Two theater companies in their first year of eligibility for the Equity Wing of the Joseph Jefferson Awards made big splashes in this year's nominations, which were announced today.
The Paramount Theatre in far west suburban Aurora, which became eligible after the Jeff committee voted to expand its geographical boundaries from a 30-mile radius from downtown Chicago to 45 miles, pulled in 16 nominations for its productions of Les Misérables, The Who's Tommy and Mary Poppins. That's more total nods than any other company this year.
After mistakenly submitting for the Non-Equity Wing earlier this year, the newly-union Hypocrites made a handsome showing in the Equity nominations, with the marathon adaptation All Our Tragic earning eight nods, the most of any single production.
The big suburban musical houses dominated the nominations overall, with Paramount's 16 followed by Drury Lane with 13 and 12 for the Marriott Theatre. Steppenwolf Theatre Company, which managed just a single nomination for sound design last year, apparently bounced back in the Jeff committee's estimation: Its 12 nominations are the most this year of any theater in Chicago city limits.
The committee has its individual favorites, as well, with multiple instances of a nominee competing against him or herself. The principal actor in a play category contains a double-double, with both Francis Guinan and Jerod Haynes nominated for two productions at different theaters. Video and projection designer Mike Tutaj netted three of the six nominations in his category. And for direction of a musical in the large-budget category, remarkably, there are six nominations but just three nominees—Nick Bowling, Jim Corti and Rachel Rockwell each took two.
All told, the list comprises 187 nominations in 36 categories, representing 34 theaters that opened productions between August 1, 2014 and July 31, 2015. The 47th annual Equity Jeff Awards will be presented Monday, October 5 at Drury Lane Oakbrook Terrace.