Short thoughts on the non-Equity Jeffs, and a thank you

Time Out Chicago has a list of non-Equity Jeff Award winners introed with a short recap of the ceremony — which seems like it was a bit of a disaster. I mean it’s one thing to be underrehearsed, but quite another thing to read the wrong name of the winner and not notice it until after the poor person has taken the stage and started giving her acceptance speech. WTF?

[Edit: The Jeff Committee is now saying both winners were intended to receive the award. I, however, think this is just a sloppy way to save face for all involved.]

However, having the Heddatron robots present awards I’d imagine put a bit more win into what sounds like an otherwise headachy affair.

As for the winners, while I had some issues with Hypocrites’ conceptual take on Cabaret, it was certainly a daring and memorable production. And everyone else seems to have loved it — it nearly swept the musical awards, winning best production of a musical, best direction of a musical (Matt Hawkins), best actress in a musical (Jessie Fischer, who’s doing some great work as Frenchie in The Original Grease), best supporting actress in a musical (Kate Harris) and best costume designs (Alison Siple).

I’m jazzed that The New Colony won their first Jeff Award for their incredibly catchy orignal tunes in That Sordid Little Story (written by Chris Gingrich, Henry Riggs, Thea Lux and Tara Sissom). In fact, you can download the show’s Jeff Award-winning tunes on their website. (I suspect this will be the first of many awards for this rapidly rising group.)

Brenda Didier also was deservedly honored for her athletic choreography in Theo Ubique’s Cats — some of the best work I’ve seen from a non-Equity musical production.

Finally, a BIG congratulations and thank you to all the winners and nominees! It’s great that our city can formally recognize all the hard work these artists bring to Chicago and our thriving storefront theatre scene. These folks break their necks to deliver groundbreaking live theatre for little (or typically no) pay. They do it for the pure love of the craft. To pay the bills, they often work a day job (or two or three) and fill their spare time creating in dusty, shoebox spaces.

Quite simply, Chicago theatre people — particularly of the non-Equity kind — are my superheroes, and I can’t thank them enough.

2 thoughts on “Short thoughts on the non-Equity Jeffs, and a thank you

  1. To be fair, Brenda Didier’s name was printed inside the envelope. It was not a mis-read on the part of the presenter but instead an error on the part of the Committee. Whether it was meant to be two names or just Matt Hawkens I can only speculate about, but I did see that envelope with my own eyes and it certainly said Brenda’s name loud and clear. Hopefully in future ceremonies more attention will be paid when the envelopes are printed.

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