Actor Brian Dennehy and Director Robert Falls were among the big winners Monday at the 44th Annual Equity Jeff Awards at Drury Lane Theatre Oakbrook on Monday.
Goodman Theatre's "The Iceman Cometh" took top honors for a play in the large theater tier with a total of six awards, including Production-Play, Falls for director, supporting actor Dennehy, Scenic Designer Kevin Depinet and Lighting Designer Natasha Katz. The all-star cast of Eugene O'Neill's "Iceman," a colossal production that played to sold-out audiences last spring, also received the award for Ensemble.
In musical categories for large theaters, Chicago Shakespeare Theater's "Follies" won top awards for a musical with six statues, including Production-Musical, Director Gary Griffin, Music Director Brad Haak, Principal Actress Caroline O'Connor, Supporting Actress Hollis Resnik and Costume Designer Virgil C. Johnson. The Stephen Sondheim-James Goldman "Follies," about a reunion of performers from the Follies, was a huge hit at CST's Navy Pier theater.
In the midsize theater tier, TimeLine Theatre Company won the top award for Production-Play with "The Pitmen Painters," a drama by English writer Lee Hall about a group of miners who become unlikely artists. The Production-Musical Award for midsize theaters went to "The Doyle & Debbie Show," a commercial production from lonesome road productions in association with Jim Jensen and Lisselan Productions, which played for several months at the Royal George Theatre. Bruce Arntson, the creator of the parody of country music duos, also took home the Principal Actor in a Musical statue. In the Production-Revue category, The Second City e.t.c. scored with "We're All in This Room Together," as did Ryan Bernier for Director-Revue. Edgar Blackmon received the Actor in a Revue statue for "Who Do We Think We Are?" at The Second City mainstage.
A Special Award was presented to Actors' Equity Association in celebration of their century of service to actors and stage managers in Chicago and across America.
Aaron Thielen and Michael Mahler were honored with a New Work-Musical statue for their comedy "HERO the Musical" at Marriott Theatre, and Oren Jacoby won New Adaptation-Play honors for his incisive rendering of Ralph Ellison's "Invisible Man" at Court Theatre in association with Christopher McElroen Productions.
Diane D'Aquila took home Actress in a Principal Role-Play for the title role in "Elizabeth Rex" at Chicago Shakespeare Theater. Comedic turns earned Supporting Role honors for Alex Goodrich in "HERO the Musical" at Marriott.
The Jeff Awards has been honoring outstanding theater artists annually since it was established in 1968. In May, I officially joined the 52 voting members representing a wide variety of backgrounds in theater.
The Jeff Awards celebrates Chicago area theater, recognizing excellence through its recommendations, awards, and honors. Each year, Jeff members evaluate more than 250 theatrical productions and the group holds two awards ceremonies, including the summer non-equity awards ceremony.
For a complete list of the 2012 Jeff Awards and honors bestowed this week, visit jeffawards.org.