The Jeff Awards honor excellence in professional theatre produced within the immediate Chicago area. Every year, judges attend shows at all of Chicago's professional theatres, searching for the best productions, performers and presentation in Chicago's world-renown theatre scene.
You expect to see powerhouse theatres like Steppenwolf and the Goodman nominated. Marquee names like Brian Dennehy, Tracy Letts and Amy Morton are mainstays on the ballot. But alongside Chicago's traditional theatre stalwarts, a host of comedians and sketch shows join the running.
This year the comedy community has four big nominations to be excited about:
- We're All In This Room Together by The Second City e.t.c. - Best Production - Revue
- Edgar Blackmon - Best Actor or Actress in a Revue for The Second City's 100th Revue: Who Do We Think We Are by The Second City Mainstage
- Michael Kosinski - Best Actor or Actress in a Revue for We're All In This Room Together by The Second e.t.c.
- Ryan Bernier - Best Director of a Revue for We're All In This Room Together by The Second City e.t.c.
Interview with Ryan Bernier, The Second City
The Second City is no stranger to Jeff Nominations. Some of their productions and performers are nominated almost every year. So to get an inside look at what it takes to stand out in a world-class theatre town, I stepped inside the head of Ryan Bernier, who is himself nominated along with the show he directed.
As a member of the Chicago theatre and comedy community, what do the Jeff Awards mean to you, and how does it feel to be nominated?
The Jeff Award we've been nominated for that means the most is Best Revue. Creating shows at The Second City is so collaborative that it's hard to feel that any one person should be honored above anyone else.
Beyond awards, what other feedback do you value? (like reviews, critics, Yelp, friends, the audience, etc.)
The ensemble and the audience. These are how the shows are made and what means the most during the rehearsal process and otherwise. But good word of mouth in the community as well as nice reviews and an ensemble award are very welcome.
What's the first thing you'll do if you win the Jeff Award?
Um...in chronological order; probably give a speech, than have a pint of ale.
The 44th Annual Jeff Awards will be presented on Monday, November 7, at Drury Lane Oakbrook. Click here for more information.