Audiovisual designer John Boesche, lighting designer Allen Lee Hughes, and set designer Thomas Lynch have been selected as recipients of the fourth annual Michael Merritt Awards for Excellence in Design and Collaboration, which "honor the creative and collaborative spirit of contemporary designers for the visual arts in theatre and film."

The awards are sponsored by the Michael Merritt Endowment Fund, established in memory of the late Chicago designer and teacher, and co-sponsored by Columbia College Chicago, where Merritt taught. The endowment fund provides an annual scholarship to an outstanding Columbia College theatrical design student.

Thomas Lynch designed the Broadway productions of Having Our Say, The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, The Heidi Chronicles, Speed of Darkness, Tintypes, My Favorite Year, the Circle in the Square revivals of Arms and the Man and Design For Living, and, currently, The Young Man From Atlanta, which he also designed for the Goodman Theatre in Chicago.

John Boesche most recently designed the film and projected images for the new musical Ragtime. He designed live video projections for the premiere of John Adams' The Death of Klinghoffer, and projected scenery for Chicago Lyric Opera's The Voyage of Edgar Allan Poe. He designed projections for the Goodman's production of On the Open Road, Steppenwolf's Libra and Slaughterhouse Five, and the 50th anniversary production of The Glass Menagerie on Broadway at the Roundabout.

Allen Lee Hughes includes among his Broadway credits Having Our Say, Mule Bone, and Once on this Island, which earned him a third Tony nomination. His first Tony nomination was for K2, which won him an Outer Critics Circle Award. His work has been seen at major theatres through-out the country, including the Goodman, Seattle Rep, Hartford Stage, and the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, where he has received two Helen Hayes Awards. Hughes is an associate artist at Arena Stage, and has taught at New York and Catholic Universities.

The awards will be presented on April 28 at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago. Tickets for the panel and ceremony ($25, $10 for students) can be purchased by calling 312/663-1124.