2010 Jeff Awards: How did Our Suburban Theaters Do?

Theaters on the North Shore came home with few laurels from the 42nd annual Jeff Equity Awards Monday evening Oct. 25 at Drury Lane Oakbrook.

Only Writers’ Theatre in Glencoe was honored, receiving four Jeffs from a total of nine nominations.

The ethereal performance of Natasha Lowe as Blanche du Bois in Writers’ Theatre production of Tennessee Williams’ “A Streetcar Named Desire,” won the Best Actress in a Play. And Writers’ delightful revue “Oh Coward!” presented in a cabaret setting in the theater’s second stage and extended several times, was honored as Best Revue, as well as garnering Best Actress in a Revue for Kate Fry and Best Actor in a Revue for Rob Lindley.

But that was it for productions north of Howard Street.

Writers’ “Streetcar” was beat for best production by “The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity,” a new play, produced by Victory Gardens Theater in collaboration with Teatro Vista, which in all picked up five awards for their work together.

Two of the quirkiest musicals last season at the Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire,  “Hairspray” and “The Drowsy Chaperone,” received four and five nominations respectively, including one each for their redoubtable choreographer Marc Robin, but came home empty handed. It was rolled over by “Ragtime” at the Drury Lane Oakbrook Terrace, which won seven awards.

Northlight Theatre, which is located in the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie received four nominations, including one for Felicia P. Fields for her work in “Low Down Dirty Blues.” Fields, who originated the role of Sofia in the Broadway musical “The Color Purple, emceed the 2010 proceedings along with Deanna Dunagan, a Chicago actress who received a 2008 Tony Award as Best Actress for her work in the Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s production “August: Osage County.”

The only other suburban theater to receive nominations was Next Theatre, located in the Noyes Cultural Arts Center in Evanston, which was nominated for sound design for “End Days” and “War With the Newts.”

We on the North Shore enjoy our local companies, but it seems that last season the Jeff Committee members thought some of the best productions were elsewhere.