ADV – Leaderboard

Lili-Anne Brown, right, directs "The Color Purple" at Drury Lane Theatre.

Drury Lane Takes Home 8 Equity Jeff Awards

Drury Lane, Windy City Playhouse, Court Theatre, and Mercury Theater all received best production awards for plays and musical produced during the pandemic-shortened season.

CHICAGO:  On Monday night, the winners of the 2020 Equity Jeff Awards were announced during a virtual ceremony. Winners were selected from 142 nominations across 30 artistic and technical categories. The ceremony, hosted by Michelle Lauto and featuring the work of many nominees, can be accessed for free on the Jeff Awards YouTube channel.

While the traditional Equity season runs Aug. 1 through July 31, this year was cut short due to the pandemic. Due to the shortened timeline, a total of 62 productions were eligible for 2020 nominations. This year’s winners are led by Drury Lane Productions, which won five awards for their production of An American in Paris, which won Best Musical in the large theatre category, and three awards for The Color Purple, directed by Best Director of a Musical winner Lili-Anne Brown. Additionally, Windy City Playhouse won five awards, including four for their production of The Boys in the Band, which was awarded Best Play for the midsize theatre category. Other top awards went to Court Theatre’s King Hedley II for Best Play in the large theatre category and Mercury Theater’s Monty Python’s Spamalot for Best Musical in the midsize theatre category.

The Jeff Awards also honored three playwrights and productions in their New Work category. This year’s honorees include Lee Edward Colston II for The First Deep Breath at Victory Gardens Theater, Levi Holloway for Grey House at A Red Orchid Theatre, and Loy A. Webb for His Shadow: A Parable at 16th Street Theater.

The complete list of winners is below:

PRODUCTION – PLAY – LARGE
King Hedley II; Court Theatre

PRODUCTION – PLAY – MIDSIZE
The Boys in the Band; Windy City Playhouse

PRODUCTION – MUSICAL – LARGE
An American in Paris; Drury Lane Productions

PRODUCTION – MUSICAL – MIDSIZE
Monty Python’s Spamalot; Mercury Theater Chicago

ENSEMBLE – PLAY
The Boys in the Band; Windy City Playhouse
The Leopard Play, or Sad Songs for Lost Boys; Steep Theatre Company

ENSEMBLE – MUSICAL
Duke Ellington’s Sophisticated Ladies; Porchlight Music Theatre

NEW WORK
Lee Edward Colston II; The First Deep Breath; Victory Gardens Theater
Levi Holloway; Grey House; A Red Orchid Theatre
Loy A. Webb; His Shadow: A Parable; 16th Street Theater

DIRECTOR – PLAY – LARGE
Wardell Julius Clark; Kill Move Paradise; TimeLine Theatre Company

DIRECTOR – PLAY – MIDSIZE
Carl Menninger; The Boys in the Band; Windy City Playhouse

DIRECTOR – MUSICAL – LARGE
Lili-Anne Brown; The Color Purple; Drury Lane Productions

DIRECTOR – MUSICAL – MIDSIZE
L. Walter Stearns; Monty Python’s Spamalot; Mercury Theater Chicago

PERFORMER IN A PRINCIPAL ROLE – PLAY
Carrie Coon (Agnes White); Bug; Steppenwolf Theatre Company
Kelvin Roston Jr. (Hedley); King Hedley II; Court Theatre

PERFORMER IN A PRINCIPAL ROLE – MUSICAL
Josh Drake (Jerry Mulligan); An American in Paris; Drury Lane Productions
Eben K. Logan (Celie); The Color Purple; Drury Lane Productions

PERFORMER IN A REVUE
Lorenzo Rush Jr. (The Raconteur); Duke Ellington’s Sophisticated Ladies; Porchlight Music Theatre

SOLO PERFORMANCE
Rebecca Spence; Every Brilliant Thing; Windy City Playhouse

PERFORMER IN A SUPPORTING ROLE – PLAY
Deanna Reed-Foster (Pearl Thomas); The First Deep Breath; Victory Gardens Theater
A.C. Smith (Elmore); King Hedley II; Court Theatre

PERFORMER IN A SUPPORTING ROLE – MUSICAL
Skyler Adams (Adam Hochberg); An American in Paris; Drury Lane Productions
Nicole Michelle Haskins (Sofia); The Color Purple; Drury Lane Productions

SCENIC DESIGN – LARGE
Takeshi Kata; Bug; Steppenwolf Theatre Company

SCENIC DESIGN – MIDSIZE
William Boles; The Boys in the Band; Windy City Playhouse
Joe Schermoly; The Gulf; About Face Theatre

COSTUME DESIGN – LARGE
Theresa Ham; Beauty and the Beast; Paramount Theatre

COSTUME DESIGN – MIDSIZE
Kristy Leigh Hall; Howards End; Remy Bumppo Theatre Company

SOUND DESIGN – LARGE
Mikhail Fiksel; Dana H.; Goodman Theatre

SOUND DESIGN – MIDSIZE
Jeffrey Levin; Grey House; A Red Orchid Theatre

LIGHTING DESIGN – LARGE
Heather Gilbert; Bug; Steppenwolf Theatre Company

LIGHTING DESIGN – MIDSIZE
Mike Durst; Grey House; A Red Orchid Theatre

CHOREOGRAPHY
Lynne Kurdziel-Formato; An American in Paris; Drury Lane Productions

ORIGINAL MUSIC IN A PLAY
Ladysmith Black Mambazo; Lindiwe; Steppenwolf Theatre Company

MUSICAL DIRECTION
Jermaine Hill; Duke Ellington’s Sophisticated Ladies; Porchlight Music Theatre

PROJECTION DESIGN
Kevan Loney; An American in Paris; Drury Lane Productions

ARTISTIC SPECIALIZATION
Breon Arzell (movement choreographer); Kill Move Paradise; TimeLine Theatre Company
Steve Cuiffo (illusion and lip sync consultant); Dana H.; Goodman Theatre

The Jeff Awards have honored theatre artists annually since 1968 and are committed to celebrating the vitality of Chicago theatre. The Jeff Awards established a non-Equity wing in 1973 to celebrate achievements in non-union theatre.

A just and thriving theatre ecology begins with information for all. If you are able, please join us in this mission by making a donation. As we reckon with the impact of COVID-19, the theatre field needs committed and nuanced journalism. Free and unlimited access to AmericanTheatre.org is one way that we and our publisher, Theatre Communications Group, are eliminating barriers to crucial resources during this crisis. When you support American Theatre and TCG, you support these emergency resources and our long legacy of quality nonprofit arts journalism. Click here to make your fully tax-deductible donation today!

ADV – Billboard