Flaherty, Galati, Ives, Smith, et al. Win Joseph Jefferson Awards
The Court's staging of the August Wilson drama, about an aging African-American baseball player in the 1950's, took home awards for Best Play, Director (Ron OJ Parson), Principal Actor (A. C. Smith) and Principal Actress (Jacqueline Williams, who tied with Kirsten Fitzgerald for The Sea Horse). In addition, the Court's production of La Mancha won six awards, including Best Musical and Best Ensemble.
Other top honors went to the Northlight Theatre and Geva Theatre Center co-production of A Marvelous Party: The Noel Coward Celebration, which won four Jeffs;. Lydia R. Diamond won the Jeff for New Work-Play for Voyeurs de Venus at Chicago Dramatists; while the New Work-Musical Award went to composer Stephen Flaherty and director/writer Frank Galati for Loving Repeating: A Musical of Gertrude Stein produced by About Face Theatre and the Museum of Contemporary Art.
New Adaptation Jeffs were bestowed on David Ives for his version of Feydeau's farce A Flea in Her Ear at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, and to Raymond Fox, Heidi Stillman, and Laura Eason for adapting Dickens' The Old Curiosity Shop at Lookingglass Theatre Company.
The winner for Solo Performance was Michael Patrick Thornton as the Irish tough in Conor McPherson's The Good Thief, staged at the tiny Gift Theatre, which Thornton founded. A powerful young actor, Thornton suffered nearly-fatal spinal strokes when he was not yet 3, and now depends on a wheelchair or walking assistance. "Thank you for seeing past a walker and seeing an actor," he told the audience. "I'll try to do the same."