Farewell Park West; hello Athenaeum Theatre.
The Joseph Jefferson Awards Committee announced Monday that the 44th annual Non-Equity Jeff Awards, which recognize excellence in non-union Chicago theater productions, is changing the site for its annual awards ceremony to the historic 984-seat main stage of The Athenaeum. The theater complex, located at 2936 N. Southport, is where many smaller companies produce their work on a number of different black box stages and where many theaters maintain their administrative offices.
John Glover, Chair of the Non-Equity Wing for the Jeff Committee, and producer of the awards show, said that the past three award shows at Park West have been sold out, so it was time to explore a new venue.
In a prepared statement Glover said: “The Park West has been a terrific host to this awards show for many years, but we have outgrown the space. It’s a great dilemma to have to face.”
Jeff DeLong, the director of Marketing & Development at the Athenaeum, noted: “We are thrilled to host the Non-Equity Jeff Awards. So many of the nominees are resident producing partners that perform here. This event contributes to the 105-year legacy of off-Loop theatre at the Athenaeum. Having the Jeff Awards here will be a great new tradition as we enter our second century.”
The Athenaeum has a lively little cafe-bar in its spacious lobby, and parking is somewhat easier near the theater than near the congested Lincoln Park site of Park West.
The next awards ceremony, for productions from the season running April 1, 2016 through March 31, 2017, will be held June 5, 2017.