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Wildcats bring home the Jeffs

Several Northwestern School of Communication alumni, three faculty members and a current student were among the winners at the 41st annual Joseph Jefferson Equity Awards held Oct. 19 as the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie.

Alex Weisman with trophy from Jeff Awards
Alex Weisman, senior theatre major.
Photo by Johnny Knight Photo

Senior theatre major Alex Weisman won for actor in a supporting role in a play for his part in The History Boys by TimeLine Theatre Company.

The play also won a Jeff Award for best ensemble, of which Weisman and alumnus Govind Kumar (C08) were a part.

"It was a tremendous honor to be recognized, especially when I still have so much to learn," Weisman said. "I couldn't have done it without the support of all of my friends, and especially my acting teacher, Gail Shapiro, and my voice teacher, Melissa Foster."

Theatre department chair Rives Collins called this year's awards "particularly thrilling" with so many winners coming from the Northwestern family. In fact, Weisman wasn't the only current Northwestern student up for a Jeff this year. Jake Cohen was nominated for his supporting role in Up at the Steppenwolf Theatre.

"Northwestern is intricately entwined with the very best of Chicago theatre, and never is this more apparent than on the evening of the Joseph Jefferson Awards," Collins said. "Considered 'Chicago's Tonys,' these prestigious awards are presented annually to celebrate the highest degree of excellence in all aspects of the theatre."

Faculty member David H. Bell won for choreography for The Boys from Syracuse produced by Drury Lane Oakbrook, and adjunct faculty member Joshua Horvath won alongside Ray Nardelli for sound design in a large production for Miss Saigon by Drury Lane Oakbrook.

Bell topped the individual nominees with four nominations: for new adaptation of a musical with The Boys from Syracuse and The Bowery Boys and both director of a musical and choreographer for The Boys from Syracuse.

"I was very happy to receive the nominations and the award," Bell said. "It is a really humbling thing to feel acknowledged by Chicago theatre artists and feel like an integral part of this wonderful community."

Other Northwestern alumni Jeff Award recipients for 2009 included Spencer Kayden (C90) for actress in a supporting role (play) for Don't Dress for Dinner at The British Stage Company and Mara Blumenfeld (C92) for costume design of The Arabian Nights at the Lookingglass Theatre. Doug Peck (WCAS03) won for music direction of Caroline, or Change at Court Theatre.

See the complete list of winners External link icon.

See the complete list of nominees External link icon.