The Jeff Awards Committee has announced this year's nominees for the 44th Annual Non-Equity Jeff Awards. The Chicago theater award's 26 categories include 127 nominations for productions that opened between April 1, 2016, and March 31, 2017. Hosting the video presentation were Alexis Roston and Lillian Castillo, who will be this year's mistresses of ceremonies at the awards event on June 5 at the Athenaeum Theatre.
In the Production-Musical category, three of the nominated productions each had eight nominations. These included Urinetown at BoHo Theatre, The Wiz at Kokandy Productions, and High Fidelity at the newly eligible Refuge Theatre Project. Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre scored a total of 11 nominations this year, including seven for The Most Happy Fella. In the Production-Play category, three of the nominated productions each had four nominations: Prowess at Jackalope Theatre Company, At the Table at Broken Nose Theatre (another newly eligible company), and The North Pool at Interrobang Theatre Project.
The 2016-17 season also rewarded the efforts of non-Equity theaters producing new plays and new musicals in Chicago, with nine nominations for world premieres. Seven playwrights were nominated in the New Play category, including Ike Holter for Prowess at Jackalope Theatre Company, Jerre Dye for Distance at Strawdog Theatre Company, Alex Lubischer for Bobbie Clearly at Steep Theatre Company, Zeljko Djukic for Gentle at TUTA Theatre Chicago, Philip Dawkins for The Happiest Place on Earth at Greenhouse Theater in association with Sideshow Theatre, Shepsu Aakhu for Feral at MPAACT, and the team of Heather McNama and Nancy Nyman for Resolution at Pride Films and Plays. New Musical nominations went to Robert Kauzlaric and George Howe for Northanger Abbey at Lifeline Theatre as well as Alex Higgin-Houser and David Kornfeld for Haymarket: The Anarchist's Songbook at Underscore Theatre Company.
Originally chartered to recognize only Equity productions, the Jeff Awards established the Non-Equity Wing in 1973 to celebrate outstanding achievement in non-union theater.
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