Kudos honor Chicago legit scene

Pulitzer finalist “The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity” and a revival of the musical “Ragtime” dominated Chicago’s Joseph Jefferson Awards Monday night.

“Chad Deity,” a comedy set in the world of professional wrestling, had its world premiere at Chi-town’s Victory Gardens Theater before it was re-staged largely intact at Second Stage in New York. The show pinned down five Jeff Awards in major categories, including large-scale production of a play and new work (play category) for scribe Kristoffer Diaz. It also scored for director a play (Edward Torres), principal actor in a play (Desmin Borges), and fight choreography (David Woolley).

“Ragtime,” produced by the suburban Drury Lane Oakbrook, was the biggest winner of the evening, taking home seven Jeffs in total, including a clean sweep of the musical acting categories. Two of the winners, Quentin Earl Darrington (principal actor in a tuner) and Valisia LeKae (supporting actress in a musical) came to the production not long after playing the same roles in the recent Broadway revival. Cory Goodrich won for principal actress in a tuner, and Mark David Kaplan for supporting actor in a tuner.

Other victories for the Stephen Flaherty/Lynn Ahrens musical included musical production, director of a musical (Rachel Rockwell), and music direction (Roberta Duchak).

Other major awards went to Timeline Theater’s staging of Aaron Sorkin play “The Farnsworth Invention,” which won for midsize staging ofa play, and to the Steppenwolf Theater production of Tarrell McCraney’s “Brother/Sister Plays,” which took home the prestigious ensemble award.

Writers’ Theater scored four Jeff Awards, one for Natasha Lowe’s performance as Blanche Dubois in the David Cromer-helmed “A Streetcar Named Desire,” and three more for its revue “Oh Coward!,” which won for revue and for performers Rob Lindley (actor in a revue) and Kate Frye (actress in a revue).

One hundred eleven productions were eligible for the Jeff Equity Awards, from 42 producing organizations. Tony Winners Deanna Dunagan (“August: Osage County”) and Felicia Fields (“The Color Purple”) emceed the ceremony.

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Complete List of Jeff Equity Award Recipients

PRODUCTION – PLAY – LARGE
“The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity” – Victory Gardens Theater in association with Teatro Vista…Theatre With a View

PRODUCTION – PLAY – MIDSIZE
“The Farnsworth Invention” – TimeLine Theatre Company

PRODUCTION – MUSICAL – LARGE
“Ragtime” – Drury Lane Productions

PRODUCTION – REVUE
“Oh Coward!” – Writers’ Theatre

ENSEMBLE (sponsored by Actors’ Equity Association)
“The Brother/Sister Plays” – Steppenwolf Theatre Company

DIRECTOR – PLAY
Edward Torres – “The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity” – Victory Gardens Theater in association with Teatro Vista…Theatre With a View

DIRECTOR – MUSICAL
Rachel Rockwell – “Ragtime” – Drury Lane Productions

SOLO PERFORMANCE
Mary Beth Fisher – “The Year of Magical Thinking” – Court Theatre

ACTOR IN A PRINCIPAL ROLE – PLAY
Desmin Borges – “The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity” – Victory Gardens Theater in association with Teatro Vista…Theatre With a View

ACTOR IN A PRINCIPAL ROLE – MUSICAL
Quentin Earl Darrington – “Ragtime” – Drury Lane Productions

ACTRESS IN A PRINCIPAL ROLE – PLAY

Natasha Lowe – “A Streetcar Named Desire” – Writers’ Theatre

ACTRESS IN A PRINCIPAL ROLE – MUSICAL
Cory Goodrich – “Ragtime” – Drury Lane Productions

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE – PLAY
Francis Guinan – “A Guide for the Perplexed” – Victory Gardens Theater

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE – MUSICAL
Mark David Kaplan – “Ragtime” – Drury Lane Productions

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE – PLAY
Natalie West – “Abigail’s Party” – A Red Orchid Theatre

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE – MUSICAL
Valisia LeKae – “Ragtime” – Drury Lane Productions

ACTOR IN A REVUE
Rob Lindley – “Oh Coward!” – Writers’ Theatre

ACTRESS IN A REVUE
Kate Fry – “Oh Coward!” – Writers’ Theatre

SCENIC DESIGN – LARGE
Walt Spangler – “A True History of the Johnstown Flood” – Goodman Theatre

SCENIC DESIGN – MIDSIZE
James Leaming – “Tobacco Road” – American Blues Theater

COSTUME DESIGN – LARGE
Alison Siple – “The Mystery of Irma Vep” – Court Theatre

COSTUME DESIGN – MIDSIZE
Sarah E. Ross & Kristin DeiTos – “Tobacco Road” – American Blues Theater

LIGHTING DESIGN – LARGE

John Culbert – “The Illusion” – Court Theatre

LIGHTING DESIGN – MIDSIZE

Jaymi Lee Smith – “Mary’s Wedding” – Rivendell Theatre Ensemble

SOUND DESIGN – LARGE

Ray Nardelli – “Hephaestus: A Greek Mythology Circus Tale” – Lookingglass Theatre Company and Silverguy Entertainment

SOUND DESIGN – MIDSIZE

Victoria DeIorio – “Mary’s Wedding” – Rivendell Theatre Ensemble

CHOREOGRAPHY

Tammy Mader – “Thoroughly Modern Millie” – Drury Lane Productions

ORIGINAL INCIDENTAL MUSIC
Ray Nardelli, Andre Pluess, Joshua Horvath, and Kevin O’Donnell – “Hephaestus: A Greek Mythology Circus Tale” – Lookingglass Theatre Company and Silverguy Entertainment

MUSIC DIRECTION
Roberta Duchak – “Ragtime” – Drury Lane Productions

NEW WORK – PLAY
Kristoffer Diaz – “The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity” – Victory Gardens Theater in association with Teatro Vista…Theatre With a View

MULTIMEDIA DESIGN
Bridges Media – “Trust” – Lookingglass Theatre Company

FIGHT CHOREOGRAPHY
David Woolley – “The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity” – Victory Gardens Theater in association with Teatro Vista…Theatre With a View

Rachel Abrams contributed to this story.

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