Drury Lane's 'An American in Paris' dances away with a leading 12 Jeff Award nominations

  • Courtesy of Brett Beiner Photography/Drury Lane TheatreDrury Lane Theatre's production of "An American in Paris" starring Joseph Jefferson Award nominees Leigh-Ann Esty and Josh Drake received a leading 12 Jeff Award nominations for a 2019-2020 season curtailed by nearly five months in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Courtesy of Brett Beiner Photography/Drury Lane TheatreDrury Lane Theatre's production of "An American in Paris" starring Joseph Jefferson Award nominees Leigh-Ann Esty and Josh Drake received a leading 12 Jeff Award nominations for a 2019-2020 season curtailed by nearly five months in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 
 
Updated 9/15/2020 3:25 PM

In the wake of a 2019-2020 theater season cut short by nearly five months as a result of COVID-19 shutdowns, Drury Lane Theatre in Oakbrook Terrace emerged with a leading 22 equity Joseph Jefferson Award nominations, including 12 for its lavish stage adaptation of "An American in Paris."

The equity Jeff Awards recognize excellence in city and suburban union theater productions that opened between Aug. 1, 2019, and March 13, 2020, when theaters shut down because of statewide health concerns. The equity season typically runs from Aug. 1 to July 31 each year.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"An American in Paris" earned nods for large musical production; ensemble; musical director Chris Sargent; performers Josh Drake, Leigh-Ann Esty, Skyler Adams and Erica Evans; costume design; lighting design; projection design; and two for director/choreographer Lynne Kurdziel-Formato, whose formidable competition in the large musical category includes Lil-Anne Brown, Brenda Didier and Florence Walker-Harris, Gary Griffin and Scott Weinstein.

Courtesy of Liz Lauren/Paramount TheatreBilly Harrigan Tighe received a Jeff Award nomination for his leading performance in Paramount Theatre's world premiere of "The Secret of My Success," which received four nominations including one for best new work.
Courtesy of Liz Lauren/Paramount TheatreBilly Harrigan Tighe received a Jeff Award nomination for his leading performance in Paramount Theatre's world premiere of "The Secret of My Success," which received four nominations including one for best new work.

A juggernaut in recent years, Aurora's Paramount Theatre received 13 nominations, including four for its premiere of the ebullient "The Secret of My Success," which earned best new work nominations for writers Gordon Greenberg and Steve Rosen and composer/lyricists Michael Mahler and Alan Schmuckler. Lead performer Billy Harrigan Tighe, supporting performer Heidi Kettenring and projection designer Mike Tutaj also received nominations for their work on the stage adaptation of the 1987 Michael J. Fox film about an ambitious Midwesterner eager to become a corporate bigwig in New York City.

"Something Rotten" from Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire received nominations for large musical, ensemble, direction, choreography, costume design and for supporting performer Ross Lehman. The Northlight Theatre's premieres of Steve Dietz's "How a Boy Falls" and Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon's "The Wickhams: Christmas at Pemberley" earned new work nominations. Five of Glencoe-based Writers Theatre's eight nods were for its "Into the Woods" revival recognized in the large musical, ensemble, direction, music direction and lighting categories.

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Oak Brook-based First Folio Theatre's Angela Weber Miller earned a mid-size set design nomination for "Sherlock's Last Case." Wendy A. Huber and Margaret Garofalo received properties nominations for the same production. First Folio's "Jeeves Saves the Day" also received supporting actor and costume design nominations for Dan Klarer and Rachel Lambert respectively.

Glen Ellyn-based Buffalo Theatre Ensemble's Lisa Dawn (who last month starred in Glenview-based Oil Lamp Theater's streaming solo show "Bad Dates") earned a supporting performance nod in BTE's "The Cake."

Steppenwolf Theatre's highly anticipated revival of "Bug," Tracy Letts' combination love story, psychodrama and horror tale earned seven of the company's 11 nominations for large play, director David Cromer, lead performers Carrie Coon and Namir Smallwood, Takeshi Kata's set, Josh Schmidt's sound and Heather Gilbert's lighting.

The 52nd annual awards ceremony takes place online at 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 9. See jeffawards.org.

The 2019-2020 Joseph Jefferson Award nominees:

Production -- Play (large)

• "Bug" -- Steppenwolf Theatre Company

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

• "The First Deep Breath" -- Victory Gardens Theater

• "King Hedley II" -- Court Theatre

• "The King's Speech" -- Chicago Shakespeare Theater

• "Oslo" -- TimeLine Theatre Company

• "Stick Fly" -- Writers Theatre

Production -- Play (mid-size)

• "The Boys in the Band" -- Windy City Playhouse

• "Grey House" -- A Red Orchid Theatre

• "His Shadow: A Parable" -- 16th Street Theater

• "The Leopard Play, or Sad Songs for Lost Boys" -- Steep Theatre Company

• "Sheepdog" -- Shattered Globe Theatre

Courtesy of Michael BrosilowWriters Theatre's "Into the Woods" earned Jeff Award nominations for large musical, ensemble, direction, music direction and lighting categories. The production featured Bethany Thomas, right, as The Witch and Michael Mahler and Brianna Borger as The Baker and The Baker's Wife.
Courtesy of Michael BrosilowWriters Theatre's "Into the Woods" earned Jeff Award nominations for large musical, ensemble, direction, music direction and lighting categories. The production featured Bethany Thomas, right, as The Witch and Michael Mahler and Brianna Borger as The Baker and The Baker's Wife. -
Production -- Musical or Revue (large)

• "An American in Paris" -- Drury Lane Productions

• "Beauty and the Beast" -- Paramount Theatre

• "The Color Purple" -- Drury Lane Productions

• "Duke Ellington's Sophisticated Ladies" -- Porchlight Music Theatre

• "Into the Woods" -- Writers Theatre

• "Something Rotten!" -- Marriott Theatre

Production -- Musical or Revue (mid-size)

• "Always ... Patsy Cline" -- Firebrand Theatre

• "Monty Python's Spamalot" -- Mercury Theater Chicago

• "Verböten" -- The House Theatre of Chicago

Ensemble -- Play

• "The Boys in the Band" -- Windy City Playhouse

• "The First Deep Breath" -- Victory Gardens Theater

• "Grey House" -- A Red Orchid Theatre

• "How to Defend Yourself" -- Victory Gardens Theater

• "Kill Move Paradise" -- TimeLine Theatre Company

• "The Leopard Play, or Sad Songs for Lost Boys" -- Steep Theatre Company

• "Stick Fly" -- Writers Theatre

Ensemble -- Musical or Revue

• "An American in Paris" -- Drury Lane Productions

• "The Color Purple" -- Drury Lane Productions

• "Duke Ellington's Sophisticated Ladies" -- Porchlight Music Theatre

• "Into the Woods" -- Writers Theatre

• "Something Rotten!" -- Marriott Theatre

New Work

• Lee Edward Colston II -- "The First Deep Breath" -- Victory Gardens Theater

• Steven Dietz -- "How a Boy Falls" -- Northlight Theatre

• Gordon Greenberg and Steve Rosen, Michael Mahler and Alan Schmuckler -- "The Secret of My Success"

-- Paramount Theatre

• Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon -- "The Wickhams: Christmas at Pemberley" -- Northlight Theatre

• Levi Holloway -- "Grey House" -- A Red Orchid Theatre

• Jason Narducy and Brett Neveu -- "Verböten" -- The House Theatre of Chicago

• Douglas Post -- "Howards End" -- Remy Bumppo Theatre Company

• Fouad Teymour -- "Twice, Thrice, Frice ..." -- Silk Road Rising in association with International Voices

Project

• Loy A. Webb -- "His Shadow: A Parable" -- 16th Street Theater

Director -- Play (large)

• Nick Bowling -- "Oslo" -- TimeLine Theatre Company

• Wardell Julius Clark -- "Kill Move Paradise" -- TimeLine Theatre Company

• David Cromer -- "Bug" -- Steppenwolf Theatre Company

• Ron OJ Parson -- "King Hedley II" -- Court Theatre

• Vanessa Stalling -- "Roe" -- Goodman Theatre

Director -- Play (mid-size)

• Laura Alcalá Baker -- "The Leopard Play, or Sad Songs for Lost Boys" -- Steep Theatre Company

• Wardell Julius Clark -- "His Shadow: A Parable" -- 16th Street Theater

• Wardell Julius Clark -- "Sheepdog" -- Shattered Globe Theatre

• Carl Menninger -- "The Boys in the Band" -- Windy City Playhouse

• Shade Murray -- "Grey House" -- A Red Orchid Theatre

• Nick Sandys -- "Howards End" -- Remy Bumppo Theatre Company

• Randy White -- "Midsummer (A Play With Songs)" -- The Greenhouse Theater Center

Director -- Musical or Revue (large)

• Lili-Anne Brown -- "The Color Purple" -- Drury Lane Productions

• Brenda Didier and Florence Walker-Harris -- "Duke Ellington's Sophisticated Ladies" -- Porchlight Music Theatre

• Gary Griffin -- "Into the Woods" -- Writers Theatre

• Lynne Kurdziel-Formato -- "An American in Paris" -- Drury Lane Productions

• Scott Weinstein -- "Something Rotten!" -- Marriott Theatre

Director -- Musical or Revue (mid-size)

• Nathan Allen -- "Verböten" -- The House Theatre of Chicago

• Brigitte Ditmars -- "Always ... Patsy Cline" -- Firebrand Theatre

• L. Walter Stearns -- "Monty Python's Spamalot" -- Mercury Theater Chicago

Performer in a Principal Role -- Play

• Carrie Coon (Agnes White) -- "Bug" -- Steppenwolf Theatre Company

• Chaon Cross (Helena) -- "Midsummer (A Play With Songs)" -- The Greenhouse Theater Center

• Charles Andrew Gardner (Teeny) -- "His Shadow: A Parable" -- 16th Street Theater

• Harry Hadden-Paton (Bertie) -- "The King's Speech" -- Chicago Shakespeare Theater

• Patrick Mulvey (Bob) -- "Midsummer (A Play With Songs)" -- The Greenhouse Theater Center

• Kelvin Roston Jr. (Hedley) -- "King Hedley II" -- Court Theatre

• Leslie Ann Sheppard (Amina) -- "Sheepdog" -- Shattered Globe Theatre

• Julia Siple (Jenny) -- "Mosquitoes" -- Steep Theatre Company

• Namir Smallwood (Peter Evans) -- "Bug" -- Steppenwolf Theatre Company

• Eliza Stoughton (Margaret Schlegel) -- "Howards End" -- Remy Bumppo Theatre Company

• Bri Sudia (Mona Juul) -- "Oslo" -- TimeLine Theatre Company

Performer in a Principal Role -- Musical

• Josh Drake (Jerry Mulligan) -- "An American in Paris" -- Drury Lane Productions

• Leigh-Ann Esty (Lise Dassin) -- "An American in Paris" -- Drury Lane Productions

• Lucy Godinez (Nancy) -- "Oliver!" -- Marriott Theatre

• Beth Stafford Laird (Belle) -- "Beauty and the Beast" -- Paramount Theatre

• Eben K. Logan (Celie) -- "The Color Purple" -- Drury Lane Productions

• Emilie Lynn (Mary Poppins) -- "Mary Poppins" -- Drury Lane Productions

• Alex Prakken (Jack Kelly) -- "Disney's Newsies" -- Paramount Theatre

• Hollis Resnik (Norma Desmond) -- "Sunset Boulevard" -- Porchlight Music Theatre

• Billy Harrigan Tighe (Brantley Foster) -- "The Secret of My Success" -- Paramount Theatre

• Jonah D. Winston (King Arthur) -- "Monty Python's Spamalot" -- Mercury Theater Chicago

Solo Performance

• Deirdre O'Connell (Dana H.) -- "Dana H." -- Goodman Theatre

• Rebecca Spence (Narrator) -- "Every Brilliant Thing" -- Windy City Playhouse

Performer in a Revue

• Harmony France/Christina Hall (Patsy Cline/Louise Seger) -- "Always ... Patsy Cline" -- Firebrand Theatre

• Donica Lynn (The Chanteuse) -- "Duke Ellington's Sophisticated Ladies" -- Porchlight Music Theatre

• Lorenzo Rush Jr. (The Raconteur) -- "Duke Ellington's Sophisticated Ladies" -- Porchlight Music Theatre

Courtesy of Rex Howard PhotographyBuffalo Theatre Ensemble member Lisa Dawn, right, earned a supporting performance nomination for a 2019-2020 Jeff Award for her performance in BTE's "The Cake," which also starred Connie Canaday Howard, center, and Raina Lynn.
Courtesy of Rex Howard PhotographyBuffalo Theatre Ensemble member Lisa Dawn, right, earned a supporting performance nomination for a 2019-2020 Jeff Award for her performance in BTE's "The Cake," which also starred Connie Canaday Howard, center, and Raina Lynn. -
Performer in a Supporting Role -- Play

• Kierra Bunch (Tonya) -- "King Hedley II" -- Court Theatre

• Lisa Dawn (Jen) -- "The Cake" -- Buffalo Theatre Ensemble

• Anish Jethmalani (Ahmed Qurie) -- "Oslo" -- TimeLine Theatre Company

• Dan Klarer (Egbert Bakewell) -- "Jeeves Saves the Day" -- First Folio Theatre

• James Leaming (Ronald Reagan) -- "Five Presidents" -- American Blues Theater

• Marcus D. Moore (Kodak/Man) -- "His Shadow: A Parable" -- 16th Street Theater

• Deanna Reed-Foster (Pearl Thomas) -- "The First Deep Breath" -- Victory Gardens Theater

• Sadieh Rifai (Eva) -- "Do You Feel Anger?" -- A Red Orchid Theatre

• James Seol (Wen Chang) -- "The Great Leap" -- Steppenwolf Theatre Company

• A.C. Smith (Elmore) -- "King Hedley II" -- Court Theatre

• John Tufts (Edmond Rostand) -- "Bernhardt/Hamlet" -- Goodman Theatre

• Celeste Williams (Ruth Jones) -- "The First Deep Breath" -- Victory Gardens Theater

• Larry Yando (Constant Coquelin) -- "Bernhardt/Hamlet" -- Goodman Theatre

Performer in a Supporting Role -- Musical

• Ephie Aardema (Harriet Smith) -- "Emma" -- Chicago Shakespeare Theater

• Larry Adams (Max von Mayerling) -- "Sunset Boulevard" -- Porchlight Music Theatre

• Skyler Adams (Adam Hochberg) -- "An American in Paris" -- Drury Lane Productions

• Sydney Charles (Shug Avery) -- "The Color Purple" -- Drury Lane Productions

• Erica Evans (Milo Davenport) -- "An American in Paris" -- Drury Lane Productions

• Jackson Evans (Lumiere) -- "Beauty and the Beast" -- Paramount Theatre

• Jason Grimm (Hines) -- "The Pajama Game" -- Theatre at the Center

• Nicole Michelle Haskins (Sofia) -- "The Color Purple" -- Drury Lane Productions

• Heidi Kettenring (Vera Prescott) -- "The Secret of My Success" -- Paramount Theatre

• Ross Lehman (Nostradamus) -- "Something Rotten!" -- Marriott Theatre

• Meghan Murphy (Lady of the Lake) -- "Monty Python's Spamalot" -- Mercury Theater Chicago

Scenic Design -- Large

• William Boles -- "Disney's Newsies" -- Paramount Theatre

• William Boles -- "The Wickhams: Christmas at Pemberley" -- Northlight Theatre

• Linda Buchanan -- "Stick Fly" -- Writers Theatre

• Regina Garcia -- "King Hedley II" -- Court Theatre

• Takeshi Kata -- "Bug" -- Steppenwolf Theatre Company

• Jeffrey D. Kmiec -- "Beauty and the Beast" -- Paramount Theatre

Scenic Design -- Mid-size

• Kurtis Boetcher -- "Grey House" -- A Red Orchid Theatre

• William Boles -- "The Boys in the Band" -- Windy City Playhouse

• José Manuel Díaz-Soto -- "Twice, Thrice, Frice ..." -- Silk Road Rising in association with International Voices Project

• Angela Weber Miller -- "Sherlock's Last Case" -- First Folio Theatre

• Joe Schermoly -- "The Gulf" -- About Face Theatre

Costume Design -- Large

• Karl Green -- "An American in Paris" -- Drury Lane Productions

• Theresa Ham -- "Beauty and the Beast" -- Paramount Theatre

• Theresa Ham -- "Duke Ellington's Sophisticated Ladies" -- Porchlight Music Theatre

• Theresa Ham -- "Something Rotten!" -- Marriott Theatre

• Robin L. McGee -- "Mary Poppins" -- Drury Lane Productions

• Alison Siple -- "The Mousetrap" -- Court Theatre

Costume Design -- Mid-size

• Uriel Gomez -- "The Boys in the Band" -- Windy City Playhouse

• Kristy Leigh Hall -- "Howards End" -- Remy Bumppo Theatre Company

• Rachel Lambert -- "Jeeves Saves the Day" -- First Folio Theatre

Sound Design -- Large

• Mikhail Fiksel -- "Dana H." -- Goodman Theatre

• Christopher M. LaPorte -- "King Hedley II" -- Court Theatre

• Jeffrey Levin -- "Kill Move Paradise" -- TimeLine Theatre Company

• André Pluess and Christopher LaPorte -- "Oedipus Rex" -- Court Theatre

• Josh Schmidt -- "Bug" -- Steppenwolf Theatre Company

Sound Design -- Mid-size

• Grover Hollway -- "Verböten" -- The House Theatre of Chicago

• Christopher Kriz -- "Sheepdog" -- Shattered Globe Theatre

• Jeffrey Levin -- "Grey House" -- A Red Orchid Theatre

• Sarah D. Espinoza -- "The Boys in the Band" -- Windy City Playhouse

Lighting Design -- Large

• Lee Fiskness -- "An American in Paris" -- Drury Lane Productions

• Lee Fiskness -- "Into the Woods" -- Writers Theatre

• Heather Gilbert -- "Bug" -- Steppenwolf Theatre Company

• Jesse Klug -- "Beauty and the Beast" -- Paramount Theatre

• Keith Parham -- "The Great Leap" -- Steppenwolf Theatre Company

• Keith Parham -- "Oedipus Rex" -- Court Theatre

Lighting Design -- Mid-size

• Erik S. Barry -- "The Boys in the Band" -- Windy City Playhouse

• Mike Durst -- "Howards End" -- Remy Bumppo Theatre Company

• Mike Durst and Claire Chrzan -- "Grey House" -- A Red Orchid Theatre

• David Goodman-Edberg -- "His Shadow: A Parable" -- 16th Street Theater

• Rachel Levy -- "The Gulf" -- About Face Theatre

• Jason Lynch -- "Sheepdog" -- Shattered Globe Theatre

Choreography

• Joshua Blake Carter -- "Disney's Newsies" -- Paramount Theatre

• Brenda Didier and Florence Walker-Harris -- "Duke Ellington's Sophisticated Ladies" -- Porchlight Music Theatre

• Linda Fortunato -- "Irving Berlin's White Christmas" -- Theatre at the Center

• Lynne Kurdziel-Formato -- "An American in Paris" -- Drury Lane Productions

• Alex Sanchez -- "Something Rotten!" -- Marriott Theatre

Original Music in a Play

• John Gromada -- "The King's Speech" -- Chicago Shakespeare Theater

• Pornchanok Kanchanabanca -- "The Great Leap" -- Steppenwolf Theatre Company

• Ladysmith Black Mambazo -- "Lindiwe" -- Steppenwolf Theatre Company

• Jeffrey Levin -- "Kill Move Paradise" -- TimeLine Theatre Company

• Joanna Lynne Staub -- "Bernhardt/Hamlet" -- Goodman Theatre

Musical Direction

• Matt Deitchman -- "Into the Woods" -- Writers Theatre

• Jermaine Hill -- "The Color Purple" -- Drury Lane Productions

• Jermaine Hill -- "Duke Ellington's Sophisticated Ladies" -- Porchlight Music Theatre

• Chris Sargent -- "An American in Paris" -- Drury Lane Productions

• Andra Velis Simon -- "Always ... Patsy Cline" -- Firebrand Theatre

• William Underwood -- "Almost Heaven: John Denver's America" -- Theatre at the Center

Projection Design

• Anthony Churchill -- "Sunset Boulevard" -- Porchlight Music Theatre

• Hana Kim -- "The King's Speech" -- Chicago Shakespeare Theater

• Kevan Loney -- "An American in Paris" -- Drury Lane Productions

• Kevan Loney -- "Mary Poppins" -- Drury Lane Productions

• Mike Tutaj -- "Oslo" -- TimeLine Theatre Company

• Mike Tutaj -- "The Secret of My Success" -- Paramount Theatre

Artistic Specialization

• Breon Arzell (Movement Choreographer) -- "Kill Move Paradise" -- TimeLine Theatre Company

• Steve Cuiffo (Illusion and Lip Sync Consultant) -- "Dana H." -- Goodman Theatre

• Micah Figueroa (Intimacy and Violence Director) -- "The Leopard Play, or Sad Songs for Lost Boys" -- Steep Theatre Company

• Matt Hawkins (Fight Choreography) -- "How to Defend Yourself" -- Victory Gardens Theater

• Wendy A. Huber and Margaret Garofalo (Properties Design) -- "Sherlock's Last Case" -- First Folio Theatre

• Erin Kilmurray (Movement Design) -- "Oedipus Rex" -- Court Theatre

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