Production Team Set for 55th Anniversary Equity Jeff Awards at Drury Lane Theatre

Learn who will be leading the award-winning artistic and musical direction.

By: Sep. 07, 2023
Production Team Set for 55th Anniversary Equity Jeff Awards at Drury Lane Theatre
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In an evening that puts the spotlight on theater excellence among more than 200 recognized artists and new emerging faces and voices, the 55th Anniversary Joseph Jefferson Awards for Equity Theater program will be under the award-winning artistic and musical direction of Johanna Mckenzie Miller and Carolyn Jean Brady.  Actor, director and voiceover artist Lorenzo Rush, Jr. will serve as host along with favorite Chicago actor Janet Ulrich Brooks as announcer. Paulette Petretti, Jeff Awards Equity Wing Chair, is the 2023 ceremony producer along with associate producer and fellow Jeff Awards member Merril Prager.

The October 2nd awards show at Drury Lane Theatre will feature dazzling musical numbers from productions including Big River (Mercury Theater Chicago), Cabaret (Porchlight Music Theatre), A Chorus Line (Drury Lane Theatre), Damn Yankees (Marriott Theatre), Fun Home (Paramount Theatre), The Gospel at Colonus (Court Theatre), Hello, Dolly! (Marriott Theatre), Into the Woods (Paramount Theatre), London Road (Shattered Globe Theatre), Once (Writers Theatre), Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (Mercury Theater Chicago), The Sound of Music (Paramount Theatre) and The Who's Tommy (Goodman Theatre).

The 2022-2023 Equity Jeff Awards nominees include 214 theater artists across 32 categories of excellence in theater production among shows from 35 companies. Goodman Theatre garnered the most honors with 32 nominations from nine productions, two of which were co-productions with other companies, followed by Paramount Theatre (18), Mercury Theater Chicago (15), and a tie between Drury Lane Productions, Marriott Theatre and Teatro Vista (13). The Dream King at Teatro Vista drew the largest number of nominations for a single production (10). Among New Work, ten world premiere plays and two new musicals are in award consideration. 

The ceremony will be held Monday, October 2nd 7:30pm (CST) at Drury Lane Theatre, 100 Drury Lane in Oakbrook Terrace, IL. The show will be preceded by a red carpet walk featuring award nominees and theater community members beginning at 6:15pm.
Johanna Mckenzie Miller
McKenzie Millier is a director and musical theater artist. Her directing credits include The 39 Steps, Shrek (TYA) and the Jeff Award winning Steel Magnolias at Drury Lane Theatre where she is currently the Associate Director on Ring of Fire.  She has also directed at Marriott Theatre, Northwestern University, Porchlight Music Theatre and made her directing debut at First Folio Theatre with Shrew’d! As a performer she has appeared onstage at Drury Lane as Elizabeth in Young Frankenstein, Hodel in Fiddler on the Roof, and Katie Nana in Mary Poppins.

Carolyn Jean Brady

Brady is a multi-genre voice instructor, music director, coach and pianist. She has several Jeff Awards nominations for music direction, most recently including A Chorus Line at Drury Lane Theatre, as well as being part of nominated productions at Marriott Theatre, The Goodman Theatre and Circle Theatre. 

In addition to previously serving on faculty at several Chicago and Illinois institutions, she maintains a private voice studio of students and clients who sing a multitude of styles around the country and world in productions on Broadway, national tours, cruise lines, Walt Disney World, Chicago Equity and Non-Equity theater, opera companies and in symphony concerts.

Lornezo Rush, Jr.

Chicago native Rush is a two time Jeff Award recipient, as well as an accomplished director and voiceover artist. He has spent time working on some of Chicagoland’s most notables stages, including Court Theatre, Marriott Theatre, Goodman Theatre, Paramount Theatre and Porchlight Music Theatre. In addition, he has also been seen on screen in Chicago PD, Empire and Fargo.

Janet Ulrich Brooks

An award-winning actor and coach, Ulrich Brooks remains a favorite on Chicago stages. She is a company member of TimeLine Theatre Company where she has performed in over 15 productions including the role of Maria Callas in Master Class (Jeff Award), as well as other Chicago theater credits with Drury Lane, the Goodman, Steppenwolf, Victory Gardens, Lookingglass, Northlight, and Theatre at the Center. Regionally she has worked with Woolly Mammoth, Milwaukee Rep, Kennedy Center, Theatre Squared in Fayetteville, AR.  Her film and TV work includes: Divergent, Conviction, One Small Hitch, and Fools; Work In Progress (Showtime), Fargo (FX), Sense8 (Netflix), Proven Innocent (FoxTV), and Boss (STARZ).   


Tickets are $95 for general admission and $70 for union members (AEA/USA/SDC/IATSE/DGA/AFM/CFM). To purchase tickets and learn more about this program and the Jeff Awards, visit


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