Students, alumni win big at BroadwayWorld Awards



Columbia student Lauren Vogel and the cast of “All Our Tragic” won the award for “Best Ensemble (Resident)”

By Campus Reporter

Several theatre students and alumni have recently received professional accolades for work in various productions and ensembles that ran between November 2013 and October 2014.

Lauren Vogel, a senior theatre major, Jerome Riley, a junior theatre major, and alumni David Cromer, Christopher Jackson, Leah Morrow, Ryan Bourque, Lindsey Gavel and Daniel Martinez were honored Jan. 7 at the 2014 BroadwayWorld Chicago Awards.

Vogel was a member of The Hypocrites Theatre Company’s cast of “All Our Tragic,” a 12-hour play  combining 32 Greek tragedies into one performance. The production won four awards, including “Best Ensemble (Resident).”

“[The show] was without a doubt the greatest theatrical experience I’ve been a part of,” Vogel said. 

Vogel said she was excited when she learned about the cast’s win, and receiving this recognition has  given her more confidence as a performer.

“It’s nice to be reassured that what you’re doing is great and ultimately being great is all I really could ask for,” Vogel said. “I don’t really care about being famous. I just want to be great, and I think that this is just a nice reminder.”

Albert Williams, a senior lecturer in the Theatre Department, said he was particularly excited about Vogel’s win because the concept of ensemble acting—the idea of the actors working together as opposed to trying to upstage each other—is something the department tries to instill in all students. 

“[Vogel] has this great perspective [because] she’s still a student, but she’s also already working professionally, which in itself is a tricky thing,” Williams said.

Williams said students put a lot of hard work into these professional projects and he was thrilled for all the students and alumni who were recognized.

Jackson, who graduated in 2014 with a musical theatre degree, was in the cast of three award-winning shows, including Big Noise Theatre Company’s performance of “Ragtime,” which won “Best Revival of a Musical (Resident NonEquity),” Porchlight Music Theatre’s “Ain’t Misbehavin,’” which won “Best Revue (Resident)” and Bailiwick Chicago’s production of “The Wild Party,” which won “Best Choreography (Resident NonEquity).”

Having graduated last May, Jackson was working on two of the productions while still a student. He said he struggled to balance professional shows and schoolwork but gained from the experience.

“The companies that I worked for were very open and allowed me to grow as an artist,” Jackson said.

He said it was rewarding that his hard work paid off and will have positive effects on his career.

“I think it will make people look twice at my resume seeing that these productions were nominated for something,” Jackson said.

These accolades are also the only fan-voted theater awards in the city, according to Paul W. Thompson, regional editor of BroadwayWorld Chicago. 

Winning such awards by vote of the general public is a positive thing for young actors because so many of them have been in the same shows and played the same roles as their peers, Thompson said.

“How are you going to stand out at an audition when everybody’s played Sally Bowles in ‘Cabaret’?” Thompson said. “If you’re the one that won a BroadwayWorld Chicago Award for it, you will.”

Thompson, who makes the final decision on nominations, said the awards received a record number of votes this year—more than 1,000 nomination suggestions. 

“When thousands of people are voting and you come out on top, that’s not random,” he said.