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Best Theater Success Story 

David Cromer

“David Cromer has arrived,” declared a December 2000 Reader profile on the director, who was getting loads of critical love at the time for a series of hit local productions he’d staged. “Arrived” then meant he could quit his day job and “make theater a full-time profession.” Since then Cromer has arrived again, on a much grander scale, thanks to another series of hits, including a musical version of Elmer Rice’s The Adding Machine at Next Theatre and a reimagined Our Town with the Hypocrites. Both of those shows went to New York, earning Cromer prestigious awards, idolatrous press, and buzz enough to get him an assignment directing the Broadway revivals of Neil Simon’s Brighton Beach Memoirs and Broadway Bound.

The former flopped and the latter never even opened, but nobody seems to blame Cromer: he’ll be back on Broadway with a musical next season. In the meantime he’s directed a well-received show at Lincoln Center and a Chicago-area production of A Streetcar Named Desire that the Reader’s review called “masterful.” And Our Town is still running in New York. What’s delightful about all this is not just that it was achieved by force of talent, but that the talent in question is so unassuming. Like love in First Corinthians, Cromer’s productions are not puffed up but delight in the truth. Quietly, without undue affectation, they turn texts we think we know just enough so that we see them anew.

Critics' Picks

Best Dance Party

Chances Dances continue

Best Fashion Watching

School of the Art Institute, Columbia College continue

Best New Musical Group

Bin Laden Blowin' Up continue

Best Michael Jackson Cover

"Billie Jean" by Robbie Fulks continue

Best Mustache in a Local Band

Stavros "Steve" Giannopoulos of the Atlas Moth continue

Best Lawn Seat at Ravinia

Green Bay & Lake Cook 847-266-5100
The little hill that faces the main entrance to the Ravinia pavilion, Highland Park, Illinois continue

Best Microscene

No Coast Collective continue

Best Free Movie Series

Cinema/Chicago at the Chicago Cultural Center continue

Best Moonlighting Witch

Jackie Hoffman in Whining in the Windy City: Holiday Edition continue

Best Theatrical Hat Trick

Chris Sullivan in The Hairy Ape, The Mystery of Irma Vep, and The Illusion continue

Best New Play

Agon Trilogy continue

Best New Theatrical Form

One Thing, and Everything Else continue

Best Theater History Collection

Chicago Theater Collection at the Harold Washington Library Center continue

Best Puppeteer

Michael Montenegro continue

Best Place to See a Seven-Man Pyramid Cross the High Wire

Hephaestus: A Greek Mythology Circus Tale continue

Best Variety Show

Impress These Apes continue

Best Improv Group

Cook County Social Club continue

Best Stand-up Comedian

A tie between Beth Stelling and Junior Stopka continue

Best Sketch Show

The Best Church of God continue

Best Commentary on Modern Technology by a Choreographer

Julia Rhoads at Lucky Plush Productions continue

Best Under­appreciated Chicago Novel

Bertram Cope's Year by Henry Blake Fuller continue
(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)