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    Posted October 28, 2009

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41st Annual Joseph Jefferson Awards in Chicago

Actors' Equity Presents Coveted Outstanding Ensemble Award to Timeline Theatre's The History Boys

By Pam Spitzner

(l - r) CRB Member Diane Dorsey, National EEO Business Rep Luther Goins, Central Regional Director Kathryn V. Lamkey, Central Regional Vice President and CRB Chair Dev Kennedy, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre Director of Audience Development Alida Szabo, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre Executive Director Criss Henderson.

On Monday, October 19th, the Chicago theatre community gathered at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie for the annual Joseph Jefferson Awards celebrating excellence in Chicago-area Equity theatre. Nominees were drawn from Equity theatrical productions that opened between August 1, 2008, and July 31, 2009. Reflecting the diversity-economic as well as general-of the community, seven awards are presented in both a "large" and "midsize" category: Production - Play, Production - Musical, Production - Revue, Scenic Design, Costume Design, Lighting Design, and Sound Design.

Again this year, Actors' Equity sponsored the coveted "Outstanding Ensemble" Award, which was presented to Timeline Theatre's THE HISTORY BOYS. Equity Regional Vice President Dev Kennedy and Central Regional Director Kathryn V. Lamkey presented the award to the ensemble, which had closed its oft-extended 25-week run just the day before. THE HISTORY BOYS was a big winner that evening, collecting a total of five "Jeffs" (Ensemble, Director - Play (Nick Bowling), Actor in a Supporting Role - Play (Alex Weisman), Outstanding Scenic Design/Midsize (Brian Sidney Bembridge), and Production - Play/Midsize) in its first year of eligibility for the Equity Jeffs. [A separate ceremony in the spring honors non-Equity theatre.]

(l - r) Outstanding Musical Director Awardee Doug Peck, Malcolm Durning, CRB Member and Outstanding Actress in a Musical Awardee E. Faye Butler, Outstanding Director Charles Newell -- all from Court Theatre's Best Musical/Large Theatre Awardee CAROLINE, OR CHANGE.

Court Theatre's fall production of CAROLINE, OR CHANGE led the musical honors with four Awards: Outstanding Production/Large, Outstanding Director - Musical (Charles Newell), Outstanding Musical Direction (Doug Peck), and Outstanding Principal Actress in a Musical (Central Regional Board member E. Faye Butler).

CRB Member and awardee for Oustanding Performance by an Actor in a Revue Mark-David Kaplan

Another CRB Member, Mark-David Kaplan, received the award for Outstanding Actor in a Revue for his performance in FORBIDDEN BROADWAY: DANCES WITH THE STARS.

In an unusual happenstance, there were ties for awards in three categories: Outstanding Production - Play/Large (RUINED at Goodman Theatre and THE SEAFARER at Steppenwolf; Outstanding Actor in a Play (William L. Petersen in Blackbird at Victory Gardens and Larry Neumann, Jr. in A MOON FOR THE MISBEGOTTEN at First Folio); and Outstanding Actress in a Supporting Role - Musical (Liz Baltes in A MINISTER'S WIFE at Writers' Theatre and Summer Naomi Smart in THE LIGHT IN THE PIAZZA at Marriott Theatre).

(l - r) Jeff ceremony co-emcee Elizabeth Ledo, CRB Board Member and ceremony Director Michael Weber, Jeff cermony co-emcee Rob Lindley

The 50th Anniversary of The Second City was celebrated on stage and in film clips, with special tributes from Chicago Tribune theatre critic emeritus Richard Christiansen and Chicago Shakespeare Theatre's Artistic Director Barbara Gaines. A special Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to William Pullinsi, founder of the late lamented Candlelight Dinner Playhouse and now Artistic Director as well as frequent director at Theatre at the Center.

The ceremony was hosted by Elizabeth Ledo and Rob Lindley, and was once again directed by Central Regional Board member Michael Weber.

For a complete list of Award Winners, visit

Central Region Councillor David Girolmo and CRB Member (and Jeff Nominee) Richard Strimer.

CRB Member Richard Shavzin and Judy Blue

The ensemble of Timeline Theatre's THE HISTORY BOYS, winner of the Equity-sponsored Best Ensemble award.

Central Regional Director Kathryn V. Lamkey, Central Regional Vice President and CRB Chair Dev Kennedy

Val Fagan as Little Red Riding Hood (Into the Woods) Above L to R - Leisa Mather as Bernadette Peters (Sunday in the Park), Mark David Kaplan as Stephen Sondheim, and Kevin B. McGlynn as Sweeney Todd.

Val Fagan as Mary Poppins, Mark David Kaplan as Daniel Radcliffe and Leisa Mather as The Little Mermaid.

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