Los Angeles Times

Steppenwolf, 'Wicked' top Jeff Award nominees

Belying its reputation for conservatism, the Joseph Jefferson Awards Committee lauded the Steppenwolf Theatre Company's controversial production of "The Pain and the Itch" in its annual but unusually expansive list of nominations, released Monday.

Nominations for best actress in a musical include Anna Gasteyer and Kate Reinders of the Chicago company of "Wicked," considered a Jeff-eligible production (unlike the touring version). Steppenwolf artistic director Martha Lavey snagged a best supporting actress nomination for her work on "Lost Land."

Other Chicago-area shows with numerous nominations include the Marriott Theatre's production of "Beauty and the Beast" and Chicago Shakespeare Theater's "Kabuki Lady Macbeth."

And among smaller companies, Porchlight Music Theatre Chicago and the Congo Square Theatre Company had banner years. When it comes to the major awards, the Goodman Theatre is conspicuous by its considerable absences.

This year's Jeffs will be handed out Nov. 7 at a new location: the Drury Lane Water Tower.

The full list of nominations follows:

Production -- Play:
"A Delicate Balance," Remy Bumppo Theatre Company; "Kabuki Lady Macbeth," Chicago Shakespeare Theater; "The Pain and the Itch," Steppenwolf Theatre Company; "Seven Guitars," Congo Square Theatre Company; "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" Court Theatre.

Production -- Musical:
"Beauty and the Beast," Marriott Theatre; "The Full Monty," Drury Lane Theatre Water Tower Place; "She Loves Me," Theatre at the Center; "Sunset Boulevard," Marriott Theatre; "Sweeney Todd," Porchlight Music Theatre Chicago; "Wicked," Broadway in Chicago-Wicked Chicago. Ensemble: "Closer Than Ever, Porchlight Music Theatre Chicago; "Lookingglass Alice," Lookingglass Theatre Company and Actors Gymnasium; "Omnium Gatherum," Next Theatre Company; "Seven Guitars," Congo Square Theatre Company; "Swing!" Marriott Theatre.

New Work:
David C. Field, "Symmetry," Victory Gardens Theater; Mia McCullough, "Since Africa," Chicago Dramatists; Tom Mula, "W!" Theater Wit; Bruce Norris, "The Pain and the Itch," Steppenwolf Theatre Company; Adam Rapp, "Red Light Winter," Steppenwolf Theatre Company; Karen Sunde & Shozo Sato, "Kabuki Lady Macbeth," Chicago Shakespeare Theater.

New Adaptation:
Curt Columbus, "Cherry Orchard," Steppenwolf Theatre Company; Rebecca Gilman, "Dollhouse," Goodman Theatre; Tim Gregory & David Bell, "A Christmas Carol," Provision Theater Company; Andrew White, "1984," Lookingglass Theatre Company.

Director -- Play:
James Bohnen, "A Delicate Balance, Remy Bumppo Theatre Company; Kate Buckley, "To the Green Fields Beyond," Writers' Theatre; Jason Loewith, "Omnium Gatherum, Next Theatre Company; Charles Newell, "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" Court Theatre; Shozo Sato, "Kabuki Lady Macbeth," Chicago Shakespeare Theater; Derrick Sanders, "Seven Guitars," Congo Square Theatre Company; Anna D. Shapiro, "The Pain and the Itch," Steppenwolf Theatre Company.

Director -- Musical:
Joe Leonardo, "Sunset Boulevard," Marriott Theatre; Joe Mantello, "Wicked," Broadway in Chicago-Wicked Chicago; Dominic Missimi, "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum," Marriott Theatre; Marc Robin, "Beauty and the Beast," Marriott Theatre; L. Walter Stearns, "Sweeney Todd," Porchlight Music Theatre Chicago.

Director -- Revue:
Nick Bowling, "Closer Than Ever," Porchlight Music Theatre Chicago; Mick Napier, "Red Scare," The Second City; Marc Robin, "Swing!" Marriott Theatre.

Actor in a Principal Role -- Play:
Lance Stuart Baker, "The Importance of Being Earnest," Court Theatre; Kevin Gudahl, "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" Court Theatre; Tracy Letts, "The Dresser," Steppenwolf Theatre Company; Jefferson Mays, "I Am My Own Wife," Goodman Theatre; John Mossman, "Peer Gynt," The Artistic Home; Dale Rivera, "Guinea Pig Solo," Collaboraction; John Sterchi, "A View From the Bridge," American Theater Company; Greg Vinkler, "The Merry Wives of Windsor," Chicago Shakespeare Theater.

Actor in a Principal Role -- Musical:
Guy Adkins, "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum," Marriott Theatre; Bradley Armacost, "A Christmas Carol," Provision Theater Company; Sean Allan Krill," Brigadoon," Marriott Theatre; Michael Aaron Lindner, "Sweeney Todd," Porchlight Music Theatre Chicago; Aaron Serotsky, "The Immigrant," Northlight Theatre and Arizona Theatre Company.

Actress in a Principal Role -- Play:
Charin Alvarez, "Two Sisters and a Piano," Apple Tree Theatre and Teatro Vista; Sandra Marquez, "Living Out," American Theater Company and Teatro Vista; Barbara E. Robertson, "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" Court Theatre; Kathy Scambiatterra, "Natural Affection," The Artistic Home; Maggie Siff, "Dollhouse," Goodman Theatre.

Actress in a Principal Role -- Musical:
Rebecca Finnegan, "Sweeney Todd," Porchlight Music Theatre Chicago; Ana Gasteyer, "Wicked," Broadway in Chicago-Wicked Chicago; Johanna McKenzie Miller, "Beauty and the Beast," Marriott Theatre; Kate Reinders, "Wicked," Broadway in Chicago-Wicked Chicago; Paula Scrofano, "Sunset Boulevard," Marriott Theatre.

Actor in a Supporting Role -- Play:
Tom Aulino, "Take Me Out," About Face Theatre; Lance Stuart Baker, "Dollhouse," Goodman Theatre; Matthew Brumlow, "A View From the Bridge," American Theater Company; Tony Dobrowolski, "The Importance of Being Earnest," First Folio Shakespeare Festival; Robert Petkoff, "Romeo and Juliet," Chicago Shakespeare Theater.

Actress in a Supporting Role -- Play:
Jayne Houdyshell, "The Pain and the Itch," Steppenwolf Theatre Company; Lisa Joyce, "Red Light Winter," Steppenwolf Theatre Company; Martha Lavey, "Lost Land," Steppenwolf Theatre Company; Rondi Reed, "Romeo and Juliet," Chicago Shakespeare Theater; Peggy Roeder, "The Dresser," Steppenwolf Theatre Company; Whitney Sneed, "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" Court Theatre.

Actor in a Supporting Role -- Musical:
Larry Adams, "Do I Hear a Waltz?," Theatre at the Center; Sean Fortunato, "Brigadoon," Marriott Theatre; Michael Aaron Lindner, "The Full Monty," Drury Lane Theatre Water Tower Place; Peter Pohlhammer, "Sweeney Todd," Porchlight Music Theatre Chicago; Bernie Yvon, "Beauty and the Beast," Marriott Theatre.

Actress in a Supporting Role -- Musical:
Renee Matthews, "The Full Monty," Drury Lane Theatre Water Tower Place; Cristen Paige, "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum," Marriott Theatre; Rondi Reed, "Wicked," Broadway in Chicago-Wicked Chicago; Paula Scrofano, "Do I Hear a Waltz?," Theatre at the Center

Actor in a Revue:
Antoine McKay, "Red Scare," The Second City; Gregory Porter, "It Ain't Nothin' But the Blues," Northlight Theatre; "Mississippi" Charles Bevel, `It Ain't Nothin' But the Blues,' Northlight Theatre.

Actress in a Revue:
Rebecca Finnegan, "Closer Than Ever," Porchlight Music Theatre Chicago; Maribeth Monroe, "Red Scare," The Second City.

Choreography:
Jim Corti, "The Full Monty," Drury Lane Theatre Water Tower Place; Randy Duncan, "Hello Again," Apple Tree Theatre; Mark Stuart Eckstein, Beverly Durand and Marc Robin, "Swing!" Marriott Theatre; Ron Hutchins, "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum," Marriott Theatre; Marc Robin, "Beauty and the Beast," Marriott Theatre.

Scenic Design:
Scott Bradley, "Silk," Goodman Theatre; Santo Loquasto, "The Dresser," Steppenwolf Theatre Company; Jack Magaw, "Seven Guitars," Congo Square Theatre Company; James Noone, "The Merry Wives of Windsor," Chicago Shakespeare Theater; Keith Pitts, "Vincent in Brixton," Apple Tree Theatre.

Costume Design:
Mara Blumenfeld, "Lookingglass Alice," Lookingglass Theatre Company and Actors Gymnasium; Mara Blumenfeld, "Silk," Goodman Theatre; Jacqueline Firkins, "The Importance of Being Earnest," Court Theatre; Fritz Masten, "Diva Diaries," The Diva Company LLC; Nancy Missimi, "Beauty and the Beast," Marriott Theatre; Mariann Verheyen, "The Merry Wives of Windsor," Chicago Shakespeare Theater.

Sound Design:
Andy Brommel and Andre Pluess, "The Love Song of J. Robert Oppenheimer," Next Theatre Company; Joshua Horvath and Andre Pluess, "1984," Lookingglass Theatre Company; Lindsay Jones, "Kabuki Lady Macbeth," Chicago Shakespeare Theater; Lindsay Jones, "Kid-Simple," American Theater Company; Andre Pluess and Ben Sussman, "Red Herring," Northlight Theatre.

Lighting Design:
Chris Binder, "Lookingglass Alice," Lookingglass Theatre Company and Actors Gymnasium; T. J. Gerckens, "Silk," Goodman Theatre; Michael Rourke, "Kabuki Lady Macbeth," Chicago Shakespeare Theater; Diane Ferry Williams, "Beauty and the Beast," Marriott Theatre; Diane Ferry Williams, "Sunset Boulevard," Marriott Theatre.

Musical Direction:
Eugene Dizon, "Closer Than Ever," Porchlight Music Theatre Chicago; Eugene Dizon, "Sweeney Todd," Porchlight Music Theatre Chicago; Joel Hoekstra, "It Ain't Nothin' But the Blues," Northlight Theatre; Doug Oberhamer, Swing!, Marriott Theatre; Doug Peck, "Hello Again," Apple Tree Theatre.

Original Incidental Music:
Alaric Jans, "Measure for Measure," Chicago Shakespeare Theater; Alaric Jans, "The Merry Wives of Windsor," Chicago Shakespeare Theater; Aaron Krister Johnson, "Peer Gynt," The Artistic Home; Andre Pluess & Ben Sussman, "Red Herring," Northlight Theatre; Andre Pluess & Ben Sussman, "Silk," Goodman Theatre.

Special Achievement Awards

Projection Design: John Boesche, "Sunset Boulevard," Marriott Theatre.

Circus Choreography: Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi, "Lookingglass Alice," Lookingglass Theatre Company and Actors Gymnasium.

Fight Choreography: Robin H. McFarquhar, "Romeo and Juliet," Chicago Shakespeare Theater.

Film Design: John Musial and HMS Media Inc., "1984," Lookingglass Theatre Company.

Muralist: Pablo Perea, "Two Sisters and a Piano," Apple Tree Theatre and Teatro Vista.

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