News Column

Chicago Tribune Chris Jones column

August 21, 2014

By Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune

Aug. 21--The flying kilts of "Brigadoon," the immortal barricades of "Les Miserables" and, in general, the lively revivals of director-choreographer Rachel Rockwell dominate the 2014 Joseph Jefferson Award nominations, announced Thursday by the all-volunteer committee that annually honors what it considers to be the best in Chicago theater.

The Jeff Committee's collective head also was turned by Rebecca Gilman's new drama at the Goodman Theatre, "Luna Gale," and by the the intense revival of August Strindberg's "The Dance of Death," at Writers Theatre in Glencoe. All four of those shows scored between six and nine nominations apiece.

The Jeff Committee was, however, singularly unimpressed this year by the work at the Steppenwolf Theatre Company, offering up just one technical nomination (for composer Kevin O'Donnell's sound design for "The Wheel") for the entire season of Steppenwolf shows, and ignoring such major acting work as Joan Allen's central performance in that very play (Sandra Oh, who appeared this past season at the Victory Gardens, also is overlooked).

The committee also diverted from prevailing critical opinion (as is traditional) in its lack of enthusiasm for Noah Haidle's new play "Smokefall." That production was so highly regarded, the Goodman took the extraordinary step of remounting it on its mainstage this fall; but there is just one Jeff nomination, for the veteran actor Mike Nussbaum.

Jeff Committee members do, however, admire director Kimberly Senior's critically acclaimed production of "Hedda Gabler" and Devon De Mayo's version of Neil Simon's "Lost in Yonkers" at Northlight Theatre, both of which have multiple nominations, including best production (play) in a large theater. Other musicals in the best production (musical) category are Gary Griffin's production of "Gypsy" at Chicago Shakespeare Theater and the Drury Lane Theatre's productions of "Next to Normal" and "Young Frankenstein." There are no nominations for the new musical "Days Like Today" at Writers Theatre and no love for Marisa Wegryzn's hit comedy "Mud Blue Sky" at A Red Orchid Theatre.

Mary Beth Fisher, nominated for both "Luna Gale" and "The Normal Heart" (the latter at TimeLine Theatre) is the only performer with two nominations, one in a leading actress category and one as a supporting actress. She will face some formidable competition in the best actress in a play (large theater) category, filled with especially stellar work.

Of the seven best actor in a play (large theater) nominations, four are for men named Larry (Yando, Grimm, Marshall and Neumann, Jr.), with Larry Adams extending that stellar collective effort into the best musical category, with a nomination for his work as Ebenezer Scrooge at the Theatre at the Center, in Munster, Indiana.

The full list of nominations is as follows:

PRODUCTION -- PLAY -- LARGE

--"The Dance of Death" -- Writers Theatre

--"Hedda Gabler" -- Writers Theatre

--"Lost in Yonkers" -- Northlight Theatre

--"Luna Gale" -- Goodman Theatre

--"Seven Guitars" -- Court Theatre

PRODUCTION -- PLAY -- MIDSIZE

--"King Hedley II" -- Congo Square Theatre Company

--"The Normal Heart" -- TimeLine Theatre Company

--"Our Class" -- Remy Bumppo Theatre Company

--"A Raisin in the Sun" -- TimeLine Theatre Company

--"The Seafarer" -- Seanachai Theatre Company

PRODUCTION -- MUSICAL -- LARGE

--"Brigadoon" -- Goodman Theatre

--"Gypsy" -- Chicago Shakespeare Theater

--"Les MisÉrables" -- Drury Lane Productions

--"Next to Normal" -- Drury Lane Productions

--"Young Frankenstein" -- Drury Lane Productions

PRODUCTION -- MUSICAL -- MIDSIZE

--"Avenue Q" -- Mercury Theater Chicago

--"The Color Purple -- The Musical about Love" -- Mercury Theater Chicago

--"Hank Williams: Lost Highway" -- American Blues Theater

--"How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" -- Porchlight Music Theatre

PRODUCTION -- REVUE

--"Ain't Misbehavin'" -- Porchlight Music Theatre

--"Depraved New World" -- The Second City

--"Old Jews Telling Jokes" -- Daniel Okrent & Peter Gethers, Richard Frankel, Tom Viertel, Steven Baruch, and Marc Routh

DIRECTOR -- PLAY

--Nick Bowling -- "The Normal Heart" -- TimeLine Theatre Company

--Robert Falls -- "Luna Gale" -- Goodman Theatre

--Matt Miller -- "The Seafarer" -- SeanachaÍ Theatre Company

--Ron OJ Parson -- "A Raisin in the Sun" -- TimeLine Theatre Company

--Ron OJ Parson -- "Seven Guitars" -- Court Theatre

--Nick Sandys -- "Our Class" -- Remy Bumppo Theatre Company

--Henry Wishcamper -- "The Dance of Death" -- Writers Theatre

DIRECTOR -- MUSICAL

--Gary Griffin -- "Road Show" -- Chicago Shakespeare Theater

--Damon Kiely -- "Hank Williams: Lost Highway" -- American Blues Theater

--William Osetek -- "Young Frankenstein" -- Drury Lane Productions

--William Osetek -- "Next to Normal" -- Drury Lane Productions

--Rachel Rockwell -- "Brigadoon" -- Goodman Theatre

--Rachel Rockwell -- "Les MisÉrables" -- Drury Lane Productions

DIRECTOR -- REVUE

--Marc Bruni -- "Old Jews Telling Jokes" -- Daniel Okrent & Peter Gethers, Richard Frankel, Tom Viertel, Steven Baruch, and Marc Routh

--Brenda Didier -- "Ain't Misbehavin'" -- Porchlight Music Theatre

--Mick Napier -- "Depraved New World" -- The Second City

ENSEMBLE

--"Ain't Misbehavin'" -- Porchlight Music Theatre

--"Avenue Q" -- Mercury Theater Chicago

--"The Old Man and the Old Moon" -- Writers Theatre

--"Our Class" -- Remy Bumppo Theatre Company

--"The Seafarer" -- SeanachaÍ Theatre Company

--"Seven Guitars" -- Court Theatre

ACTOR IN A PRINCIPAL ROLE -- PLAY

--David Alan Anderson -- "The Mountaintop" -- Court Theatre

--Brad Armacost -- "The Seafarer" -- SeanachaÍ Theatre Company

--Larry Grimm -- "Trevor" -- A Red Orchid Theatre

--Harry Groener -- "Cyrano de Bergerac" -- Chicago Shakespeare Theater

--Larry Marshall -- "Pullman Porter Blues" -- Goodman Theatre

--Larry Neumann, Jr. -- "In God's Hat" -- Profiles Theatre

--Larry Yando -- "The Dance of Death" -- Writers Theatre

ACTOR IN A PRINCIPAL ROLE -- MUSICAL

--Larry Adams -- "A Christmas Carol The Musical" -- Theatre at the Center

--Matthew Brumlow -- "Hank Williams: Lost Highway" -- American Blues Theater

--Quentin Earl Darrington -- "Les MisÉrables" -- Drury Lane Productions

--Michael Aaron Lindner -- "Road Show" -- Chicago Shakespeare Theater

--Andrew Rothenberg -- "Road Show" -- Chicago Shakespeare Theater

ACTRESS IN A PRINCIPAL ROLE -- PLAY

--Shannon Cochran -- "The Dance of Death" -- Writers Theatre

--Mary Beth Fisher -- "Luna Gale" -- Goodman Theatre

--Kirsten Fitzgerald -- "Appropriate" -- Victory Gardens Theater

--Kate Fry -- "Hedda Gabler" -- Writers Theatre

--Linsey Page Morton -- "Lost in Yonkers" -- Northlight Theatre

--Greta Oglesby -- "A Raisin in the Sun" -- TimeLine Theatre Company

--Penny Slusher -- "Chapatti" -- Northlight Theatre

ACTRESS IN A PRINCIPAL ROLE -- MUSICAL

--Trisha Jeffrey -- "The Color Purple" -- Mercury Theater Chicago

--Susie McMonagle -- "Next to Normal" -- Drury Lane Productions

--Leah Morrow -- "Avenue Q" -- Mercury Theater Chicago

--Louise Pitre -- "Gypsy" -- Chicago Shakespeare Theater

--Summer Naomi Smart -- "Mary Poppins" -- Marriott Theatre

--Jennie Sophia -- "Brigadoon" -- Goodman Theatre

ACTOR IN A REVUE

--John Hartman -- "Depraved New World" -- The Second City

--Donterrio Johnson -- "Ain't Misbehavin'" -- Porchlight Music Theatre

--Lorenzo Rush, Jr. -- "Ain't Misbehavin'" -- Porchlight Music Theatre

ACTRESS IN A REVUE

--Sharriese Hamilton -- "Ain't Misbehavin'" -- Porchlight Music Theatre

--Renee Matthews -- "Old Jews Telling Jokes" -- Daniel Okrent & Peter Gethers, Richard Frankel, Tom Viertel, Steven Baruch, and Marc Routh

--Tawny Newsome -- "Depraved New World" -- The Second City

SOLO PERFORMANCE

--Juan Francisco Villa -- "The Gun Show" -- 16th Street Theater

--Gwendolyn Whiteside -- "Grounded" -- American Blues Theater

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE -- PLAY

--Ira Amyx -- "The Seafarer" -- SeanachaÍ Theatre Company

--Patrick Andrews -- "The Normal Heart" -- TimeLine Theatre Company

--Julian Hester -- "The Late Henry Moss" -- The Artistic Home

--Anthony Irons -- "King Hedley II" -- Congo Square Theatre Company

--Mike Nussbaum -- "Smokefall" -- Goodman Theatre and South Coast Repertory

--Alex Weisman -- "The Rainmaker" -- First Folio Theatre

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE -- MUSICAL

--Jordan Brown -- "Brigadoon" -- Goodman Theatre

--Joe Dempsey -- "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" -- Drury Lane Productions

--Jeff Dumas -- "Young Frankenstein" -- Drury Lane Productions

--Mark David Kaplan -- "Les MisÉrables" -- Drury Lane Productions

--John Keating -- "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" -- Porchlight Music Theatre

--Travis Taylor -- "Les MisÉrables" -- Drury Lane Productions

--Josh Tolle -- "Next to Normal" -- Drury Lane Productions

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE -- PLAY

--E. Faye Butler -- "Pullman Porter Blues" -- Goodman Theatre

--Reyna de Courcy -- "Luna Gale" -- Goodman Theatre

--Mary Beth Fisher -- "The Normal Heart" -- TimeLine Theatre Company

--Sandra Marquez -- "A View From the Bridge" -- Teatro Vista

--Ann Whitney -- "Lost in Yonkers" -- Northlight Theatre

--Cecelia Wingate -- "Cicada" -- Route 66 Theatre Company and Hear/Tell Productions

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE -- MUSICAL

--Annabel Armour -- "Cabaret" -- Marriott Theatre

--Jasondra Johnson -- "The Color Purple" -- Mercury Theater Chicago

--Maggie Portman -- "Brigadoon" -- Goodman Theatre

--Jessica Rush -- "Gypsy" -- Chicago Shakespeare Theater

--Sharon Sachs -- "Les MisÉrables" -- Drury Lane Productions

--Paula Scrofano -- "Young Frankenstein" -- Drury Lane Productions

--Adrienne Walker -- "The Color Purple" -- Mercury Theater Chicago

NEW WORK

--Rebecca Gilman -- "Luna Gale" -- Goodman Theatre

--Sara Gmitter -- "In the Garden: A Darwinian Love Story" -- Lookingglass Theatre Company

--Joel Drake Johnson -- "Rasheeda Speaking" -- Rivendell Theatre Ensemble

--Christian O'Reilly -- "Chapatti" -- Northlight Theatre

NEW ADAPTATION

--Rick Cummins and John Scoullar -- "The Little Prince" -- Lookingglass Theatre Company in association with The Actors Gymnasium

--John Mossman -- "The Goddess" -- The Artistic Home

CHOREOGRAPHY

--Brenda Didier -- "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" -- Porchlight Music Theatre

--Tammy Mader -- "Young Frankenstein" -- Drury Lane Productions

--Marc Robin -- "Cats" -- Marriott Theatre

--Rachel Rockwell -- "Brigadoon" -- Goodman Theatre

--Rachel Rockwell -- "Hello, Dolly!" -- Drury Lane Productions

ORIGINAL MUSIC IN A PLAY

--Jeffrey Levin -- "In God's Hat" -- Profiles Theatre

--Kevin O'Donnell -- "The Crownless King" -- The House Theatre of Chicago

--Pigpen Theatre Co. -- "The Old Man and the Old Moon" -- Writers Theatre

--Andre Pluess -- "The White Snake" -- Goodman Theatre

MUSIC DIRECTION

--Roberta Duchak -- "Brigadoon" -- Goodman Theatre

--Roberta Duchak -- "Les MisÉrables" -- Drury Lane Productions

--Rick Fox -- "Gypsy" -- Chicago Shakespeare Theater

--Michael Mahler -- "Road Show" -- Chicago Shakespeare Theater

--Robert Reddrick -- "Chicago's Golden Soul" -- Black Ensemble Theater

--Malcolm Ruhl -- "Hank Williams: Lost Highway" -- American Blues Theater

SCENIC DESIGN -- MIDSIZE

--Brian Sidney Bembridge -- "A Raisin in the Sun" -- TimeLine Theatre Company

--Stephen H. Carmody -- "Broadsword" -- The Gift Theatre

--Angela Weber Miller -- "Rough Crossing" -- First Folio Theatre

--Angela Weber Miller -- "Salvage" -- First Folio Theatre

--Andrei Onegin -- "King Hedley II" -- Congo Square Theatre Company

--Katie-Bell Springmann -- "Cock" -- Profiles Theatre

SCENIC DESIGN -- LARGE

--Kevin Depinet -- "The Dance of Death" -- Writers Theatre

--Regina Garcia -- "Seven Guitars" -- Court Theatre

--Riccardo Hernandez -- "Pullman Porter Blues" -- Goodman Theatre

--Collette Pollard -- "In the Garden: A Darwinian Love Story" -- Lookingglass Theatre Company

--Todd Rosenthal -- "Luna Gale" -- Goodman Theatre

--Yu Shibigaki -- "Appropriate" -- Victory Gardens Theater

LIGHTING DESIGN -- MIDSIZE

--Rebecca A. Barrett and Lee Keenan -- "Dorian" -- The House Theatre of Chicago

--Brian Sidney Bembridge -- "A Raisin in the Sun" -- TimeLine Theatre Company

--Charlie Cooper -- "Mill Fire" -- Shattered Globe Theatre

--Mike Durst -- "Our Class" -- Remy Bumppo Theatre Company

--Lee Keenan -- "The Crownless King" -- The House Theatre of Chicago

LIGHTING DESIGN -- LARGE

--T. J. Gerckens -- "The White Snake" -- Goodman Theatre

--Greg Hofmann -- "Les MisÉrables" -- Drury Lane Productions

--William Kirkham -- "The Little Prince" -- Lookingglass Theatre Company in association with The Actors Gymnasium

--Jesse Klug -- "Cats" -- Marriott Theatre

--Keith Parham -- "M. Butterfly" -- Court Theatre

COSTUME DESIGN -- MIDSIZE

--Rachel Lambert -- "Northanger Abbey" -- Remy Bumppo Theatre Company

--Frances Maggio -- "The Color Purple" -- Mercury Theater Chicago

--Bill Morey -- "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" -- Porchlight Music Theatre

--Alexia Rutherford -- "Double Trouble" -- Porchlight Music Theatre

--Lynn Sandberg -- "The Goddess" -- The Artistic Home

COSTUME DESIGN -- LARGE

--Mara Blumenfeld -- "Brigadoon" -- Goodman Theatre

--Mara Blumenfeld -- "The White Snake" -- Goodman Theatre

--Theresa Ham -- "Hello, Dolly!" -- Drury Lane Productions

--Rachel Anne Healy and Carolyn Cristofani -- "Tom Jones" -- Northlight Theatre

--Susan E. Mickey -- "Cyrano de Bergerac" -- Chicago Shakespeare Theater

--Susan E. Mickey -- "The Merry Wives of Windsor" -- Chicago Shakespeare Theater

--Mariann S. Verheyen -- "Henry V" -- Chicago Shakespeare Theater

SOUND DESIGN -- MIDSIZE

--Joshua Horvath -- "The Crownless King" -- The House Theatre of Chicago

--Lindsay Jones -- "Grounded" -- American Blues Theater

--Christopher Kriz -- "Cicada" -- Route 66 Theatre Company and Hear/Tell Productions

--Christopher Kriz -- "Mill Fire" -- Shattered Globe Theatre

--Kevin O'Donnell -- "Dorian" -- The House Theatre of Chicago

SOUND DESIGN -- LARGE

--Mikhail Fiksel -- "The Old Man and the Old Moon" -- Writers Theatre

--Lindsay Jones -- "Henry V" -- Chicago Shakespeare Theater

--Kevin O'Donnell -- "The Wheel" -- Steppenwolf Theatre Company

--Josh Schmidt -- "The Dance of Death" -- Writers Theatre

--Rick Sims -- "The Little Prince" -- Lookingglass Theatre Company in association with The Actors Gymnasium

PROJECTIONS/VIDEO DESIGN

--John Boesche -- "Our Class" -- Remy Bumppo Theatre Company

--Sage Marie Carter -- " Les MisÉrables" -- Drury Lane Productions

--Shawn Sagady -- "Brigadoon" -- Goodman Theatre

--Shawn Sagady -- "The White Snake" -- Goodman Theatre

--Michael Stanfill -- "The Normal Heart" -- TimeLine Theatre Company

--Mike Tutaj -- "Grounded" -- American Blues Theater

ARTISTIC SPECIALIZATION

--Austin Cook -- Piano/Conductor -- "Ain't Misbehavin'" -- Porchlight Music Theatre

--Matt Hawkins -- Fight Choreography -- "Henry V" -- Chicago Shakespeare Theater

--Jeff Klapperich -- Portrait Artist -- "Dorian" -- The House Theatre of Chicago

--Cassy Schillo -- Properties Design -- "Salvage" -- First Folio Theatre

--Russ Walko -- Puppet Design -- "Avenue Q" -- Mercury Theater Chicago

___

(c)2014 the Chicago Tribune

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