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2014 BroadwayWorld Chicago Award Winners Announced: RAGTIME, AVENUE Q and ALL OUR TRAGIC Win Locally; MOTOWN, AMAZING GRACE Tours Honored

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On the coldest night of the year, spirits were high at The Call Bar in the Andersonville neighborhood, as the 2014 BroadwayWorld Chicago Awards Celebration was held on Wednesday, January 7, 2015. Hosted by BroadwayWorld Chicago Regional Editor Paul W. Thompson and The Call's hostess, Ashley Morgan, the Celebration lasted from 8:00 pm to the stroke of midnight, as the winners in 36 categories were revealed.

Honoring productions which opened in the Chicagoland area between November 1, 2013 and October 31, 2014, the fifth annual BroadwayWorld Chicago Awards were dominated by three local productions, headed by the Big Noise Theatre Company of Des Plaines's production of "Ragtime," which took home five certificates, including the one for Best Revival of a Musical or Revue (Resident Non-Equity). Mercury Theater Chicago's production of "Avenue Q" also won five in categories, including Best Revival of a Musical or Revue (Resident Equity). And The Hypocrites' production of "All Our Tragic," a day-long amalgamation of all the existing ancient Greek plays, won four awards, including Best New Work/New Adaptation (Resident) and Best Direction of a Play (Resident Non-Equity) for Sean Graney, Best Actor in a Play (Resident Non-Equity) for Geoff Button, and the coveted Best Ensemble (Resident) award.

The directors, musical directors and scenic designers of "Ragtime"(Stacey Flaster, Robert Deason and David Geinosky) and "Avenue Q" (L. Walter Stearns, Eugene Dizon and Alan Donahue) all took home award certificates in their respective categories. Interestingly, Geinosky also won the BroadwayWorld Chicago Award as Best Actor in a Musical or Revue (Non-Equity) for "Cabaret" at Naperville's BrightSide Theatre. "Ragtime"'s other award was for Amanda Horvath as Best Actress in a Musical or Revue (Non-Equity), and the fifth win for "Avenue Q" was for Nick Belley & Jess Goings for Best Lighting Design (Resident Equity).

In all, 22 productions were honored with wins Wednesday night, out of the 93 nominated. And three productions garnered two wins apiece. The Marriott Theatre's "The King and I" was honored for Nancy Missimi's Best Costume Design (Resident Equity) and for Heidi Kettenring as Best Actress in a Musical or Revue (Resident Equity). TimeLine Theatre Company's "The Normal Heart" won for Best Revival of a Play (Resident Equity) as well as the corresponding Best Direction certificate for Nick Bowling. And the Oriental Theatre's national touring production of "Motown" won the award for Best Touring Production, with Allison Semmes picking up a win as Best Actress in a Touring Production. Josh Young of "Amazing Grace" won the award for Best Actor in a Touring Production.

53 theaters were nominated for at least one award. Of the 18 theaters with at least one win, Big Noise ended up as the leading theater company of the night. Along with the five wins for "Ragtime," the company won in a sixth category when Julie Ann Stevens picked up the certificate for Best Actress in a Play (Resident Non-Equity) for "Alone Together." The Goodman Theatre won three awards for three different productions: nonagenarian Mike Nussbaum was named Best Actor in a Play (Resident Equity) for his appearance in "Smokefall," Mary Beth Fisher was named the corresponding Best Actress for "Luna Gale," and Rachel Rockwell won for Best Choreography (Resident Equity) for "Brigadoon." And Porchlight Music Theatre won the Best Revue (Resident) award for its production of "Ain't Misbehavin', with David Girolmo picking up the Best Actor in a Musical or Revue (Resident Equity) award for Porchlight's "Sweeney Todd."

Raven Theatre's "All My Sons" won for Best Revival of a Play (Resident Non-Equity) and Brenda Didier won an award for the fifth consecutive year when she won for her Best Choreography (Resident Non-Equity) for Bailiwick Chicago's "The Wild Party." The award for best non-Equity resident lighting design went to Chazz Mallott for the Chicago premiere of "Coraline" (Black Button Eyes Productions). And the award for best non-Equity resident costume design went to the team of Patty Halajian & Jean Rebeka for Fremont Street Theater Company's production of "Crazy for You."

The awards for Best Sound Design went to Lindsay Jones for American Blues Theater's "Grounded" (Resident Equity) and Christopher Kriz for Griffin Theatre Company's "Titanic" (Resident Non-Equity). The Best Special Theatrical Event was announced to be Lyric Opera of Chicago's "The Sound of Music," and the Best Theater Production for Young Audiences was Chicago Shakespeare Theater's "Seussical." The award was CST's only win of the night, in 15 nominations.

Midway through the evening, which also featured showtune videos and the mid-season return of "American Horror Story: Freak Show," BroadwayWorld Chicago honored some of the Chicago theater artists who died during the past year, many of them from accidents while in the prime of their careers. Prior to a video presentation of the song, "For Good," from "Wicked," Thompson read the following list of names: lighting designer Robert Christen; producer and director Dyanne Earley; publicist Eric Eatherly; actor Molly Glynn; actor and director Matthew Gunnels; musical director Fred Kaz; properties designer Joel Lambie; broadcaster Roy Leonard; actor Trinity P. Murdoch; actor and teacher Julia Neary; sketch comedian and director Mike Nichols; writer, director and teacher Sheldon Patinkin; comedian Joan Rivers; actor Richard Schaal; theater preservationist Ray Shepardson; actor Sati Word; master electrician Brenton Wright; and actor Bernie Yvon.

The BroadwayWorld Chicago Awards are Chicago's only comprehensive, fan-voted theater awards. Nominations are made editorially in early November, based on community suggestions. This year, voting continued online through December 31, 2014, and after auditing the results were revealed on January 7, 2015 at the BroadwayWorld Chicago Awards Celebration. The Celebration is held annually at The Call Bar, 1547 W. Bryn Mawr Avenue, a 21+ venue.

The winners of the 2014 BroadwayWorld Chicago Awards are:

Best Actor in a Musical or Revue (Resident Equity) - David Girolmo - Sweeney Todd - Porchlight Music Theatre

Best Actor in a Musical or Revue (Resident Non­Equity) - David Geinosky - Cabaret - BrightSide Theatre

Best Actor in a Play (Resident Equity) - Mike Nussbaum - Smokefall - Goodman Theatre

Best Actor in a Play (Resident Non­Equity) - Geoff Button - All Our Tragic - The Hyprocrites

Best Actor in a Touring Production - Josh Young - Amazing Grace - Bank of America Theatre

Best Actress in a Musical or Revue (Resident Equity) - Heidi Kettenring - The King and I - Marriott Theatre

Best Actress in a Musical or Revue (Resident Non­Equity) - Amanda Horvath - Ragtime - Big Noise Theatre Company

Best Actress in a Play (Resident Equity) - Mary Beth Fisher - Luna Gale - Goodman Theatre

Best Actress in a Play (Resident Non-Equity) - Julie Ann Stevens - Alone Together - Big Noise Theatre Company

Best Actress in a Touring Production - Allison Semmes - Motown - Oriental Theatre

Best Choreography (Resident Equity) - Rachel Rockwell - Brigadoon - Goodman Theatre

Best Choreography (Resident Non­Equity) - Brenda Didier - The Wild Party - Bailiwick Chicago

Best Costume Design (Resident Equity) - Nancy Missimi - The King and I - Marriott Theatre

Best Costume Design (Resident Non­Equity) - Patty Halajian & Jean Rebeka - Crazy for You - Fremont Street Theater Company

Best Direction of a Musical or Revue (Resident Equity) - L. Walter Stearns - Avenue Q - Mercury Theater Chicago

Best Direction of a Musical or Revue (Resident Non-Equity) - Stacey Flaster - Ragtime - Big Noise Theatre Company

Best Direction of a Play (Resident Equity) - Nick Bowling - The Normal Heart - TimeLine Theatre Company

Best Direction of a Play (Resident Non-Equity) - Sean Graney - All Our Tragic - The Hypocrites

Best Ensemble (Resident) - All Our Tragic - The Hyprocrites

Best Lighting Design (Resident Equity) - Nick Belley & Jess Goings - Avenue Q - Mercury Theater Chicago

Best Lighting Design (Resident Non­Equity) - Chazz Mallott - Coraline - Black Button Eyes Productions

Best Musical Direction (Resident Equity) - Eugene Dizon - Avenue Q - Mercury Theater Chicago

Best Musical Direction (Resident Non-Equity) - Robert Deason - Ragtime - Big Noise Theatre Company

Best New Work/New Adaptation (Resident) - Sean Graney - All Our Tragic - The Hyprocrites

Best Revival of a Musical (Resident Equity) - Avenue Q - Mercury Theater Chicago

Best Revival of a Musical (Resident Non­Equity) - Ragtime - Big Noise Theatre Company

Best Revival of a Play (Resident Equity) - The Normal Heart - TimeLine Theatre Company

Best Revival of a Play (Resident Non-Equity) - All My Sons - Raven Theatre

Best Revue (Resident) - Ain't Misbehavin' - Porchlight Music Theatre

Best Scenic Design (Resident Equity) - Alan Donahue - Avenue Q -Mercury Theater Chicago

Best Scenic Design (Resident Non-Equity) - David Geinosky - Ragtime - Big Noise Theatre Company

Best Sound Design (Resident Equity) - Lindsay Jones - Grounded - American Blues Theater

Best Sound Design (Resident Non-Equity) - Christopher Kriz - Titanic - Griffin Theatre Company

Best Special Theatrical Event - The Sound of Music - Lyric Opera of Chicago

Best Theater Production for Young Audiences - Seussical - Chicago Shakespeare Theater

Best Touring Production - Motown - Oriental Theatre


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From This Author Paul W. Thompson

Paul W. Thompson, a contributor to BroadwayWorld.com since 2007, is a Chicago-based singer, actor, musical director, pianist, vocal coach, composer and commentator. His career as (read more...)