Columbia College Chicago Theatre Department faculty, alumni, and students figured heavily in the nominations for the 2015 Non-Equity Joseph Jefferson (“Jeff”) Awards honoring excellence in Chicago theatres not operating under an Actors’ Equity union contract. Columbia teachers and graduates were nominated for Jeff Awards–the top honor for Chicago’s vibrant theatre scene since the awards were established in 1968–in categories including Principal Actress in a Play, Principal Actress in a Musical, Supporting Actor in a Play, Direction of a Play, Direction of a Musical, Ensemble, and Production. The Columbia College Chicago Theatre Department salutes all the 2015 Non-Equity Jeff Award nominees, while taking special pride in the honor bestowed on its alumni, faculty, and students who were included in the nominations.
Alumna Callie Johnson, a graduate of Columbia’s BFA program in Musical Theatre Performance, was nominated for Actress in a Principal Role–Musical for her performance as the title character in Bailiwick Chicago’s production of Carrie: The Musical. Johnson previously won a Jeff Award for Actress in a Cameo Role in a Musical for Porchlight Music Theatre’s Pal Joey.
Acting teacher Kendra Thulin was nominated for Actress in a Principal Role–Play for her work in The Vandal at Steep Theatre Company, where she is an ensemble member. Thulin previously won a Jeff Award for her performance in Steep’s Harper Regan.
Acting teacher Will Casey was nominated for Actor in a Supporting Role–Play for his performance in Raven Theatre‘s production of Tennessee Williams’ Vieux Carre (which was directed by Theatre Directing alumnus Cody Estle).
Musical Theatre Dance teacher Linda Fortunato was nominated for Direction of a Musical for BoHo Theatre’s Parade. Fortunato has previously won Jeff Awards for choreography for her work on BoHo’s Kiss of the Spider Woman and Theatre at the Center’s 42nd Street.
Columbia alumni were in the casts of two productions nominated for Ensemble, an award honoring the entire cast of a production. The Jeff-nominated ensemble of Jackalope’s Exit Strategy included alumni Patrick Whalen and Daniel Martinez.
Several shows nominated for the Jeff Award for Production involved Columbia alumni in key roles onstage and off. The cast of Eclipse Theatre Company’s Ruined (Production–Play) featured alumni BrittneyLove Smith, Michael Allen Harris, and Michael Pogue.
Jackalope Theatre Company’s Exit Strategy (Production–Play) was produced by AJ Ware (who was Jackalope’s artistic director when the show was presented) and directed by Gus Menary (Ware’s successor as artistic director), both alumni. The show’s lighting designer, Claire Sangster, and Jackalope associate artistic director Kaiser Ahmed and director of community engagement Andrew Burden Swanson are also alumni. Exit Strategy was also nominated for New Work.
The cast of Lifeline Theatre‘s Monstrous Regiment (Production–Play) included alumni Michaela Petro, Chris Walsh, and Mandy Walsh. Alumnus Geoff Coates was the fight director, and alumna Allison Cain is Lifeline’s managing director. Monstrous Regiment was also nominated for New Adaptation.
And Christie Kerr, choreographer of Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre’s A Kurt Weill Cabaret (Production–Revue), is a Musical Theatre Program faculty member.
The 42nd annual Non-Equity Joseph Jefferson Awards honor Chicago non-Equity theatre productions that opened between April 1, 2014, and March 31, 2015. The awards ceremony will be held Monday, June 8, at Park West, 322 W. Armitage in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. For tickets and more information, click here.