The Iveys 2015

The Ivey Awards. Photo by Pamela Dietrich.

The Ivey Awards. Photo by Pamela Dietrich.

Replete with glitz, red carpet photographers, and television coverage (the awards will air locally Sunday, September 27, from 7-9 pm CDT on the CW), the Ivey Awards are a yearly opportunity to celebrate and revel in the immense talent and devotion of the many artists that make great theater happen throughout the Twin Cities. It is an event that feels both reverential and distinctly homegrown. There is a sense that attendees and participating artists are not there simply in the hopes that they receive recognition, but to feel and share the love of their many collaborators and fellow local artists. The Twin Cities, despite having more theater seats per capita than any city outside of New York, boasts a uniquely supportive and encouraging theater community.

This was instilled with eloquence by Lifetime Achievement Award winner Joe Dowling, a man whose impact on Minnesota theater through his work as Artistic Director of The Guthrie is unmatched in recent history, when he said, “We found (in the Twin Cities) a willingness to absorb and welcome newcomers. … At heart, you remember who it is you are doing (theater) for: audiences of today and tomorrow.”

Indeed, the night was filled with glimpses of what promises to be an exciting future for Twin Cities audiences, capped off with recognition for the prolific work of Emerging Artist Award winner Mikell Sapp, who was also honored as a part of the ensemble cast of Pillsbury House Theater’s Marcus; Or the Secret of Sweet.

The show itself was everything you would expect from an awards show, which was filled to the brim with musical numbers from the past year’s standout productions, cheeky monologues and in-jokes from affable hosts Christina Baldwin and Regina Marie Williams, powerful dramatic excerpts, and a nifty bit of parody to call out the show’s sponsors. Plus, of course, several fun and occasionally moving acceptance speeches, including a shout-out to Minneapolis from NYC native and Ivey winner Steve Tyler (for Music Direction of the Ordway’s Pirates of Penzance), who said “you have such talent here what an amazing city!” as well as from the Walking Shadow representatives, who thanked the stage managers and proclaimed “stage managers never get enough shout outs.”

All in all it was an enjoyable evening, even if many of the presenters were higher ups from said sponsors who painfully lacked the stage presence of the performers with whom they shared the stage. God bless ‘em, they tried.

Awards Given

Productions Recognized

Gabriel (Walking Shadow Theatre Company) – Overall Excellence – HWTS’s Review

Nothing is Something (Open Eye Figure Theatre) – Overall Excellence

Crime and Punishment (Live Action Set) – Production Design

Individual Recognition

Brian Sostek and Megan McClellan – Choreographers & Playwrights: Trick Boxing (Park Square Theatre)

Peter Rothstein – Director: Romeo & Juliet (Ten Thousand Things Theater Company) – HWTS’s Review said “But under Peter Rothstein’s sensitive direction, I saw things I’d never seen before: the playful teenager quality of the balcony scene, the artifice of Lady Capulet, Friar Lawrence’s quick mind and deep understanding of the larger picture, more possibilities for comic relief in the servant roles.”

Claudia Wilkens and Barbara Kingsley – Actors: Gertrude Stein and A Companion (Jungle Theater) – HWTS’s Review said “Wilkens and Kingsley have the above qualities, in spades, and together they make Gertrude Stein And A Companion a joy.”

Mathew LeFebvre – Costume Designer: The Mystery of Irma Vep (Jungle Theater) and

A Christmas Carol 2014 (Guthrie Theater)

Shá Cage – Actor: Grounded (Frank Theatre) – HWTS’s Review said: “Cage is beautiful in this one woman performance: her immaculate flight suit, her shiny boots, her ramrod straight posture, her perfect military bearing, and always a bare hint of euphoria playing at the corner of her mouth.”

Joko Sutrisno – Music Director: Prince Rama’s Journey (Green T Productions)

Steve Tyler – Music Director: The Pirates of Penzance (Ordway Center for the Performing Arts) HWTS’s Review said “Tyler made sure the music is tight and unflacid.”

Ensemble – Actors: Marcus; or the Secret of Sweet (Pillsbury House Theatre) HWTS’s Review said “Marcus; Or The Secret Of Sweet is a delirious brew, beautifully acted.”

How Was the Show for You?

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