meet John Doe” (Porchlight Music Theatre); Megan McGinnis, “Daddy Long Legs” (Northlight Theatre); Jessie Mueller, “Guys and Dolls” (Marriott Theatre); Jessie Mueller, “She Loves Me.”

ACTOR OR ACTRESS, REVUE: Tim Baltz, “Sky’s the Limit (Weather Permitting)”; Tammy Mader, “Shout!”; Sam Richardson, “South Side of Heaven” (The Second City).

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

ACTOR, SUPPORTING ROLE, PLAY: Ira Amyx, “That Was Then” (Seanachaí Theatre Company); Lance Baker, “Speed-the-Plow” (American Theater Company); Marc Grapey, “At Home at the Zoo” (Victory Gardens Theater); Francis Guinan, “Rantoul and Die” (American Blues Theater); Mike Nussbaum, “Broadway Bound” (Drury Lane Productions); John Reeger, “Heartbreak House.”

ACTOR, SUPPORTING ROLE, MUSICAL: Sean Blake, “Porgy and Bess”; Matthew Crowle, “Monty Python’s Spamalot”; James Earl Jones II, “The Wiz” (Theatre at the Center); Ted Louis Levy, “Hot Mikado”; Larry Yando, “Candide.”

ACTRESS, SUPPORTING ROLE, PLAY: Annabel Armour, “At Home at the Zoo”; Tracey N. Bonner, “Home” (Court Theatre); Mary Beth Fisher, “Three Tall Women”; Diane Kondrat, “The Gospel According to James” (Victory Gardens Theater); Elizabeth Ledo, “The Homosexuals” (About Face Theatre); Diana Simonzadeh, - “Scorched.”

ACTRESS, SUPPORTING ROLE, MUSICAL: Kate Garassino, “The King and I”; Heidi Kettenring, “She Loves Me”; Gina Milo, ”Monty Python’s Spamalot”; Hollis Resnik, “Candide”; Bethany Thomas, “Porgy and Bess.”

NEW WORK, PLAY: William Brown and Doug Frew, “To Master the Art”; Darren Canady, “Brothers of the Dust” (Congo Square Theatre Company); Philip Dawkins - “The Homosexuals”; Bruce Graham, “The Outgoing Tide”; David Henry Hwang, “Chinglish”; Patricia Kane, “Float”; Dan LeFranc, “The Big Meal”; Caitlin Montanye Parrish with Erica Weiss, “A Twist of Water” (Route 66 Theatre Company).

NEW WORK, MUSICAL OR REVUE: Tim Baltz, Aidy Bryant, Matt Hovde, Brendan Jennings, Jessica Joy, Michael Lehrer, and Mary Sohn, “Sky’s the Limit (Weather Permitting)”; Edgar Blackmon, Billy Bungeroth, Holly Laurent, Timothy Edward Mason, Katie Rich, Sam Richardson, and Tim Robinson, “South Side of Heaven”; Joe Kinosian and Kellen Blair, “Murder for Two - A Killer Musical”; Robert Morris, Steven Morris, Joe Shane and Matte O’Brien, “White Noise.”

NEW ADAPTATION, PLAY OR MUSICAL: Amanda Dehnert, “Peter Pan (A Play)” (Lookingglass Theatre Company); Laura Eason, “Ethan Frome” (Lookingglass Theatre Company); Sean Graney, “The Comedy of Errors” (Court Theatre); Jon Jory, “Sense and Sensibility” (Northlight Theatre); Stephen Schwartz and Nina Faso, “Working”; Mary Zimmerman, ”Candide.”

CHOREOGRAPHY: David H. Bell, “Hot Mikado”; Tammy Mader, “42nd Street”; Tammy Mader, “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers”; Matt Raftery, “The Music Man”; Rachel Rockwell, “A Chorus Line.”

ORIGINAL INCIDENTAL MUSIC: Jenny Giering, “As You Like It” (Chicago Shakespeare Theater); Andrew Hansen, “In Darfur” (TimeLine Theatre Company); Andrew Hansen, “To Master the Art”; Lindsay Jones, “Romeo and Juliet” (Chicago Shakespeare Theater).

MUSIC DIRECTION: Roberta Duchak, “Monty Python’s Spamalot”; David Kreppel, “The Music Man”; Michael Mahler, “Hot Mikado”; Ryan T. Nelson, “A Chorus Line”; Doug Peck, “42nd Street”; Doug Peck, “Candide”; Doug Peck, “Porgy and Bess.”

SCENIC DESIGN (LARGE THEATER): David Korins, “Chinglish”; Jaqueline and Richard Penrod, “The Last Act of Lilka Kadison” (Lookingglass Theatre Company); Keith Pitts, “Heartbreak House”; Collette Pollard, “Broadway Bound”; Todd Rosenthal, “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”

SCENIC DESIGN (MIDSIZE THEATER): Robert Groth & Jenniffer J. Thusing, “The Weir”; Tim Morrison, “The Goat or, Who is Sylvia?”; John Musial, “Float”; Jaqueline and Richard Penrod, “The Importance of Being Earnest”; Collette Pollard, “The Front Page.”

LIGHTING DESIGN (LARGE THEATER): Christopher Akerlind, “As You Like It”; John Culbert, “Romeo and Juliet”; Jesse Klug, “Monty Python’s Spamalot”; Jason Lyons, “White Noise”; Jaymi Lee Smith, “Orlando” (Court Theatre).

LIGHTING DESIGN (MIDSIZE THEATER): Brian Sidney Bembridge, “The Big Meal”; Jeff Glass, “Sweet Bird of Youth”; Sarah Hughey, “Scorched”; Nic Jones and Jesse Klug, “In Darfur”; Keith Parham, “Frost/Nixon.”

COSTUME DESIGN (LARGE THEATER): Mara Blumenfeld, “Candide”; Jacqueline Firkins, “The Comedy of Errors”; Jeremy W. Floyd, “Hot Mikado”; Susan E. Mickey, “The Madness of George III”; Nancy Missimi, “42nd Street.”

COSTUME DESIGN (MIDSIZE THEATER): Mina Hyun-Ok Hong, “Sunday in the Park with George” (Porchlight Music Theatre); Rachel Lambert, “Romeo and Juliet” (First Folio Theatre); Bill Morey, “The King and I”; Lindsey Pate, “The Front Page”; Melissa Torchia, “The Importance of Being Earnest.”

SOUND DESIGN (LARGE THEATER): Mikhail Fiksel, “Travels with My Aunt”; Andrew Hansen, “Heartbreak House”; Andrew Hansen, “The Outgoing Tide”; Andre Pluess, “Orlando”; James Savage, “Murder for Two - A Killer Musical.”

SOUND DESIGN (MIDSIZE THEATER): Barry Bennett, “Hickorydickory” (Chicago Dramatists); Joseph Fosco, “The New Electric Ballroom” (A Red Orchid Theatre); Andrew Hansen, “In Darfur”; Andrew Hansen, “To Master the Art”; Peter J. Storms, “Scorched.”

FIGHT/MOVEMENT DIRECTION: Matt Hawkins,; “Peter Pan (A Play)”; Nick Sandys, “Romeo and Juliet” (First Folio Theatre); Rick Sordelet, “Romeo and Juliet” (Chicago Shakespeare Theater).

PROJECTIONS/VIDEO DESIGN: John Boesche, “A Twist of Water”; Raj Kapoor, “White Noise”; Aaron Rhyne, “Working”; Mike Tutaj, “The Detective’s Wife”; Mike Tutaj, “Frost/Nixon”; Mike Tutaj, “In Darfur.”

ARTISTIC SPECIALIZATION: Tracy Otwell, Toy Theatre Design, (“The Last Act of Lilka Kadison”); Melissa Veal (Wig and Make-up Design), “The Madness of George III.”

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