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Theatre Awards Week!

By Julienne Bilker in Arts & Entertainment on May 6, 2010 9:40PM

2010_05_06_NonEqJeffs.jpg Earlier this week, we perused the newly-announced nominees for 2010 Tony Awards, and realized something disturbing. This is the first time in at least 13 years that we (I) haven't seen a single nominated show. The good news is, most of those shows are still running. As most Tony-eligible shows are open-ended runs, tangible praise is important for business (although the Best Original Score nomination for new musical Enron is not nearly enough to keep it afloat).

Things are a bit different here in Chicago, as the vast majority of our shows are limited runs. Although productions may extend, and often do, the fact that our scene is dominated by non-profits means that most companies plan whole seasons at a time. With rare exception (as with Profiles' Killer Joe's transfer to the Royal George), there must be a definitive closing date. So while we're happy for everyone nominated for this year's Non-Equity Jeff Awards*, we're a little sad that there are so many great shows that have already come and gone.

Nevertheless, this is time for celebration! There are 105 nominations between a record 26 theater companies - leading the pack are Lifeline Theatre (13 nominations), Bohemian Theatre Ensemble (11) and Theo Ubique Cabaret (11). Although 105 might sound like a lot, Kris Vire at Time Out has a bit to say about noteable omissions in his recurring award-rebuttal writeup. And we have to say, we (mostly) agree with him. Although Theo Ubique's Chess and House's Wilson Wants It All, both great shows, cleaned up, some others got the short end of the stick. Steep's Harper Regan, Caffeine's Under Milk Wood and Strawdog's Red Noses were three of our favorites, because they were extremely well-rounded productions. Everyone and everything was great. But each production received just one nomination. Don't mistake us, we're excited to see these shows be acknowledged - it's just a bit ... curious.

Anyway, you can check out the entire list of nominees on the Jeff Awards website. The Awards themselves will take place on June 7.

*In case you need translation: The Joseph Jefferson Award ("Jeff") is Chicago's Tony Award equivalent. Equity (theatre union) and Non-Equity Awards are presented separately.