Nominees Announced for the 1st Annual Beat Awards


The Chicago Theater Beat (formerly the Chicago Theater Blog) today announced the nominees for the 1st Annual Chicago Theater Critics' Beat Awards. The Beat Awards provide an opportunity for Chicago's critics to give recognition to outstanding achievements in Chicago's theatre community and the artists involved.

"As a representative of the Chicago theatre critic community, I feel incredibly blessed to have the chance to experience such high-quality theatre, dance and opera that the least I can do is give credit to high artistic achievement," says Scotty Zacher, publisher of the Chicago Theater Beat and the head of the Beat Awards committee.

A panel of nine critics from six different publications submitted nominations in 19 categories. Judges considered more than 500 productions from July 1, 2010 through June 30, 2011. The nominees with the most mentions were placed on the final ballot, which will be voted on by the panel within the following weeks. Winners will be announced in late March. 

"Without a doubt, Chicago has the most vibrant theatre community in the world," Zacher says. "Enough can't be said for the support Chicago gives to the arts. We hope the Beat Awards will help foster and inspire the theatre community to continue to create great work."

Plans for the 2012 awards are already in the works, with requests for nominations set to go out in July. The panel of judges is expected to more than double to over 20 critics.   


Best Production, Equity 

  • 42nd Street, Marriott Theatre
  • The Big Meal, American Theater Co.
  • Candide, Goodman Theatre
  • Chinglish, Goodman Theatre
  • Frost/Nixon, Timeline Theatre
  • The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?, Remy Bumppo
  • The Madness of George III, Chicago Shakespeare
  • Merrily We Roll Along, Musical Theatre Company
  • Porgy and Bess, Court Theatre
  • Scorched, Silk Road Rising
  • A Twist of Water, Route 66 Theatre
  • Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Steppenwolf Theatre


Best Production, Non-Equity

  • 1001, Collaboraction
  • Cats, Theo Ubique
  • Festen, Steep Theatre
  • The First Ladies, Trap Door
  • Heddatron, Sideshow Theatre
  • Lobby Hero, Redtwist
  • Man from Nebraska, Redtwist
  • Memories of Two Mondays, Eclipse
  • Passing Strange, Bailiwick Chicago
  • Pirates of Penzance, The Hypocrites
  • Three Faces of Dr. Crippen, Strangetree


Best Children’s Show

  • Arnie the Doughnut, Lifeline Theatre
  • The Hundred Dresses, Chicago Children’s Theatre
  • Jackie and Me, Chicago Children’s Theatre
  • Pinkalicious, Emerald City Theatre
  • Pinnochio, Chicago Shakespeare
  • Somebody Loves You Mr. Hatch, Lifeline Theatre


Best Opera

  • Carmen, Lyric Opera
  • Death and the Powers, Chicago Opera Theater
  • Lohengrin, Lyric Opera
  • Macbeth, Lyric Opera
  • Medea, Chicago Opera Theater


Best Tour 

  • Being Harold Pinter, Belarus Free Theatre
  • Billy Elliott
  • Black Watch, National Theatre of Scotland
  • Les Miserables
  • Next to Normal
  • Peter Pan
  • Traces


Best Season, Equity

  • About Face
  • Chicago Shakespeare
  • Goodman Theatre
  • Lookingglass
  • Steppenwolf Timeline
  • Writers' Theatre


Best Season, Non-Equity 

  • The Hypocrites
  • Lifeline
  • Redtwist
  • Steep
  • Theo Ubique


Best Overall Design, Equity

  • Candide, Goodman Theatre
  • Chinglish, Goodman Theatre
  • The Comedy of Errors, Court Theatre
  • Front Page,Timeline Theatre
  • Heartbreak House, Writers’ Theatre
  • Hot ‘L’ Baltimore, Steppenwolf Theatre
  • Last Act of Lilka Kadison, Lookingglass Theatre
  • A Parallelogram, Steppenwolf Theatre
  • Porgy and Bess, Court Theatre
  • Twist of Water, Route 66 Theatre
  • Baal, TUTA


Best Overall Design, Non-Equity 

  • Bug, Redtwist Theatre
  • Festen, Steep Theatre
  • Heddatron, Sideshow Theatre
  • MilkMilkLemonade, Pavement Group
  • Lobby Hero, Redtwist Theatre


Best New Work 


Best Male Actor, Equity


Best Male Actor, Non-Equity 

  • Brennan Buhl, K. (The Hypocrites)
  • Matt Farabee, MilkMilkLemonade (Pavement Group)
  • Gregory Isaac, Wuthering Heights (Lifeline Theatre)
  • Andrew Jessop, Lobby Hero (Redtwist)
  • Trinity Murdoch, Last Saint on Sugar Hill (MPAACT)
  • BrIan Parry, Shining City (Redtwist)
  • Nathan Randall, Talk Radio (State Theatre)
  • Michael Salinas, Festen (Steep)
  • Chuck Spencer, Man From Nebraska (Redtwist)
  • Kevin Stark, Festen (Steep)


Best Actress, Equity


Best Actress, Non-Equity 

  • Elizabeth Bagby, All Saints’ Day (Ruckus Theatre)
  • Brenda Barrie, Ruby Sunrise (Gift Theatre)
  • Kaitlin Byrd, The Moonstone (Lifeline Theatre)
  • Marilyn Camacho, Brainpeople (UrbanTheatre Company)
  • Maggie Portman, Cats (Theo Ubique)
  • Sarah Pretz, Blood Wedding (Oracle)
  • Sarah Segviny, Boojum! Nonsense, Truth & Lewis Caroll (Caffeine Theatre)
  • Beth Stelling, Five Lesbians Eating Quiche (New Colony Theatre)
  • Nicole Wiesner, The First Ladies (Trap Door)
  • Kendra Thulin, State of the Union (Strawdog)


Best Ensemble, Equity 

  • 42nd Street, Marriott Theater
  • Candide, Goodman Theatre
  • Float, About Face Theatre
  • The Front Page, Timeline Theatre
  • The Homosexuals, About Face Theatre
  • The King and I, Porchlight Music Theatre
  • The Madness of George III, Chicago Shakespeare
  • The Original Grease, American Theatre Company
  • A Parallelogram, Steppenwolf
  • Porgy and Bess, Court Theatre
  • A Twist of Water, Route 66 Theatre


Best Director, Equity 


Best Ensemble, Non-Equity 

  • 1001, Collaboraction
  • Aces, Signal Ensemble
  • Cats, Theo Ubique
  • Festen, Steep Theatre
  • Memory of Two Mondays, Eclipse
  • MilkMilkLemonade, Pavement Group
  • Pirates of Penzance, Hypocrites
  • Watership Down, Lifeline



Best Director, Non-Equity 

  • Jonathan Berry, Festen (Steep)
  • Lili-Anne Brown, Passing Strange (Bailiwick Chicago)
  • Keira Fromm, Lobby Hero (Redtwist)
  • Sean Graney, Pirates of Penzance (Hypocrites)
  • Jimmy McDermott, The Three Faces of Dr. Crippen (Strange Tree)
  • Max Truax, Woyzeck (Oracle)


Annual Honoree 

  • Jeremy Wechsler & Brian Posen
  • Larry Bommer
  • Oracle Theatre
  • Rahm Emmanuel
  • Richard M. Daley
  • Timeline Theatre


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