Best Actress, Reader's Choice: Amy Morton (in August: Osage County)
Martha Lavey, Amy Morton, Rondi Reed, and Deanna Dunagan (tie)
A major reason for Steppenwolf Theatre’s continued success—including the recent Broadway triumph of August: Osage County—is the work of ensemble members Martha Lavey, Amy Morton, and Rondi Reed and frequent guest artist Deanna Dunagan. These superb performers have been offering intelligent, compelling portrayals of complex characters on local stages for decades. Reed and Morton have also made their mark as directors; Lavey, Steppenwolf’s artistic director since 1995, has done an extraordinary job of steering the company—once the epitome of bad-boy rock ’n’ roll theater—to new standards of artistic maturity while expanding the troupe’s diversity and relevance to younger artists and audiences. The three of them and Dunagan exemplify the artistry and commitment of a number of actresses whose steady growth has mirrored the ripening of the off-Loop movement. I’ve given both positive and negative reviews to their work over the years, and why not? Their careers embody the freedom to experiment—the right to fail as well as succeed—that defines Chicago theater. Amy Morton directs Dublin Carol Thu 11/13-Sun 12/21, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, upstairs theater, 1650 N. Halsted, 312-335-1650, $50-$70, tickets go on sale Thu 9/25. —Albert Williams
Meghan Shea, Organic Theater Company
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