Theo Ubique Theatre tops Jeff nominations with 14

“Light in the Piazza” Photo credit Adam Veness.

THEO UBIQUE CABARET THEATRE in Rogers Park leads the pack with 14 noms from the non-Equity Joseph Jefferson Awards, announced this week.

Eight nods were for their current production of The Light in the Piazza, which runs through June 23, and six for Pump Boys and Dinettes, which ran this past winter. Griffin Theatre scored 11 nominations.

Six were for their American-premiere production of British playwright Simon Stephens’Punk Rock (a contemporary school drama with Lord of the Flies echoes) and five for the musical Spring Awakening (which also deals with teen angst circa late-19th-century Germany).

This year, the “artistic specialization” category is particularly strong, with nominations ranging from the percussive soundscape for the Building Stage’s stripped-down version of Moby-Dick, created by Casey Baker, Kevin O’Donnell, and Mike Pryzgoda, to Joanna Iwanicka’s puppet, mask, and video design for Lifeline Theatre’s adaptation of Watership Down. Ten people were nominated in total for the category, including collaborative efforts.

The individual with the most nominations this year is sound designer and composer Christopher Kriz, who bagged three nominations for sound design and one for original incidental music.

The awards will handed out Monday, June 4, at the Park West, 322 W. Armitage. Doors open at 6 and the ceremony starts at 7:30. Tix are $40 advance, $45 at the door and can be ordered online.

About Face Theatre artistic director Bonnie MetzgarNEW PLAYS ARE THE THING in Chicago, and Pavement Group hosts a panel Thursday, May 3, on that very topic. Kris Vire, theater editor of Time Out Chicago moderates, and the panelists include Bonnie Metzgar, artistic director of About Face Theatre; Geoffrey Jackson Scott, director of new play development at Victory Gardens Theater; and Pavement Group’s artistic director David Perez.

The panel is at the Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division, and begins at 6:15. It’s followed by the 7:30 performance of Bixby Elliot’s Girl You Know It’s True, inspired by the rise and fall of lip-synching Grammy winners Milli Vanilli. Tickets for the show are available online.

WRITERS WITH A YEN for the deliberately awful, take heart: DrekFest is back in  all its, um, glory. Stage Left Theatre’s annual exploration of truly dreadful ten-minute plays is open for submissions through June 1.

The four finalists will be performed in staged readings July 31 at ComedySportz on Belmont. Applications online.

THE INTERNATIONAL VOICES PROJECT presents some of the most intriguing playwrights from around the globe. The 2012 series of concert readings are presented by IVP in partnership with several consulates and cultural institutions throughout Chicago.

Playwright Claudio Tolcachir  Readings start Tuesday, May 8, 7 p.m., with the U.S. premiere of Argentinian writer Claudio Tolcachir’s Third Wing (translated by Jean Graham-Jones), at Instituto Cervantes, 31 W. Ohio.

Other pieces come from Egypt, France, the Ukraine, Canada, Germany, Sweden, and Switzerland. For info and reservations, visit the website.

CONDOLENCES to the family and friends of Bernie Landis, 82, a longtime fixture in Chicago theater as well as film, television, and voice-over, who passed away April 21.

Among his many other credits ranging from drama to musical comedy, Mr. Landis was a founding member of the Chicago Shakespeare Repertory (now Chicago Shakespeare Theater and recipient of their Humanitarian Award.

A memorial celebration will be held Sunday, May 6, 10:30 a.m. at Weinstein Funeral Home, 111 W. Skokie Blvd., Wilmette. The family requests memorial donations be made to the Screen Actors Guild Scholarship Fund  or The Actors’ Fund.

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