24th Annual Merritt Awards To Be Held May 13th @ Columbia College

The 24th Annual Merritt Awards for Excellence in Design and Collaboration will take place on Monday, May 13th, 2019 at Columbia College Chicago. 72 E. 11th Street, Chicago IL, 60605.  5:00pm-10:00pm  

Legendary Broadway and Theatre Lighting Designer Howell Binkley (Hamilton, In the Heights, Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of The Temptations, Come From Away, A Bronx Tale, After Midnight, How to Succeed…) will receive the 2019 Merritt Award. 

Lighting Designer Jason Lynch, Costume Shop Manager Heidi McMath, Costume Designer Birgit Rattenborg Wise, Costume Manager Jerica Hucke, will receive major awards in addition to student and exhibition prizes.
 
The Merritts are thrilled to return to Columbia College Chicago where the Merritt Awards began. This year’s event will be held in the newly renovated Getz Theatre Center, come enjoy its beautiful transformation.
 
The Michael Merritt Awards and Endowment Fund honors the memory of a brilliant designer and inspirational teacher. This national award, unique in its emphasis on excellence in both design and collaboration, has been presented annually since 1994 to outstanding professional theatrical designers. The Endowment Fund recognizes and encourages the work of young professionals and students through a national design exposition and prizes to promising theatrical design students.
 
The Merritt Awards thanks the theatre community for its ongoing support and Columbia College Chicago for hosting. We hope the theatre professionals, students and the public will join us for this exciting celebration of our collaborative art form.
 
Tickets
Student – $ 5.00
  
General Admission – $ 20.00
Book tickets online at merrittawards.com
General Public is welcome.  
Food, wine and beer are included in the ticket price.  Funds go to support the awards endowment fund.
 
Schedule:
THEATRE DESIGN EXPOSITION
5:00-7:00 p.m.
Showcasing the works of Chicago-area emerging theatrical designers and graduating design students from Chicago’s best theatrical design programs and attended by many of Chicago’s artistic directors, production managers, and industry professionals.
DIALOGUE WITH THE DESIGNERS
7:00-8:00 p.m.
A panel discussion featuring the award recipients exploring current issues of interest to theatre professionals and students.
AWARDS PRESENTATION AND CELEBRATION
8:15-8:45 p.m.
Presentation of prizes for best student and professional exhibits, four academic prizes, The Emerging Technical Collaborator Award, The Michael Maggio Emerging Designer Award, The Robert Christen Award for Excellence in Technical Collaboration, and The Michael Merritt Award for Excellence in Design and Collaboration.  
 
Food, wine, beer and fellowship until 10:00 p.m.
 
The Michael Merritt Award for Excellence in Design and Collaboration
The Michael Merritt Award, a national award unique in its emphasis on excellence in both design and collaboration, is presented annually to professional theatrical designers. The award is given to a scenic, costume, lighting, sound, or other media designer.
 
26th Michael Merritt Award Annual Recipient
Howell Binkley, Lighting Designer
 
Howell Binkley(Lighting Design). Broadway Works Include: Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of The Temptations, Come From Away (2017 Tony nom.), A Bronx Tale, Hamilton (2016 Tony winner/2018 Olivier Award winner), After Midnight (2014 Tony nom.), How to Succeed… (2011 Tony nom.), West Side Story (2009 Tony nom.), In the Heights (2008 Tony nom.), Jersey Boys (2006 Tony winner), Avenue Q, Parade, Kiss of the Spider Woman (1993 Tony nom./Olivier and Dora Award Winner.)  Co-Founder/Resident Lighting Designer Parsons Dance.  2006 and 2016 Henry Hewes Design Awards for Jersey Boys and Hamilton.  
  
The Michael Maggio Emerging Designer Award
 
This award recognizes and supports the work of an outstanding emerging theatrical designer within the Chicago area. A $2000 honorarium is given annually to an emerging scenic, costume, lighting, sound, or other media designer in acknowledgment of excellence in artistry and collaboration.
  
Jason Lynch, Lighting Designer
 
Jason Lynch is a Chicago-based lighting designer for theatre, opera and dance. Credits include: Skeleton Crew (Alley Theatre); Fetch Clay, Make Man (Dallas Theater Center); Drag On, The Wild Party, A Doll’s House (upcoming), A Doll’s House, Part 2 (upcoming) (Denver Center for the Performing Arts); Lottery Day, The Interrogation of Sandra Bland, assistant designer on How to Catch Creation and An Enemy of the People (Goodman Theatre); associate designer, Guards at the Taj (Steppenwolf); assistant designer, Hamlet (Chicago Shakespeare Theater); A Home on the Lake (Piven Theatre Workshop/Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre); The Total Bent (Haven Theatre); Sickle (Red Theater Chicago); The Watsons Go to Birmingham-1963 (Chicago Children’s Theatre). Other: Master Electrician/Assistant Master Electrician, Santa Fe Opera; Assistant Lighting Director, The Dallas Opera; Lighting Supervisor, Dallas Children’s Theater. Jason is a proud member of The Association of Lighting Designers.
 
The Robert Christen Award for Excellence in Technical Collaboration
 
This award recognizes an outstanding technical professional whose career as a collaborator in the realization of theatrical design has been significant and sustained. Sponsored by Chicago Flyhouse.
 
Heidi McMath, Costume Shop Manager and
Rattenborg Wise, Costume Designer
 
Heidi McMath has been the costume shop manager at Goodman Theatre since 1990. Before working at the Goodman, she held the positions of head draper at Long Wharf Theatre and the Cleveland Play House, and was a milliner at American Players Theatre. In addition to managing the costume shop at the Goodman Theatre, she designs the costumes for the Goodman’s production of The Christmas Carol.
 
Birgit Rattenborg Wise, is a costume designer, draper and teacher.  She has worked with many of the countries leading theatres: New York Shakespeare, The Guthrie, The Old Globe, Steppenwolf. But, she calls Chicago and the Goodman her artistic home; the theatre where she has designed 36 productions and draped on hundreds of others in collaboration with many of the theatres’ leading and emerging designers, and a shop of the most talented costume technicians, all with the leadership of Heidi, as the shop manager. And, after draping on A Christmas Carol for at least 35 years; one would hope that she eventually finishes!
 
The Emerging Technical Collaborator Award
This award celebrates a passionate and skillful early career professional who goes about their work in a particularly collaborative manner. We know that it is hard to launch a career in this profession so we are thrilled that this award comes with a $2000 prize, supported by Chicago Flyhouse.
 
Jerica Hucke, Costume Shop Manager
 
Jerica Hucke is a Chicago area costume technician and manager. She graduated from Independence Community College in 2010 with an Associate’s degree in theatre, and in 2012 with a BA in Theatre Design from Columbia College Chicago. She has been the resident Costume Shop Manager at The House Theatre of Chicago since 2014 and considers it her artistic home, and has built, crafted, and shopped costumes all over the city for a myriad of theatre companies including: Court Theatre, Actor’s Gym, Lyric Opera, and now Joffrey Ballet. She has also branched into film, working as a stitcher on a feature and as a wardrobe stylist for commercial shoots. She is incredibly grateful that she gets to do this for a living.
 
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The Merritt Committee will award these four $2000 Academic Prizes to:
  
The John Murbach Columbia College Chicago Prize 
Dominique Zaragoza, Scenic Designer and Fabricator
 
The Theatre School at Depaul University Prize 
 Scott Tobin, Lighting Designer
 
The Loyola University Chicago Prize 
Lucy Whipp, Lighting Designer & Stage Manager
The Northwestern University Prize
Raquel Adorno, Costume Designer
 
University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) Prize
Emily Santiago, Wig and Makeup Designer
 
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At the Design Exposition on May 13th a panel of Chicago freelance Directors, Production Managers, and Artistic Directors will adjudicate the following exhibition prizes.
  
The Michael Philippi Prize for Best Exhibit: Professional Designer 
This year the prize is 1000.00 !
Emerging professional designers are encouraged to exhibit http://merrittawards.com/2019-event/exhibit-professional/
 
Sponsorships that cover admission, food, drink and parking are available for emerging exhibitor and emerging directors, producers and production managers  http://merrittawards.com/2019-event/attendance-sponsorships/
  
Prize for Best Exhibit: Student Designer 
This year the prize is 500.00 !
Student designers are encouraged to apply to errittawards.com/2019-event/exhibit-student/
Sponsorships that cover admission, food, and drink are available.