If Goodman Theatre’s production of “The Who’s Tommy” opens on Broadway next year (a transfer expected but not officially confirmed), it received a memorable send-off Monday at the 55th annual Joseph Jefferson Awards ceremony recognizing excellence in Chicago-area theater during the 2022-2023 equity season.
Goodman’s record-breaking production — the highest grossing in the theater’s 98-year history — received nine Jeff Awards, more than any other production, and won every category in which it was nominated.
“Tommy” received awards for large musical, director Des McAnuff, ensemble (shared with Court Theatre’s “The Gospel at Colonus”), lead performer Ali Louis Bourzgui, sound designer Gareth Owen, lighting designer Amanda Zieve, choreographer Lorin Latarro, music director Rick Fox and projection designer Peter Nigrini.
Former Goodman Theatre artistic director Robert Falls received a directing award for his adaptation of Goodman’s “The Cherry Orchard” and a lifetime achievement award for his contributions to theater in Chicago and beyond.
Goodman led all theaters winning 12 awards overall, including a new work nod for Rebecca Gilman’s “Swing State” and large play for “The Cherry Orchard,” which also earned director Robert Falls a directing award. Falls, who retired last year after serving 35 years as Goodman’s artistic director, also received a lifetime achievement award for his contributions to theater in Chicago and beyond.
“Bob’s greatest gift is his generosity and his kindness … what makes him unique is his humanity and that is what we’re honoring tonight,” said longtime Goodman colleague Steve Scott in his introduction.
A standing ovation greeted Falls, a 12-time Jeff Award-winner and Tony Award-winner who received his first Jeff Citation when he was a 21-year-old University of Illinois undergraduate.
“Two weeks ago I opened ‘Swing State’ off-Broadway and in every review I was referred to as Chicago director Robert Falls or Robert Falls, Chicago director. And I could not have been more proud,” he said, accepting the award. “All I ever wanted to do was to make theater in Chicago and everything after that has been an extraordinary blessing.”
Highland Park’s Marvin Quijada (seen here with Ashlyn Lozano) received equity Joseph Jefferson Awards for writing, performing and composing the music for “The Dream,” which premiered at Teatro Vista earlier this year.
– Courtesy of Joel Maisonet
Highland Park’s Marvin Quijada received awards for writing, performing and original composition (which he shared with Matthew Chapman, Elliott Taggart and Ethan T. Parcell) for “The Dream King,” his 21st-century fairy tale and love story.
Teatro Vista’s “Dream King” premiere also received Jeff Awards for mid-size play (which it shared with American Blues Theater’s “Fences”), set designer Joe Schermoly, sound designer Chapman, lighting designer Conchita Avitia and puppet designer Mike Oleon.
“In the words of (the late rapper) Nipsey Hussle, there is no formula to this thing, I just didn’t quit,” said Quijada, accepting his award for new work.
Quijada shared the award with Gilman, Tuckie White (Rivendell Theatre Ensemble’s “Motherhouse”) and composer/lyricist Ingrid Michaelson and writer Bekah Brunstetter for Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s Broadway-bound “The Notebook.”
Elizabeth Stenholt received the 2022-2023 equity Joseph Jefferson Award for supporting performance in a musical for playing Medium Alison in Paramount Theatre’s “Fun Home.”
– Courtesy of Liz Lauren
Elizabeth Stenholt received the supporting performer in a musical award for her performance as Medium Alison in Paramount’s “Fun Home.”
“I’m grateful for the lifelong friendships and huge impact all of these people had on my life,” said Stenholt referring to the “Fun Home” cast and design team.
Stenholt shared the award with Mary Robin Roth (Porchlight Music Theatre’s “Cabaret”) and Joy Woods (Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s “The Notebook”)
Jeffrey D. Kmiec’s set for Paramount Theatre’s “Into the Woods” shared the large set design Joseph Jefferson Award with Andrew Boyce, whose design for Drury Lane Theatre’s “Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express” also received large set design honors.
– Courtesy of Liz Lauren
The Jeff committee recognized set designers Andrew Boyce for Drury Lane Theatre’s “Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express” and Jeffrey D. Kmiec for Paramount Theatre’s “Into the Woods.”
Felicia P. Fields was named best performer in a revue for her performance in Writers Theatre’s “Pearl’s Rollin’ With the Blues: A Night With Felicia P. Fields.” She shared the award with The Second City’s Evan Mills.
– Courtesy of Michael Brosilow
Puppet designer Drew Dir received the artistic specialization award for “Manual Cinema’s Christmas Carol” at Writers Theatre. Dir shared the award with Oleon for “The Dream King” puppets and properties designers Amanda Herrmann and Yu Shibagaki for Lookingglass Theatre’s “Lucy and Charlie’s Honeymoon.”