When the 2019 Jeff Awards Ceremony took place Oct. 21 at Drury Lane Oakbrook, two production companies received five awards each from the volunteer Jeff Committee.
In the Midsized category, RemyBumppo’s multiple recognition included Best Production for “Frankenstein.” In the Large category, Court Theatre’s multiple awards included “Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf” and ”Photograph 51.”
Other theater companies receiving multiple awards for their productions were as follows: Lookingglass (4) Chicago Shakespeare (3), Steppenwolf (3) Black
Ensemble (3) Windy City Playhouse (3) Firebrand partnering with TimeLine (2) TimeLine (alone 2), Paramount (2) and Porchlight (2).
First Folio, Goodman, American Blues Theater, Marriott and Theatre at the Center each received one award as did the new musical, “Miracle” about the Chicago Cubs, staged at the commercial (rented out space) Royal George Theatre.
Those shows were excellent. But the Chicago area has 250 theater companies, many of which, such as Writers Theatre, also turn out excellent productions. Some of those productions received nominations.
However, when the voting was in, the Jeff committee focused on a very few productions and even ignored some outstanding individual performances in productions by companies that had been recognized for another show.
Given that theater here is amazingly alive and well, maybe the Jeff Committee needs to be expanded or some of its criteria changed or we need an additional award organization.
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For a complete list of the Jeff Award recipients see Jeff Awards.
To learn which shows were nominated and an explanation of the Jeff Awards visit Jeff Nominations Announced.