Theater News: 2017 Non-Equity Jeff Awards Celebrate Best of Chicago Theater

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly versionE-mail page to friendE-mail page to friendPDF versionPDF version
Average: 5 (1 vote)

CHICAGO – The 44th edition of the Non-Equity Jeff Awards were given out on June 5th, 2017, at what insiders call “the theater prom.” The event honors the non-union smaller or “storefront” theater companies, and their efforts to produce quality stage work. Hosted in grand style by Alexis Roston and Lillian Castillo, the recipients of the top play was “At the Table” by the Broken Nose Theatre and top musical was “High Fidelity” by the Refuge Theatre Project.

The night was a raucous affair at Chicago’s Anthenaum Theatre, as the hosts kept the party going between recognitions. Excerpts (Plays) and songs (Musicals) were presented for each of the top ten nominated shows. A Special Award for Theatrical and Charitable Contributions was given to David Cerda, acknowledging his long career and (as the inscription on the award said) thanking him “… for ‘Dragging’ the Chicago Theatre world into your ‘Hell in a Handbag’ with humor, heart, hilarity and humanity.”

David Cerda of “Hell in a Handbag” Accepts His Special Jeff Award
Photo credit: Johnny Knight Photography for

The Jeff Awards – both non-equity and equity – has been honoring outstanding theatre artists annually since it was established in 1968. With up to 55 members representing a wide variety of backgrounds in theatre (including producers, directors, actors, playwrights, designers, professors of theatre, entertainment lawyers and agents, and theatre lovers), the Jeff Awards are committed to celebrating the vitality of Chicago area theatre by recognizing excellence through its recommendations, awards, and honors. 

The complete list of 2017 Jeff Award recipients are as follows…

PRODUCTIONPLAY: “At the Table” - Broken Nose Theatre

PRODUCTIONMUSICAL: “High Fidelity” - Refuge Theatre Project

ENSEMBLE: “At the Table” - Broken Nose Theatre

DIRECTORPLAY: Spenser Davis - “At the Table” - Broken Nose Theatre

DIRECTORMUSICAL: Christopher Pazdernik - “High Fidelity” - Refuge Theatre Project

ACTOR IN A PRINCIPAL ROLEPLAY: TIE! George Seegebrecht - “Hauptmann” - City Lit Theater Company & Gage Wallace - “Taste” - Red Theater Chicago

ACTOR IN A PRINCIPAL ROLEMUSICAL: Henry McGinniss - “Bat Boy: The Musical” - Griffin Theatre Company

ACTRESS IN A PRINCIPAL ROLEPLAY: Amy Johnson - “Falling” - Interrobang Theatre Project

ACTRESS IN A PRINCIPAL ROLEMUSICAL: Colette Todd - “Next to Normal” - BoHo Theatre

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLEPLAY: Justin Tsatsa - “Falling” - Interrobang Theatre Project

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLEMUSICAL: Scott Danielson - “Urinetown” - BoHo Theatre

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLEPLAY: Echaka Agba - “At the Table” - Broken Nose Theatre

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLEMUSICAL: Veronica Garza - “Tonya and Nancy: The Rock Opera” - Underscore Theatre Company

SOLO PERFORMANCE: Philip Dawkins - “The Happiest Place on Earth” - Greenhouse Theater Center and Sideshow Theatre Company

ACTOR/ACTRESS IN A REVUE: Colette Todd (Angela) - “Honky Tonk Angels” - Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre

NEW PLAY: TIE! Ike Holter - “Prowess” - Jackalope Theatre Company & Alex Lubischer - “Bobbie Clearly” - Steep Theatre Company

NEW MUSICAL: Robert Kauzlaric and George Howe - “Northanger Abbey” - Lifeline Theatre

CHOREOGRAPHY: Aubrey Adams - “Urinetown” - BoHo Theatre

ORIGINAL MUSIC IN A PLAY: Natasha Bogojevich - “Gentle” - TUTA Theatre Chicago

MUSIC DIRECTION: Jeremy Ramey - “The Most Happy Fella” - Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre

SCENIC DESIGN: Michelle Manni - “High Fidelity” - Refuge Theatre Project

LIGHTING DESIGN: Kevin D. Gawley - “A Wrinkle in Time” - Lifeline Theatre

COSTUME DESIGN: John Nasca - “Priscilla: Queen of the Desert” - Pride Films and Plays

SOUND DESIGN: Stephen Ptacek - “How We Got On” - Haven Theatre Company

PROJECTION DESIGN: Anthony Churchill - “The Body of an American” - Stage Left Theatre

FIGHT CHOREOGRAPHY: Ryan Bourque - “Prowess” - Jackalope Theatre Company


The next Jeff Awards ceremony will be the Equity ceremony on November 6th, 2017, at the Drury Lane Theatre in Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois. Click here for details and more information about the Jeff Awards. senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

Editorial Coordinator, Writer

© 2017 Patrick McDonald,

User Login

Free Giveaway Mailing


Advertisement on Twitter

archive Top Ten Discussions