Drury Lane's 'Hairspray,' Marriott's 'Pirates' earn six Jeff nods
Drury Lane Theatre in Oak Brook received a total of 17 equity Joseph Jefferson Award nominations Tuesday, the most among suburban theaters.
Drury Lane's revival of "Hairspray," the musical about a plus-size teen battling racism in 1960s Baltimore, earned six nominations. In addition to the nomination for best large-theater musical, nods went to director Tammy Mader, who also received a nomination for her choreography; lead actress Lillian Castillo; supporting actor Michael Aaron Lindner and wig designer Kurt Alger.
Also nominated for best principal actress from Drury Lane were Jennifer Blood, for her performance as Maria in "The Sound of Music," and Liz McCartney, for her portrayal of Mrs. Lovett in "Sweeney Todd."
In the best musical (large) category, "Hairspray" will go up against fellow Drury Lane productions "The Sound of Music" and "Sweeney Todd," Marriott Theatre's "The Pirates of Penzance," Writers' Theatre's "A Little Night Music," Lookingglass Theatre's "Eastland: A New Musical" and Chicago Shakespeare Theatre's "Follies."
Jeff Award-winning director Rachel Rockwell will compete against herself in the category this year, after earning nods for "Sweeney Todd" and "The Sound of Music." She and Mader are among the nominees for director of a musical. Fellow nominees are William Brown for Writers' "A Little Night Music," which received a total of six nominations; Amanda Dehnert for Lookingglass' "Eastland: A New Musical;" Gary Griffin for Chicago Shakespeare's "Follies;" and Dominic Missimi for Marriott's "The Pirates of Penzance."
Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire received a total of 14 nominations, with the most Jeff nods for its production of "The Pirates of Penzance." That show earned nominations for musical production (large), supporting actors Kevin Early and Ross Lehman, choreographer Matt Raftery and costume designer Nancy Missimi.
In total, Chicago's Goodman and Chicago Shakespeare theaters led the pack with 18 nominations apiece. Most of Goodman's came for its acclaimed revival of Eugene O'Neill's "The Iceman Cometh," which earned a nomination for play (large) and for ensemble, a category that includes Victory Gardens Theater's "Ameriville," Steppenwolf Theatre's "Clybourne Park," Lookingglass' "Mr. Rickey Calls a Meeting" and TimeLine Theatre's "The Pitmen Painters."
"Iceman" also received nominations for director Robert Falls, supporting actor Brian Dennehy, set designer Kevin Depinet and lighting designer Natasha Katz.
For its revival of Henry James' ghost story "The Turn of the Screw," First Folio Theatre in Oak Brook received nominations for Michael McNamara's lighting and Christopher Kriz's sound design.
Greg Matthew Anderson, who grew up in Palatine and Hoffman Estates, received a nomination for solo performance for his turn as a performance artist who incurs the wrath of a senator in Remy Bumppo Theatre's "Chesapeake." Also nominated are Timothy Edward Kane for his role as the poet in Court Theatre's "An Iliad" and Deborah Staples for Writers' Theatre's "The Blonde, the Brunette and the Vengeful Redhead."
Writers' in Glencoe received a total of 10 nominations, six of them for "A Little Night Music." Besides Brown's directing nod, the production received nominations for musical (large), lead actress Shannon Cochran, supporting actor Brandon Dahlquist, music director Valerie Maze and costume designer Rachel Anne Healy.
Writers' also prevailed in the drama categories with director Ron OJ Parson and set designer Jack Magaw receiving nominations for an up-close-and-personal production of Harold Pinter's "The Caretaker," which featured a performance by best actor nominee William J. Norris.
Productions nominated for new work were: TimeLine's "My Kind of Town" by John Conroy; Marriott's "Hero The Musical" by Aaron Thielen and Michael Mahler; Jon Steinhagen's "Blizzard '67" at Chicago Dramatists; "Eastland" by Andrew White, Andre Pluess and Ben Sussman; Ayad Akhtar's "Disgraced" for American Theater Company; Sara Gubbins' "The Kid Thing," a joint production from Chicago Dramatists and About Face theaters; and Andrew Hinderaker's "I am Going to Change the World," also for Chicago Dramatists.
The Jeff Awards ceremony takes place Oct. 15 at Drury Lane.