'Mancha,' 'Fences' split major awards
The Court Theater emerged as local royalty Monday, taking 10 Joseph Jefferson Awards: six for its revisionist take on musical “Man of La Mancha” and four for its staging of August Wilson’s “Fences.”
“Our cup runneth over tonight,” said an emotional Charles Newell, the Court’s a.d. and “La Mancha” helmer.
The production of the Don Quixote musical set the show in the prison. “We emphasized the emotional elements of the show over the spectacle,” said Newell, trying to explain why the show drew such accolades from the Jeff Committee members, who judged 123 Equity productions by 51 Chi producing orgs.
In addition to best musical, “La Mancha” took home Jeff awards for Newell’s direction, John Culbert’s set design, Mark McCullough’s lighting and Doug Peck’s musical direction. While it won no individual acting honors, it did receive the ensemble nod. Production will play New Haven, Conn.’s, Long Wharf Theater in February.
The Court, a South Side theater associated with the U. of Chicago, also won for production of a play with “Fences,” a show that received additional honors for director Ron OJ Parson and lead thesps A.C. Smith and Jacqueline Williams (latter shared the prize with Kirsten Fitzgerald for “The Sea Horse” at Red Orchid Theater).
Also receiving four awards was “A Marvelous Party: The Noel Coward Celebration,” a co-production of Northlight Theater and Geva Theater Center. Show swept the revue categories, winning for revue, director David Ira Goldstein and performers Carl Danielsen and Anna Lauris. (It gets its West Coast preem starting Nov. 14 at the Laguna Playhouse.)
The awards this year held some surprises. The Steppenwolf was nearly shut out of nominations. (It shared an award for original incidental music, for Andre Pluess and Ben Sussman’s work on “after the quake.”)
Up-and-coming playwright Lydia R. Diamond, whose adaptation of “The Bluest Eye” opened this week Off Broadway, won the new-play award for “Voyeurs de Venus” at Chicago Dramatists; well-known musical veterans Stephen Flaherty and Frank Galati received new-tuner honors for “Loving Repeating: A Musical of Gertrude Stein.”
Latter show, produced by About Face Theater and the Museum of Contemporary Art, also received actress honors in a musical for Cindy Gold.
David Ives’ version of “A Flea in Her Ear” at Chicago Shakespeare shared the new adaptation prize with Lookingglass Theater Company’s “The Old Curiosity Shop,” from adaptors Raymond Fox, Heidi Stillman and Laura Eason. “Flea” also landed awards for supporting actor Rick Boynton and costume designer Mara Blumenfeld.
Robert Falls and Roche Schulfer, respectively the artistic and executive director of the Goodman, received a special Jeff award for leadership.
Production — Play
“Fences,” Court Thea-ter
Production – Musical
“Man of La Mancha,” Court Theater
Production – Re-vue
“A Marvelous Party: The Noel Coward Celebration,” Northlight Theater and Geva Theater Center
Director – Musi-cal
Charles Newell,Man of La Mancha”
Director – Revue
David Ira Goldstein, “A Marvelous Party: The Noel Coward Celebration”
New Work – Play
Lydia R. Diamond, “Voyeurs de Venus,” Chicago Drama-tists
New Adaptation (tie)
David Ives, “A Flea in Her Ear,” Chicago Shakespeare Theater; and Raymond Fox, Heidi Stillman & Laura Eason, “The Old Curiosity Shop,” Lookingglass Theater Company
“Man of La Mancha”
Lead Actress — Play (tie)
Jacqueline Williams, “Fences”; and Kirsten Fitzgerald, “The Sea Horse,” Red Orchid Theater
Lead Actor – Play
A.C. Smith, “Fences”
Supporting Actress – Play
Ella Joyce, “Crumbs From the Table of Joy,” Goodman Theater
Supporting Actor – Play
Rick Boynton, “A Flea in Her Ear”
Lead Actress – Musical
Cindy Gold, “Loving Repeating: A Musical of Gertrude Stein,” About Face Theater & Museum of Contemporary Art
Lead Actor – Musical
Michael Buchanan, “Urinetown: The Musical,” Blue Dog Entertainment
Supporting Actress – Musical
Barbara Robertson, “Grand Hotel, The Musical,” Drury Lane Theater/Water Tower Place
Supporting Actor – Musical
Jeff Kuhl, “Grand Hotel, The Musical”
Actress – Revue
Anna Lauris, “A Marvelous Party: The Noel Coward Celebration”
Actor – Revue
Carl Danielsen, “A Marvelous Party: The Noel Coward Celebration”
John Culbert, “Man of La Mancha”
Mara Blumenfeld, “A Flea in Her Ear”
Mark McCullough, “Man of La Mancha”
Mikhail Fiksel & Andre Pluess, “Blind Mouth Singing,” Teatro Vista
Brian Loeffler, “Urinetown: The Musical”
Original Incidental Music (tie)
Alaric Jans & Lindsay Jones, “Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2,” Chicago Shake-speare Theater; and Andre Pluess & Ben Sussman, “after the quake,” Steppenwolf Theater Com-pany
Doug Peck, “Man of La Mancha”
New Work – Musi-cal
Stephen Flaherty & Frank Galati, “Loving Repeating: A Musical of Gertrude Stein”
Michael Pat-rick Thornton, “The Good Thief,” Gift Theater Company