WBEZ | Awards http://www.wbez.org/tags/awards Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Manufacturer of Oscar awards to lay off 95 employees http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/manufacturer-oscar-awards-lay-95-employees-104219 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/beaconradio_oscar.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F70214209?" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The Chicago-based company that manufactures Oscar statuettes is laying off nearly one hundred of its employees, according to a report by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.</p><p>The report said R. S. Owens notified 95 workers last month that they cannot return to work on Dec. 17.</p><p>The pink slips arrived just a few days after the company announced it would be purchased by St. Regis Crystal, an awards manufacturing company in Indianapolis.</p><p>The DCEO report does not detail the reasons behind the layoffs but said they are permanent.</p><p>R.S. Owens declined interview requests. A press announcement from the St. Regis acquisition in November said R.S. Owens will continue to manufacture the famed gold-plated statues from its current location in Chicago.</p><p>Owens has also produced awards for the Emmys, American Idol and MTV Video Music Awards.</p></p> Wed, 05 Dec 2012 15:46:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/manufacturer-oscar-awards-lay-95-employees-104219 The one that got away http://www.wbez.org/blog/claire-zulkey/2012-01-12/one-got-away-95498 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2012-January/2012-01-12/48318218_116eedf293.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: left;">By the end of high school, I was ready to graduate and get the hell out of Dodge. I didn’t even have that hard a time of it during those years, compared to some kids, but the stress of figuring out who I was, what I really wanted to do, who my friends were, where I wanted to go to college and the ways I knocked myself out to get in had taken its toll. I was tired of seeing the same people in the same halls every day and was ready for a fresh start, not only with new friends but maybe even with a new persona.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-January/2012-01-12/5891767378_1f14d341e6.jpg" style="width: 500px; height: 333px;" title="(Flickr/NWABR)"></p><p style="text-align: left;">Senior year ended more with a whimper than with a bang. Senioritis made classes seem interminable, prom was an overlong letdown after a stressful buildup, and the last day of school will be remembered not for hugs and yearbook signings but for a screaming match I had with a guy who had terminated our friendship. For graduation day, I cut off a big chunk of my long hair and wore a Georgetown t-shirt and gym shoes under my gown, almost to spite school: I wouldn’t pay it homage with a pretty dress and hairdo.<br> <br> There was one way though that my high school career could be salvaged, however, and that was by the Senior Awards ceremony.<br> <br> If there was one thing I was proud of in high school, it was that I had figured out that I was a writer. Dropping badminton and volleyball for the student-run variety show was one of the best decisions I ever made. Between writing for a few theater shows, writing and editing student newspapers all four years of high school, tutoring students, receiving a NCTE award and scoring an 800 on the verbal portion of my SATs (on the second go-around) and being a National Merit Semifinalist, I figured I’d be a shoo-in to win the English Department Award. Then, at least, I’d be recognized for what really mattered to me.<br> <br> At the awards ceremony, I remember this one particular teacher getting up to announce the award, listing the winner’s qualifications. &nbsp;He had never taught me, so I wondered how he knew how well rounded I was, how much I loved literature and reading. Then he started talking about good I was at French and soccer, and I realized that he was not speaking about me. (You idiots, an English award is not supposed to go to an athlete.) &nbsp;<br> <br> I lost to a girl who had also won Homecoming Queen, Prom Queen and Senior Leader, but the worst thing was that she was also a completely lovely person, smart and funny and kind, so I couldn’t even find solace in hating her for stealing away my award. On the way home from the ceremony, I cried on my best friend's shoulder (she had suffered the same fate I had, only in regards to the Journalism Award.)<br> <br> I don’t know why this loss was burned into my memory so vividly. &nbsp;It’s not like I wake up every day gazing at the empty space on the shelf where that trophy should be. Clearly, I didn’t need the award to confirm that I was and would be a writer. And while high school can be the pits, I realized that it’s like that for most everybody at times, and I didn’t even have it that bad.<br> <br> But still! I carry that as a little chip on my shoulder. I was out with some writer girlfriends this summer and found myself jokingly bitching about losing the award. And to my surprise, a colleague of mine who’s published three very popular books and is a beloved blogger confessed that she’s still mad that she didn’t win a poetry award in college.<br> <br> I guess sometimes we need to hold onto these otherwise insignificant losses in order to maintain the motivation to do whatever it is we do. So please, in the comments, share your stories: even though we can all admit that we’re adults now and aren’t holding onto the past in a creepy way, let me know, is there an award, a role, a spot on the team that you didn’t get that you’re still the teeeeeensiest bit (jokingly) bitter about? Help me feel like I’m not alone.</p></p> Thu, 12 Jan 2012 16:38:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/claire-zulkey/2012-01-12/one-got-away-95498 Robots invade Jeff Awards!! Martians next? http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-06-07/robots-invade-jeff-awards-martians-next-87512 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-June/2011-06-07/logo.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-June/2011-06-07/logo.jpg" style="width: 500px; height: 424px; " title=""></p><p>A robot invasion was just one of the surprises at the <a href="http://www.jeffawards.org/Nominees/recipients_nonequity.cfm"><strong>38th annual Joseph Jefferson Awards for Non-Equity Theater</strong></a>, handed out Monday night (June 6) at their usual venue, Park West. Typically raucous and generally joyful, the evening honored many of the usual suspects--powerhouse troupes which have won many previous Jeffs--as well as anointing a few lesser-knowns.</p><p>The top Jeffs for Production-Play and Production-Musical went to familiar names, respectively Redtwist Theatre for <em>Man from Nebraska</em> and The Hypocrites for <em>Cabaret</em>. Chuck Spencer took home the Jeff for Actor in a Principal Role--Play for his work in<em> Man from Nebraska</em> while <em>Cabaret</em> won four additional Jeffs for various artists, among them Matt Hawkins as Director-Musical and Jessie Fisher for Actress in a Principal Role-Musical for her cross-gender portrayal of the Emcee.</p><p>Among the other perennial winners were Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre, Lifeline Theatre and Bohemian Theatre Company. Indeed, the five Off-Loop troupes identified so far in this story walked off with 19 of the 28 Jeffs awarded Monday night.</p><p>If there was an unexpected big winner it was, collectively, the Steppenwolf Theatre Company's Garage Rep just this spring, in which the Wolfies presented three lesser-known non-Equity troupes in a rotating repertory of highly unique productions. Two of them walked out of the Park West with Jeff plaques. For its Garage Rep world premiere, <em>The Three Faces of Dr. Crippen</em>, the Strange Tree Group won the Director-Play Jeff Award for Jimmy McDermott and the New Work award for playwright (and Strange Tree artistic director) Emily Schwartz.</p><p>In a completely separate win, Strange Tree Group also took home the highly-coveted Jeff Award for Ensemble for its production of <em>Shakespeare's King Phycus</em>, produced much earlier in the season at Building Stage.</p><p>And so we come to those robots. One of the Steppenwolf Garage Rep productions was <em>Heddatron</em>, a spectacular production by Sideshow Theatre Company of a curious play in which robots meet Henrik Ibsen's <em>Hedda Gabler</em>. The production featured seven ingenious robots ranging from toaster-size to larger-than-life. The designers of these wondrous contraptions won a Jeff Award for Artistic Specialization, while several of the robots themselves delivered Jeff Awards to recipients in two categories. The team of robot artists included Glen Aduikas, Rick Buesing, Mike Fletcher, Salvador Garcia, Stuart Hecht, David Hyman, Terry Jackson, Don Kerste, Bruce Phillips, Al Schilling, Lisi Stoessel, and Eddy Wright. Alas, we do not know the names of the robots, although we gave one of them our phone number. It hasn't called . . . so far.</p><p>One noticeable void this year was that no Special Honors Jeffs were awarded. Typically, one or two Special Honors are given to individuals who have made substantial contributions to the theater community over an extended period of time, perhaps a teacher, a producer or--gasp!--even a theater critic on occasion. It seems to us that Chicago's theater industry has no shortage of worthy possible recipients, and if the Jeff folks couldn't find one this year, they must not have been trying very hard.</p><p>The 50-member <strong>Joseph Jefferson Awards Committee</strong> was founded in 1968 to honor excellence in Chicago-area professional theater. Each fall, the Committee honors productions of the previous 12 months staged by theaters working under contracts with Actors Equity Association, the union of professional actors and stage manager. Since 1973, the Jeff Committee also has presented annual springtime honors to non-union theaters. For this year's non-Equity Jeffs, the Committee members judged 146 productions by 62 producing organizations. The 2011 Equity Jeff Awards will be presented November 7 at Drury Lane Oakbrook Theatre in Oakbrook Terrace. The public is invited to the black tie optional awards show.</p></p> Tue, 07 Jun 2011 14:25:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-06-07/robots-invade-jeff-awards-martians-next-87512 Chicago connections in Big Apple Obie Awards http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-05-17/chicago-connections-big-apple-obie-awards-86648 <p><p>There were several Chicago connections in New York Monday night when the 56th annual Obie Awards were handed out, honoring work in Off-Broadway theater.</p><p><em>The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity</em> by Kristofer Diaz received the Obie for Best New American Play (and Diaz picked up $1,000). This is the play developed jointly by <strong>Victory Gardens Theater</strong> and <strong>Teatro Vista</strong> and seen Off-Broadway in a transfer of the Chicago production.</p><p>It's ironic that the play was short-listed for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama but did not win, and also was among the finalists for the rich ($25,000) Steinberg/American Theatre Critics Association New Play Award, and did not win. What's wrong with the Pulitzer folks and the critics?</p><p>Several members of the Steppenwolf Theatre Company ensemble also picked up Obies for their work Off-Broadway, although not in Steppenwolf endeavors.</p><p><strong>Austin Pendleton</strong> was honored for directing Chekhov's <em>Three Sisters</em> at Classic Stage Company, and founding ensemble member <strong>Laurie Metcalf</strong> took home an Obie Award for her work in <em>The Other Place</em> at the Manhattan Class Company.</p><p>Also, the political refugee <strong>Belarus Free Theatre</strong>, which was in residence in Chicago during the winter and is due to return this summer, received the Ross Wetzsteon Award and a $1,000 check.</p><p>The late Wetzsteon was distinguished critic long affiliated with The Village Voice weekly newspaper, the sponsor of the Obie Awards.</p><p>Finally, the chair of the six-person Obie judging committee was (once again) Village Voice chief theatre critic <strong>Michael Feingold</strong>, who was born-and-raised in Chicago and suburbs, and is a graduate of Highland Park High School.</p><p>Presenters for the Obies included Alec Baldwin, Liev Schreiber, John Larroquette, David Hyde Pierce and Anthony Rapp (from Glenview, another local connection) among others.</p></p> Tue, 17 May 2011 15:24:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-05-17/chicago-connections-big-apple-obie-awards-86648 Lookingglass Theatre Company snags 2011 Tony Award http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-05-03/lookingglass-theatre-company-snags-2011-tony-award-85992 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-May/2011-05-03/looking glass.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago's Lookingglass Theatre Company has won the 2011 Tony Award for Excellence in Regional Theatre, making it the fifth Chicago Off-Loop troupe to win the coveted award.</p><p>The announcement was made Tuesday morning (May 3) in New York City by the American Theatre Wing and the League of American Theaters and Producers, the joint bestowers of American theater's highest honor.</p><p>The award acknowledges the dedication of Lookingglass to a common theatrical vision of strong storytelling, physical theatre, literary pedigree and collaborative process.</p><p>The majority of Tony Awards celebrate the successes of individual Broadway-generated commercial theater productions, but the Regional Theatre Tony Award is reserved for a deserving non-profit company outside New York.</p><p>The Lookingglass win convincingly cements Chicago's global reputation as America's finest theater town. No other city comes close to five Tony Awards for Regional Theatre. Previous Chicago winners include Steppenwolf Theatre Company (1985), the Goodman Theatre (1992), Victory Gardens Theater (2001) and Chicago Shakespeare Theater (2008).</p><p>Lookingglass began life in 1988 as a small ensemble of Northwestern University theater graduates. Since then, the company has expanded to 22 ensemble members and 15 affiliates among whom are company co-founder David Schwimmer and Tony Award winning director/adapter Mary Zimmerman.</p><p>For its stories Lookingglass frequently has drawn on classical literature such as Greek, Persian and Hindu legends (<em>Hephaestus</em>, <em>The Odyssey</em>, <em>The Arabian Nights</em>, <em>Sita Ram</em>), Charles Dickens (<em>Hard Times</em>, <em>The Old Curiosity Shop</em>) and Russian author Feodor Dostoyevsky (<em>The Idiot</em>, <em>The Brothers Karamazov</em>).</p><p>The company also has approached modern authors such as Chicago icons Nelson Algren (<em>For Keeps and a Single Day</em>) and Studs Terkel (<em>Race</em>), and Upton Sinclair (<em>The Jungle</em>, in which the young actors hung themselves upside down on meat hooks as sides of beef). The variety of source material was as astonishing as the troupe's physical feats.</p><p>In 2003, Lookingglass moved into a permanent home in Chicago's historic Water Tower Pumping Station on Michigan Avenue, with the support of the State of Illinois and the City of Chicago.</p><p>The state-of-the-art, 240-seat flexible space has been used in arena, three-quarter, proscenium, alley and L-shaped configurations with equal success.</p><p>Fully rigged and trapped, the house can accommodate any of the frequent physical staging requirements of this daring troupe, several of whose current members/associates are professionally-trained circus performers.</p><p>To date, Lookingglass has produced 50 world premieres and received 42 Joseph Jefferson Awards or Citations. With an annual budget approaching $5 million, the company is under the leadership of executive director Rachel E. Kraft, artistic director Andrew White, producing artistic director Philip R. Smith and artistic director of new work Heidi Stillman. White, Smith and Stillman are company co-founders.</p><p>The company name derives from Lewis Carroll's <em>Through the Lookingglass</em>, which the founding members first developed as a stage work (<em>Lookingglass Alice</em>) when they were at Northwestern. Over the years they have enlarged and deepened their signature work, taking it on tour around the country.</p><p>Indeed, Lookingglass unknowingly helped secure its Tony Award through its frequent tours to other regional theaters around the country, thereby giving theater critics across America an opportunity to become familiar with the company's work.</p><p>The Tony Award for Regional Theatre is determined by a recommendation from the American Theatre Critics Association, which generates and votes upon a list of potential winners.</p><p>The Critics' recommendation is passed along to the American Theatre Wing and the League of American Theaters and Producers, which may accept or reject it (although in more than 30 years, the Tony Awards have not rejected a recommendation).</p><p>Typically, the initial recommendation of a theater company is written and organized by local critics. Currently, Illinois has 14 members of the American Theatre Critics Association, this writer among them (as well as Kelly Kleiman, my Dueling Critics colleague on Chicago Public Media).</p><p>Lookingglass will receive its Tony Award during live ceremonies Sunday, June 12, from the Beacon Theatre in New York, telecast on CBS.</p><p>The troupe recently closed a world premiere adaptation of Edith Wharton's <em>Ethan Frome</em>.</p><p>Its next production is another world premiere, <em>The Last Act of Lilka Kadison</em>, an ensemble-generated work about a World War II refugee. It begins previews June 1 and runs June 11 -July 24.</p></p> Tue, 03 May 2011 12:08:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-05-03/lookingglass-theatre-company-snags-2011-tony-award-85992 Awards season getting out of hand; Beards grasping for share of attention http://www.wbez.org/blog/steve-dolinsky/2011-02-21/awards-season-getting-out-hand-beards-grasping-share-attention-82584 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/beard-medal.-blog-large.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img width="427" height="318" alt="" title="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-February/2011-02-19/beard-medal.-blog-large.jpg" /></p><p>Last week, the James Beard Foundation announced its list of &quot;<a href="http://www.jamesbeard.org/blog/index.php/2011/02/awards-watch-2011-restaurant-and-chef-awards-semifinalists/">semi-finalists</a>&quot; for the exhaustive, annual list of chef and industry awards. Routinely called the &quot;Oscars&quot; of the food world, the Foundation began handing out awards in 1990. But curiously, it only started announcing these &quot;semi-finalists&quot; last year. Usually, the chefs and restaurateurs have to wait along with the cookbook authors and journalists - until March 21 - when the nominations come out. Not surprisingly, the food media/blogger/Twitter universe has picked up on this premature news, and blasted it around the internet as if it matters. It doesn't.</p><p>Why has the Foundation decided to get the ball rolling in mid-February? Maybe it's because we're approaching FAF (Food Award Fatigue). It's hard enough to compete with the movie industry's Golden Globes, People's Choice, SAGs and the Oscars this time of year (none of which, by the way, release a list of &quot;semi-finalists&quot; ahead of the regular nomination announcement). But when you throw in all of the regional and local <em>food</em> awards that have sprung up over the last few years, maybe the folks who put on the Beard Awards feel like they're in danger of getting drowned out, and God forbid, becoming irrelevant. Am I overreacting? Consider the local food/chef awards in Chicago now up for grabs: Time Out's Eat Out Awards (presented at a gala at the MCA last year), the Jean Banchet Awards (presented at the black tie Grand Chefs Gala at the Fairmont two weeks ago), the Good Eating Awards, the Eater Awards; not to mention similar recognition by editors or readers in The Reader, New City and Chicago Magazine. On the national level, Bon Appetit has its own awards event, as does Food &amp; Wine - although now, in addition to the &quot;Best New Chefs&quot; announcement in April, it was just announced there's going to be a &quot;People's Best New Chef&quot; competition (thank goodness, it's just not fair the professionals have all of the fun in voting, those Yelpers should have a say too!) Oh, and then there's the &quot;World's 50 Best Restaurants&quot; Awards announced in London in mid-April (full disclosure: I'm the Regional Academy Chair for the mid-USA/Canada).</p><p>I'm guessing the Beard folks realized that their event might be getting drowned out by all of these annual accolades within the industry. That would be unfortunate, because for more than 20 years, the Beards have remained above the fray, even through the embarrassing scandal in 2004 that put then-President Len Pickell in jail for grand larceny and forced the resignation of the Board of Directors. By releasing this list in mid-February, it dilutes the brand - and the impact of the nominations - taking much of the excitement away from the highly-anticipated nominee announcements on March 21. I've got a few of those medallions at home, and I still remember the giddy thrill of hearing my name called the third week of March, along with the other nominees, knowing that I would be in New York City the first weekend of May for the Gala. The truly unfortunate result of this premature &quot;rough&quot; list is that many chefs and restaurateurs will feel like they've lost something on that day, when they never should have gotten their hopes up in the first place.</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 21 Feb 2011 12:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/steve-dolinsky/2011-02-21/awards-season-getting-out-hand-beards-grasping-share-attention-82584