Nominees for the Equity Jeff Awards ceremony, an annual recognition of the best Chicago area Equity productions, have been announced this week. The awards ceremony will be Oct. 17, 2022 at Drury Lane in Oakbrook, IL It will be directed by Jim Corti and hosted by E. Faye Butler, with musical direction by David Fiorello.
Started in 1968 to recognize quality Equity (union) productions, the Jeff Awards added recognition of non-equity productions deserving awards in 1973.
Awards are given for all production aspects from individual actors to ensembles and from lighting and sound to costuming and scenery design. They are also categorized by size from large and mid-sized to small companies.
According to a statement from the Jeff Awards committee, the nominees were chosen from shows that ran from July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022. They came from 38 categories, 43 companies.
Not all equity shows produced during that period fit Jeff criteria. Of the 94 productions attended, 76 were “Jeff Recommended.”
Some years a few productions take several nominations plus not all theaters are in Chicago’s city limits.
This year, Drury Lane Productions in Oak Brook received 21 nominations from five of its shows and Goodman Theatre in Chicago’s downtown amassed 20 nominations that included four shows co-produced with other companies.
Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire received 16 nominations and Paramount Theater in Aurora picked up 13 nominations of which eight were from a single production, “Kinky Boots.”
Shakespeare Theatre and TimeLine Theatre Company rounded out the top nominations with 10 each.
Due to the Pandemic and the changing theater scene, the Jeff awards added the new classification of “Short Run Productions.”
To see all the nominations and categories visit Jeff Awards.
Yes lighted displays at the Chicago Botanic Garden look spectacular when Lightscape stars and sparkling plants line walkways from Mid-November 2022 to early January 2023.
But the Garden also amazes right now as you wander among art installations, special plant groupings and the Greenhouse Galleries packed with the garden’s past and imagined future.
The art and other special exhibits are part of Flourish, The Garden at 50,” an anniversary celebration up now through Sept. 25, 2022.
Pick up a Flourish brochure at the membership/information desk near the Café, to see a map and information on 10 art installations.
Leaving the building you are walking across a bridge to the garden’s main area. Look right to see a huge nature sign on the opposite bank and then look near it further west in the water to see Casa Isle, an aluminum island house constructed by artist Edra Soto in what the Garden calls its “North Lake.”
A turn south past the lily ponds brings Juan Angel Chavéz’s wood and fabric Adsila sculpture into view.
Check the brochure for other art installations and then go over to the Regenstein Greenhouses for a look back at the garden’s past and thoughts of its future.
Be sure to stop at the plant installations on the path back to the bridge. They are plant groups from different countries.
“What began as an ambitious vision to have Chicago’s own public garden is now 28 gardens and four natural areas in Glencoe, 16 community garden and farm sites in Chicago and Lake County, and dozens of conservation and restoration research sites around the country,” said Jean Franczyk, the Garden’s president and chief executive officer.
“We are thankful to all who have shown up for nature, supported our conservation mission, and inspired us to keep imagining a future where people and planet thrive,” Franczyk said.
The Chicago Air and Water Show, the country’s largest, free exhibition of precision flying, is at the city’s North Avenue Beach, 10 a.m. through 2 p.m. Aug. 20-21. But several performers practice on Aug. 19, which means Friday is also a good day to visit the beach area from Oak Street north.
Begun as the Lakeshore Park and Water Show in 1959 featuring a Coast Guard Air Sea Rescue demo and water events, it soon added the U.S. Army’s Golden Knights Parachute Team and the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds that have since appeared alternate years with the U. S. Navy’s Blue Angels – a 2022 show headliner.
Stationed at Forrest Sherman Field Naval Air Station in Pensacola, FL. during its show season, the Blue Angels’ team was started by Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Chester Nimitz in 1946 to raise awareness and interest in naval aviation.
The squadron spends January through March training at the Naval Air Facility in El Centro, CA. For more Blue Angels history visit U.S. Navy Blue Angels History.
The U.S. Army Golden Knights, the show’s other featured group, first got together in 1959 when 19 Airborne Soldiers from different units formed the Strategic Army Command Parachute Team (STRAC) under Brigadier General Joseph Stilwell Jr. to participate in skydiving competitions.
The STRAC team would become the United States Army Parachute Team. By 1962 the team was called “Golden Knights” for the medals won.
Where to watch
From the ground
You can hear long-time Air and Water show announcer and former military and commercial pilot Herb Hunter on the PA system at North Avenue Beach in Lincoln Part at 1600 N. Lake Shore Dr.
But you can pretty much see the show along the Lake Michigan shoreline from the Oak Street Beach north to Fullerton Avenue.
The U.S. Navy/Marine Corps Blue Angels C-130 “Fat Albert”, the US NavyF35C Lightening II demo Team and US Navy Legacy Flight with FG 1 D Corsiar and A-4B Skyhawk
Chicago show will be the first time, the U.S. Air Force Heritage Flight and U.S. Navy Legacy Flights will be performing in the same Air and Water Show. There will be an additional F-35C Legacy II to incorporate a “Missing Man” dedication to the late Rudy Malnati Jr. who was the Chicago Air and Water Show Director for 30 years.
Other military performers include the US Air Force F-22 Raptor demo team, US Coast Guard Ari/Sea Rescue, Maryland Air National Guard A-10C Thunderbolt II, IL National Guard 183rd Security Forces, US Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey and US Air Force Red Horse Mobile Aircraft Arresting Gear Team.
Civilian performers include Susan Dacy of Barnstorming America with Big Red, Bill Stein, Kevin Coleman, Rob Holland, Triple Time Team, and from the city, the Chicago Fire Dept Air/Sea Rescue Team and the Chicago Police Dept. helicopter.
As the weather has already let us know, summer events still have a month to go. Some of the Chicago area’s big events are in the weekends to come. Most are free. Think, Air & Water Show and Port Clinton Art Festival. Then, get out the calendar.
Aug 4-7 Windy City Smokeout West Loop at the United Center Cost: $50 and up
Combine country music stars such as Tim McGraw and Miranda Lambert with pit master food bites from Kentucky and other famed smoke-it regions and you have Chicago’s annual Smokeout. More info at Home Page – Windy City Smokeout
Aug. 13 is Chicago’s famed Bud Billikin Parade and Festival, 10:30 a.m. to noon.
It’s in Bronzeville along Dr. Martin Luther King Drive from Oakwood Boulevard to 51st Street and continues Ellsworth Drive through Washington Park to 55th St. The event has floats, dance teams and bands plus food and other booths. It started in 1929 as a way to generate excitement about back to school shopping and activities. For more information visit Bud Billikin event.
Aug. 20-21 Chicago Air and Water Show 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at North Avenue Beach.
The 2022 show features U.S. Navy Blue Angels and U.S. Amy Golden Knights Parachute Team. However, some of the show can be seen on Friday when the participants have practice run-throughs. For more information visit Chicago Air and Water Show.
Aug 26 4-10, Aug. 27-28, noon to 10 p.m. Taste of Greek Town
The food fest is on Halsted Street from Van Buren to Adams St. For more information visit Taste of Greektown.
Aug. 13-14 Printer’s Row Art Festival 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sponsored by the Greater South Loop Association and South Loop Neighbors, the fest includes local restaurant booths. Booths line Dearborn Street from Harrison to Polk. A parking garage is at 75 W. Harrison St. For more info visit Printer’s Row Art Festival.
Aug 19 noon to 5 p.m. Aug 20 and 21 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Evanston Art and Big Fork Fest. Booths are downtown Evanston along Church Street. For more information visit Evanston Art and Big Fork.
Aug. 27-28 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Port Clinton Art Festival. Considered among the top art fairs in the country, the Port Clinton event showcases more than 260 juried-in artists who do sculpture, glass, painting, photography, wearable art and furniture. The art festival is downtown Highland Park on Central Avenue. For more information visit Port Clinton Art Festival.
Aug. 27-28 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Bucktown Arts Fest. An annual celebration of art, craft, food and music in Chicago’s Bucktown Neighborhood. For more information visit Bucktown Arts Fest.
After a break due to COVID, Chicago’s famed Randolph Street Market Festival returns to the West Loop July 30-31, 2022, with booths full of well-curated, high-quality finds.
Open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Plumbers Hall, 1341 W. Randolph, the market features one-of-a kind items from 175 independent vendors and designers.
Treasure seekers can expect to see vintage, antique and modern jewelry, art, fashion and home furnishings/decor.
Look for apparel and perfumes from Sugar Sequin Vintage, art and textiles from Global Attic & Naperville African Village, rock’n’roll and movie photos and posters at Atlantic Poster and vintage cowboy hats and paintings from Krava galleries.
In addition, find rare novels and interesting coffee table books at This Old Book, vintage French copper cookware at Challenge, mid-century modern goods at Tarkikngton antiques, vintage quilts at Spotted Horse Collectibles and Roodwood Pottery at Gin-For’s Oddities.
Among treats of the edible kind are lobster rolls from The Happy Lobster and gourmet cheesecake from Chicago Schweet Cheescake.
The Market can be reached through the Randolph Street and Washington Blvd Gate bordered by Ada Street on the east and Ogden Avenue on the west.
Susan V. Booth, Artistic Director of Atlanta’s Tony-Award winning Alliance Theatre, will be leading another Tony-Award winning institution, Chicago’s famed Goodman Theatre when Artistic Director Robert Falls turns over the helm this summer. Falls has led Goodman for 35 years.
Booth’s 21 year tenure at Alliance Theatre’s helm brought the Atlanta institution national recognition for artistic excellence, regional awards, world premiere musicals, a new theater plus rehearsal studios. Alliance was also recognized as a leader in literacy development for education programming by the US Dept. of Education.
“On behalf of the Board of Trustees, we are thrilled to welcome Susan Booth, an incredible artist and civic leader of national repute, as Goodman Theatre Artistic Director following her long tenure at Atlanta’s most important theater company,” said Goodman Chairman Jeff Hesse and Board President Maria Wynne, in a joint statement.
Their statement continued saying, “Her breadth of innovative leadership experience, artistic triumphs, depth of creative connections, and the unparalleled care and commitment she’s demonstrated to the creative community makes Susan a great fit for the Goodman. She will be a dynamic force to lead us towards our Centennial Anniversary in 2025, and beyond.”
Falls said, “I couldn’t be more thrilled to pass the ‘Artistic Director baton’ to Susan Booth. She’s an inspired choice with outstanding qualifications, a keen aesthetic eye and long-standing ties to Chicago. I know she’ll bring inspired leadership, energy, and fresh ideas to an exciting new chapter for the theater.”
Booth is no stranger to the Chicago theater community. She taught at Northwestern and DePaul Universities and was Goodman’s Director of New Play Development from 1993 to 2001 when she shepherded new works from such writers as Luis Alfaro, Rebecca Gilman, José Rivera and Regina Taylor.
“The Goodman has long played a foundational role in my work as an artist and as an artistic leader. To have come up in a theater so deeply committed to bravery, authenticity and muscular aesthetics was a gift—a gift I’ve been able to take with me and build upon over the last twenty years in Atlanta,” said Booth.
Other Chicago theater experiences include a Theatre on the Lake co-artistic directorship and artistic and outreach roles at Northlight and Wisdom Bridge Theatres.
“Now, to come home to this place as its next artistic leader—particularly at this moment of seismic and invigorating change in our field—is profoundly moving and humbling. I’m beyond grateful to the Board, the staff, the artists and the leadership of the Goodman for this extraordinary opportunity,” Booth said.
The good news is that the Chicago area is filled with fun weekend outdoor events. The challenge is deciding what to fit in, how much to see (and eat), where to go, and when. Be adventurous. Instead of choosing just a local spot, add a place or event you haven’t tried.
Here are a half dozen events to check out in the rest of July 2022.
Stroll the downtown of this upscale North Shore suburb to see more than 90 artists and artisans. The show features ceramics, paintings, jewelry, sculpture, glass and wearable art. A kid-friendly and pet-friendly event, the show includes artist demonstrations, kids’ activities and live music.
Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday. The show’s center is 700 Vernon Ave., Glencoe. Free admission. For more information visit Amdur Productions/Glencoe.
Visit the downtown center of a former Naval Air Station in Glenview that was turned into a residential/shopping area known as The Glen. Operated by Art show guru Amy Amdur, Art at the Glen features the works of more than 140 artists.
The show is free. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday radiating out from 2030 Tower Drive, Glenview. For more information and a map see Amdur/The Glen.
The tiny (somewhat over a square mile) City of Highwood surrounded by the suburb of Highland Park, is known for the many restaurants that line its downtown on both sides of the METRA tracks. Those eateries, ranging from Italian and French to Caribbean and Asian will be ope but the featured foods this weekend are many kinds of tacos. The taco booths are in Everts Park, a block west of the train tracks and Green Bay Road between Highwood and North Avenues. Taco Fest hours: Thursday and Friday 5-11pm, Saturday noon – 11pm and Sunday noon – 9 pm.
The bonus for kids is a carnival set up in the METRA train lot on the east of the track. For more information and a map visit Taco Fest/Highwood Days.
Now in its 38th year and operated by the Wrightwood Neighborhood Assoc, the festival features restaurants in the area plus music and assorted vendors. Hours: Friday 3-10 p.m., Saturday and Sunday noon to 10 p.m. The event is on North Lincoln Avenue between Fullerton and Wrightwood.
If you pass Madame ZuZu’s, a café/tearoom and music event space on First Street in Highland Park, IL, you will see a sign with an angel and a couple of cute animals that says “Together and Together Again” (7.27.22).
The sign is an invite to a virtual benefit concert put together by ZuZu’s owner, Billy Corgan and partner Chloé Mendel, for the Highland Park Community Foundation.
Yes, it’s the North Shore town that never expected its July 4th parade to be on the news for a mass shooting. And yes, Corgan, frontman of Smashing Pumpkins, is an HP resident.
To be held July 27, 2022, 8 to 10 p.m., the concert will include, among others, Corgan, Smashing bandmate Jimmy Chamberlin, Frank Catalano (Jazz sax), the Bob Moses duo of Tom Howie and Timmy Vallance and the classical Lincoln Trio. Other entertainers will be named later.
Attendance and items to purchase are virtual through the Smashing Pumpkins YouTube site. For more info visit Zuzucafe.com event. Zuzu’s is at 1876 First St., Highland Park, IL.
Meanwhile, in the southwest suburb of Brookfield, female pygmy hippopotamus Banana, is getting acclimated to her new home in Brookfield Zoo’s Pachyderm House and can sometimes be seen outdoors on that building’s west side. (Smaller than the river hippo, the pygmy weighs between 350 and 600 pounds and can grow to about 5.75 feet long,)
Check Chicago Park District neighborhood parks for pop, hip hop and blues takes on William Shakespeare’s words thanks to the Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s Shakes Fest.
The Chicago Shakespeare Theater has partnered with local music and dance groups to bring a musical revue of the Bard’s words to six CPD parks where their antics prove that the Bard isn’t boring. Shows are on Thursday, Friday and Saturday in different Chicago neighborhoods. They all start at 6:30 p.m.
So bring a chair or blanket this week to West Pullman Park, 401 W. 123rd St. on July 14, to the West Town Ukranian Village’s Eckhart Park, 1330 W. Chicago Ave on July 15 or Little V neighborhood’s Piotrowski Park, 4247 W. 31st St. on July 16.
Or go next week to Austin’s neighborhood Columbus Park, 500 S. Central Ave. on July 21, Englewood’s Ogden Park, 6500 S. Racine Ave., July 22 or Chinatown’s Ping Tom Memorial Park, 1700 S. Wentworth Ave., July 23.
For more information visit Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s Shakes Fest.
Get to know Wrightwood 659 , an unusual exhibition space west of Clark Street in the Lincoln Park neighborhood. Housed in what appears to be just a four or 5-story building outside, Wrightwood 659 has open spaces, stairwells and changeable exhibition spaces for art and architecture exhibits, inside.
Currently there are four very different exhibits on view that are up only through July 30, 2022: “American Framing,” “Rirkrit Tiravanija: Who’s afraid of yellow, red and green,” “Moga: Modern women and daughters in 1930’s Japan and “We shall defy: Shahidul Alam.”