The Equity Jeff awards were announced virtually this year. The 52nd annual recognition ceremony of excellence in performances and technical aspects had a lot of pluses.
Even though the ceremony was Nov. 9, it is still worth seeing on the Jeff Awards YouTube channel.
The good part of the virtual event is you can tune in when you want, watch, take a break, see performance clips and meet the nominees from your couch. Among the clips are scenes from “Color Purple,” “Bug” and “Spamalot.”
So, grab a snack, glass of wine and hear who takes top honors among a field of superb nominees.
Jeff Chairman John Glover gives a fine introduction to the whys and therefore of the event. Popular Chicago actor (actress is seldom used now) and former Jeff award recipient Michelle Lauto handles hosting duties.
Because Covid interrupted the season, the Jeff Committee attended a mere 78 shows this year. That may seem a lot to people outside Chicago but the theater community here counts approximately 250 production companies in and around the city.
Jeff Equity productions that qualified for an award were limited to those shown between Aug. 1, 2019 through mid-March 2020. The hope is that some of the interrupted and not staged shows will be performed next year.
Here are some of the top winners. But even knowing them it is still fun to watch the ceremony.
Drury Lane Productions collected awards for “An American in Paris,” (Production – Musical -Large and Choreography) and “The Color Purple,” Director – Musical.)
Windy City Playhouse was recognized for “The Boys in the Band” (Midsize Production, Director, Scenic Design and Ensemble).
Court Theater received awards for “King Hedley II” (Production – Play- Large and Kelvin Rostin, Jr. Principal Role and A.C. Smith, Supporting Role).
Porchlight Music Theatre garnered awards for “Duke Ellington’s Sophisticated Ladies” (Revue, Ensemble – Musical, Musical Direction and Lorenzo Rush, Jr. ,Performer)
Steppenwolf Theatre’s “Bug” received (Performer in a Principal Role for Carrie Coon, and technical awards for scenic and lighting design)