Non-Equity Jeff Awards Announced

Okay, one more theater-related thing this week, and then no more til my next (potentially controversial!) review. Last week the Jeff Committee announced nominees for the Non-Equity Jeff Awards (the Tonys of Chicago), so I checked out the list to see if anything looked familiar. And lo!

Opus” — Redtwist Theatre (for Play, Director, Ensemble, Sound Design, Artistic Specialization)

A Behanding in Spokane” — Profiles Theatre (Supporting Actor)

One Flea Spare” — Eclipse Theatre Company (Supporting Actor)

Under the Blue Sky” — Steep Theatre Company (Supporting Actress)

We Live Here” — Theatre Seven of Chicago (New Work, Artistic Specialization)

Cyrano” — The House Theatre of Chicago (New Adaptation, Original Incidental Music, Costume Design, Fight Design)

The Spirit Play” — The Strange Tree Group (Original Incidental Music, Artistic Specialization)

The Sea” — Theatre Mir (Sound Design)

For my money: Opus was one of my favorite shows last year and definitely deserves Director or Play. I would not give it Artistic Specialization (it was nominated for Music Coach); one of the actors never once did vibrato on her viola!

Caroline Neff, yes, should of course win Supporting Actress for Under the Blue Sky. We Live Here was another one of my favorites and deserves a win for New Work (and Cyd Blakewell, who was also great in last year’s MilkMilkLemonade, was a standout here).

Cyrano was terrific, and the fight scenes were breathtaking. I did like the music in The Spirit Play.

Hey, eight nominated shows! Not bad. And I agree with most of the nominations for those shows. Even better. Some of the nominated shows are still running, so check them out while you still can.

New Centerstage Review Up

This is another recommended show: Opus at Redtwist Theatre up in Edgewater. It puts four people in a room (rotating out a fifth) and watches them implode after years of power struggles and a communal desire to reach new musical heights. Here’s an excerpt from my play review:

This structure teases out the subtleties of the relationship between Dorian (Paul Dunckel) and Elliot (Michael Sherwin), and their power struggle within both the bedroom and the rehearsal space. It’s partially a metaphor of which should ultimately reign in music-making, the head or the heart, but the metaphor never supersedes the humanity of these flawed, talented artists.

You can read the rest of the review here.

Pro tip: Don’t be late! Redtwist doesn’t have late seating and you will be sad as you watch the TV monitor in the lobby showing the play you can’t get into. I learned this when traffic made me all of five minutes late to opening night, and I had to come back the next day to actually see and review it. (Many thanks to the staff at Redtwist for accommodating me there.)