Listen, if you want to know who the winners were, go here. This review is about the opulent Awards ceremony itself, which was held at the Park West. The only other time I’ve been to the Park West was for The Polyphonic Spree show. I was tripping balls on a whole bunch of screamers that Ryan Bollettino gave me. I wished Bollo was there on Monday to give me more screamers, because this ceremony was NO Polyphonic Spree show.
As we walked in, I noticed many many Chicago theatre celebrities! Look, Sean Graney! Vanessa Greenway! David Cromer! Nathan Allen! Phillip Klapperich! Anthony Tournis! Me! (I looked in a mirror) It was literally star-studded with stud stars. One thing to know about the Jeff Committee themselves…they are old but extremely helpful. I asked an old man where the bathroom was, and he couldn’t be happier to tell me! That’s committee commitment.
Drinks at the Park West are $6.50 for a little cup of booze, ice, and watery 7-Up. Strike one. This ceremony could have been held somewhere cheaper…I mean everyone was wearing dresses from Marshalls and suits from Unique Thrift. Jeff Committee…no one has any money. Please take that into account and have the next Awards at Ravenswood Pub. I’ll bar-be-cue some chicken and we can get a keg of Schlitz. Done.
There was some parts of the evening that were unforgettable. Kevin Bellie of Circle Theatre and Frances Limoncelli of whoever will do her plays hosted the event, which was great! They even did cheesy musical numbers and put their faces into the nominated Best Show pictures! They had good banter together and rushed the show along because they did not want to buy anymore $6.50 drinks either. Good choice, hosts. Note to Jeff Committee…people like awards shows that go fast. We are busy, and bars don’t stay open all damn night.
The Park West is a very lovely and scenic venue…there was ALWAYS something to look at! Whether it was the bottom of my glass, large chests, or really nice disco balls! What was also lovely: Darrell W. Cox’s hair…I wanted to run my fingers through it and tell him how his shyness is so damn attractive.
My friend Shannon Hoag said during the musical number from “Chess” (Theo Ubique gets the shout out…great work guys!) that it should have been called “Chest.” Those singers were packing hams!
Anyway, Douglas Bradburd, the Non-Equity Chair of the Jeff Committee, made a heartfelt speech when bestowing the Special Award to Circle Theater…about how it was so inspiring to see new works and enthusiastic young people who were fearless in Chicago theatre and how that made us second to none in America’s theatrical community. It was a really moving speech.
Then Twelve Angry Men won for Best Ensemble.
After the show was over, Eric, my wife and I filed our way outside through the mobs of celebrities. There was Chris Maher! I accidentally touched Chris Jones' butt! Paul Holmquist asked me for a cigarette! Rob Kauzlaric waved at me!
Once we hit the street, Eric, my wife and I ran right into old friend and self-described fan of mine, David Cromer. He told us that all the real cool guys were going up to Goldie's right next to American Theater Company. American Theater Company has a fine history of really getting along with it's ensemble members and since tonight was about togetherness, I accepted his hearty plea.
When we walked in, I knew we had made the right choice. This place was filled with celebrities! Jeff Award winner Chris Matthews was talking with Jeff Award winner Matt Hawkins (they didn't win this year)!
The evening's announcer James Anthony Zoccoli was discussing something VERRRRRRY artful with Lifeline Artistic Director Dorothy Milne. Apparently they were really talking about some important things, because they didn't want to be interviewed.
Jeff Award winner Mike Smith was surprised to see us, and couldn't wait to talk all-things-theatre with us!
I was mentioning to Eric how I was pretty excited that Chess won so many awards, because I thought that show was really great and original. Also, the whole cast was sitting right behind us, and were very thrilled to be there. The only thing I noticed was that there were only 5 musicals nominated for everything, which made me wonder how many musicals were actually done in Chicago as non-equity shows. I hadn't seen any of them, because I don't live in the suburbs or am very old, so my educated guess was... 7 musicals done this year. Man, those other 2 must have been atrocious or really far in the suburbs.
As the party went on, I got much friendlier with these wonderful winners, and couldn't help but ask Jeff Award winner Shawn Pfautsch if he was having a great time.
Listen, I'm sure he's a real sweetheart, but do NOT get messed up with this guy when he is on a drunk. He will not shut up! He was running his mouth about everything! Did you know that he used to be married to Jeff Award winner Melanie Keller?
By this point in the night, I wanted to get closer to Jeff Award winner Peter Oyloe, but something inside told me to stay away, as he seemed like a tortured young soul.
Well, we waited around for a while, until it was clear that Jeff Award winners John Steinhagen and David Cromer had stood us up, so I just sold some weed to Jeff Award winner Janet Ulrich Brooks and took off.
What a great night!
I can't wait for next year!