Actor Jeremy Trager '98 Wins Jeff Award
Author: Sarah Sherman
Actor Jeremy Trager ’98 was recognized for his outstanding
achievement in Chicago’s diverse theatre scene at this year’s Jeff Awards ceremony for non-equity
theatrical productions. He received the 2007-2008 Jeff Award for Principal
Actor in a Musical for his role in Cabaret
with the Theo Ubique Theatre.
After graduating from Illinois Wesleyan as a Theatre Arts
major in 1998, Trager spent ten years working as an actor in Chicago and appeared in almost thirty full
productions, most of them musicals. He had the opportunity of working on
several shows by Stephen Sondheim, with one of his favorite roles being the
insane Giuseppe Zangara in Assasins.
Trager got the chance to work with fellow IWU alumni Bil
Ingraham ’95 and Sarah Hayes ‘96 in two separate productions with the highly
regarded Porchlight Music Theatre. The three alumni actors were featured in the
sold-out production of Sweeney Todd
and also Porchlight's critically acclaimed version of Ragtime, which transferred to the Apollo Theatre last year for an
Theo Ubique Theatre, the company Trager is most associated
with now, produces intimate musical productions in a café that has been
transformed into a theatre, with dinner served before the show by members of
the cast serving as waiters. It is also this company that produced the
successful Cabaret musical of which
Trager was co-producer and lead actor.
Besides Trager’s Jeff Award for Principal Actor, Cabaret also won Jeff Awards for Director
of a Musical, Actress in a Supporting Role, and Musical Direction.
“Personally, it means that all of the hard work and long
hours I've put in for a job that often pays very little has ‘paid off,’” Trager
says of his recent award. “I also feel like the Chicago theatre community has embraced me and
accepted me, which is indescribably empowering and rewarding.”
Of his time at IWU, Trager credits retired Professor
Emeritus of Theatre Dr. John Ficca for believing in his talent and providing
him with a push to take things more seriously. In addition to the learning
experiences on stage and in the classroom, Dr. Ficca also supervised a travel
course to New York City,
an experience that stayed with Trager as one of the highlights of his college
Jeremy Trager ’98 can be seen in Chicago this fall playing the role of Juan
Peron in Theo Ubique’s production of Evita.
Also winning a Jeff Award this year was recent Vocal
Performance major Elizabeth Lanza ’07, for Principal Actress in a Musical. Find
out more about Lanza by clicking here.