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Awards and Prizes for January 2014

Chicago Jeff Awards, Suzi Bass Awards and Ovation Awards lead a number of ceremonies and honors this month.

The cast of Chicago Shakespeare Theater's 'Sunday in the Park with George' and the CST staff.
The cast of Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s ‘Sunday in the Park with George’ and the CST staff.

The 45th Annual Equity Jeff Awards, honoring Chicago theatre, were held in November. Among the biggest winners were Chicago Shakespeare Theater, which garnered seven awards, including musical production in a large theatre (for Sunday in the Park with George), director in a musical (for Gary Griffin, who staged Sunday) and ensemble (for Othello: The Remix, a co-production with Richard Jordan Productions Ltd.). Porchlight Music Theatre was the second-largest winner, with four prizes, in musical production for a midsize theatre (for A Class Act), principal actor in a musical (Bill Larkin in Class Act), solo performance (Alexis J. Rogers in Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill) and cameo performance (for Callie Johnson in Pal Joey).

The 24th Annual Ovation Awards,  Los Angeles’s top theatre honors, were handed out in November and Center Theatre Group dominated the competition. CTG won 12 awards, including best play production in a large theatre (Joe Turner’s Come and Gone) and playwriting (for Jennifer Haley’s The Nether). Other winners included the Chance Theater, whose Triassic Parq: The Musical won best musical production in an intimate theatre. That production also earned an
acting award for Kellie Spill and a musical direction award for Taylor

"Les Miserables" by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg, at Aurora Theatre in Lawrenceville, Ga. through Mar. 1. (Photo by Chris Bartelski)
“Les Miserables” by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg, at Aurora Theatre in Lawrenceville, Ga. through Mar. 1. (Photo by Chris Bartelski)

The Ninth Annual Suzi Bass Awards, honoring theatre in Atlanta, Ga., were held in November. Big winners included Aurora Theatre’s production of Les Misérables, which won five awards, including best musical, best director of a musical (Justin Anderson) and featured actress in a musical (Leslie Bellair). Actor’s Express’s Kiss of the Spider Woman scored for lead actor in a musical (Craig Waldrip) and featured actor in a musical (Bryant Smith).

United Solo performers at the 2014 United Solo Theatre Festival awards ceremony.
United Solo performers at the 2014 United Solo Theatre Festival awards ceremony.

The United Solo Theatre Festival in New York City held its annual awards ceremony in November. Among the awardees was Fiona Shaw, who received the 2013 United Solo Special Award for The Testament of Mary; A. M. Dolan’s Robert Frost: This Verse Business (performed by Gordon Clapp) won best production; and Eliza Roberts and Eric Roberts won best direction for Beneath My Fathers’ Sky by Zara Phillips.

The 3Arts Award recognizing women artists, artists of color, and artists with disabilities working in the performing, teaching and visual arts in Chicago were announced in October. Recipients in the field of theatre were actors Mierka Girten and Kelli Simkins, and teaching artists Marta Garcia and Robert Schleif-er. Each received $15,000.

The National Arts and Humanities Youth Programs Awards, announced in November, went to 12 out-of-school arts and humanities programs nationwide. Theatre-based programs that earned the prize were Dallas Theater Center’s Project Discovery, in Texas; Ifetayo Youth Ensemble at  Ifetayo Cultural Arts Academy in Brooklyn, N.Y.; Chicago-based Storycatchers Theatre’s Programs for Detained and Incarcerated Youth; and the Kuruka Maisha Foundation, in Kenya. The prizes come with a $10,000 grant, and the opportunity to visit the White House and accept the award from First Lady Michelle Obama.

Manhattan Theatre Club and Ars Nova have announced the 2013–14 participants of the Writer’s Room, a commissioning program that offers writers developmental support. The selected writers are Rachel Bonds, Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig, Jackie Sibblies Drury and PigPen Theatre Company.

"Henry V" at Oregon Shakespeare Festival. (Photo by T. Charles Erickson)
“Henry V” at Oregon Shakespeare Festival. (Photo by T. Charles Erickson)

Paul Nicholson, executive director emeritus of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, has received two awards: the Burbage Award from the American Shakespeare Center for his work in bringing Shakespeare to the stage, and the Mark R. Sumner Award from the Institute of Outdoor Drama, for his work in presenting theatre outdoors.


The York Theatre Company of New York City gave Alan Menken the Oscar Hammerstein Award for lifetime achievement in musical theatre at its gala in December. Additionally, the York Theatre Company Founder’s Award was presented to York board chair David McCoy.

The Acting Company, also in NYC, honored Dana Ivey and arts patron Barbara Fleischman at its annual gala in October. Ivey received the John Houseman Award for her work in developing theatre actors and audiences, and Fleisch-man received the Warburg Humanitarian Award for her philanthropic work in the arts.

Meryl Streep will receive the Monte Cristo Award from the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center in Connecticut, for her artistic career. Streep first performed at the O’Neill 40 years ago.

James DeVita in "An Iliad" at Milwaukee Repertory Theater (photo by Michael Brosilow)
James DeVita in “An Iliad” at Milwaukee Repertory Theater (photo by Michael Brosilow)

In December, the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre of Wisconsin picked up the 2013 United Performing Arts Fund’s Management and Organizational Performance Excellence Award, which honors exceptional work in finance, administrative planning, artistic planning, accessibility and audience development.

Varsity Theatre in Minneapolis has won the 12th annual Cintas’ America’s Best Restroom Contest, based on thousands of online votes. The theatre’s restroom contains ornate mirrors, curved brick walls, foot-pedal-activated sinks and a bartender who serves drinks.


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