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'Hank Williams: Lost Highway,' 'Brigadoon,' 'Ain't Misbehavin' Each Win Three Jeff Awards in Chicago

By Jon Sobel j.sobel@classicalite.com on Oct 15, 2014 02:39 PM EDT

Three musicals that celebrated or hailed from times past won big this week at the 2014 Jeff Awards celebrating the best in Chicago theater.

Hank Williams: Lost Highway, a jukebox musical that follows the country music icon's rise from humble beginnings to record deals and triumphs on the Grand Ole Opry before his sad early self-destruction, features more than 20 of Williams's hits. It was recognized as the best production in the midsize musical category, its star Matthew Brumlow won Best Actor in a Principal Role in the musicals category, and Malcolm Ruhl won for music direction.

American Blues Theater's Grounded, George Brant's solo play about a female F-16 fighter pilot, also won two Jeff Awards, one for star Gwendolyn Whiteside for Solo Performance and another for Lindsay Jones for Sound Design. Combined, the two shows add five to the more than 131 Joseph Jefferson Awards American Blues Theater had already notched since its founding in 1985.

Two other musicals won three awards each. Goodman Theatre's revival of Brigadoon took the award for best musical production in a large format, with costume designer Mara Blumenfeld and choreographer Rachel Rockwell also winning Jeff Awards. Porchlight Music Theatres Ain't Misbehavin', celebrating Fats Waller and other greats of the Harlem Renaissance, was named the best revue, with awards also going to director Brenda Didier and pianist and conductor Austin Cook.

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TagsMusical, musical theater, Hank Williams, Lost Highway, American Blues Theater, Goodman Theatre, Porchlight Music Theatre, Ain't Misbehavin', Brigadoon, Fats Waller, Jeff Award