Oak Park Festival Theatre Artistic Director Jack Hickey and longtime Festival favorite and Artistic Associate actor/director Kevin Theis have both earned Equity nominations for the prestigious Joseph Jefferson Award for their performances in Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me directed by Artistic Associate Belinda Bremner.

Kevin Theis, who played Irishman Edward in Frank McGuiness’s gripping hostage, drama is nominated as Best Actor In A Principal Role- Play and Jack Hickey is nominated for Best Actor In A Supporting Role-Play for his work as Michael, the Englishman. These two Equity actors were joined by non-Equity actor Chris Rickett in the searing three man ensemble piece.

Festival Theatre Board President Brad Bartels says of this production: “Last year Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me set the artistic bar very high for all our subsequent productions. We believe we met those goals. We are so pleased that Kevin and Jack were recognized for their outstanding performances. They continue to be a vital part of the artistic bedrock of Oak Park Festival Theatre as we head into our 40th season.”

The winners will be announced at a ceremony at Drury Lane Oakbrook, Monday, November 4 at the 45th Annual Jeff Equity Awards honoring excellence in professional theatre.

This double Equity Nomination is a first for Oak Park Festival Theatre, which has earned only six other nominations since 1981. The last nomination was for Scenic Design for Bremner’s 2010 production of Of Mice and Men. Festival Theatre, which in 2014 will celebrate its 40th season, is Oak Park’s sole professional (AEA) theatre and the Midwest’s oldest professional (AEA) outdoor classical theatre.

There are two divisions of the Jefferson Awards: Equity (Actors’ Equity Association- the union of professional actors and stage managers) and non-Equity. During the 2012-13 Season, Jeff Awards judges attended opening nights of 143 Equity productions offered by 51 producing organizations.  From these openings, 109 productions were “Jeff Recommended” and eligible for award nominations, resulting in 166 nominations in 36 categories.

Desktop49When asked to comment on this honor Theis spoke with great generosity of the entire team : “I feel that this is as much a nomination for the ensemble of Someone as it is for me.  The play demanded that we live, breathe, cry and laugh as a cohesive band of brothers and it was only through the strength and generous talents of my cast mates and our trusting director that I was able to begin to do justice to this marvelous character.”

Jack Hickey, for ten years Artistic Director of Festival Theatre reflected: As much of a cliché as it sounds it is an honor just to be nominated. To be nominated for this role, in this very special play with my very good friend and cast mate Kevin Theis, and not even to be competing against each other, is like a dream come true. The fact that this play was recognized and these brutal, honest, joyful, tearful, performances would be recognized and honored, speaks to what a true collaboration this play was. This was a true ensemble with Chris Rickett making up the third part of this trinity of actors. We were blessed with  an incredible supportive, wonderful director, who kept us  honest above all.  This allowed us to go to this horrid/wondrous place every night, and made us sad to close to the play. My only small regret is my mom is not alive to know about this. My parents have been so supportive of my career my entire life that I would like to share this with them.”

Fans of both Jack hickey and Kevin Theis can see them as Watson and Holmes in Festival Theatre’s 1940’s radio drama production of The Hound of The Baskervilles September 20 and 22 at The Nineteenth Century Club.