Columbia College Chicago Theatre Department alum Caroline Neff ’07, a graduate of the Theatre Department’s BA Program in Acting, won a 2018 Joseph Jefferson Award in the category of Performer in a Principal Role–Play for her performance in the title role of Lettie at Victory Gardens Theatre. The Jeff Awards, Chicago’s top theatrical prizes, were announced Monday, October 22, in a ceremony at Drury Lane Theatre in Oakbrook Terrace. The awards honored excellence in professional theatre produced within the greater Chicago area during the 2017-2018 theatre season.
In Lettie, a world premiere, Neff portrayed a woman desperate to regain custody of her teenage children following her release from prison. The Chicago Tribune‘s review by critic Chris Jones said that “Caroline Neff gives one of the most moving performances of what already has been a formidable career on Chicago stages,” and Windy City Times‘ reviewer, Columbia College alum Kerry Reid ’87, wrote: “In the title role, playing a woman released from prison after seven years on drug trafficking charges, Neff’s signature blend of deadpan wit and raw vulnerability reveals layer after layer of Lettie’s damaged-yet-defiant psyche as she attempts to go straight and win back the love of her teenage children.”
Lettie marks Caroline Neff’s second Jeff Award. She previously won a Jeff in the category of Actress in a Principal Role–Play in 2011 for her performance in Steep Theatre’s A Brief History of Helen of Troy.
In addition, the cast of the rock musical Buddy–The Buddy Holly Story, produced by American Blues Theatre, won a 2018 Jeff Award in the category of Ensemble – Musical or Revue. The ensemble of actor-musicians in Buddy included Columbia College alums Ann Delaney ’14, a graduate of the Theatre Department’s BFA Program in Musical Theatre Performance, and Lauren Vogel ’16, a graduate of the Theatre Department’s BA Program in Musical Theatre.