Last Monday the Twin Cities theater community gathered at the State Theater to celebrate the previous season at the Ivey Awards. This year was my first time attending and before going many people asked me..."but what are the Ivey Awards?" The simple answer is it is like the Tony Awards but for the Twin Cities. Like the Tony Awards there are performances from the past year's musicals and plays, everyone gets dressed up and there is a red carpet. But most of the similarities stop there. Because unlike most award shows there are no nominees and there are no set categories, with the exception of emerging artist and lifetime achievement. This year the emerging artist award went to costume designer Trevor Bowen whose work has been seen in theaters all across town. The lifetime achievement award went to went to a critic, Graydon Royce, who recently retired from the Star Tribute as an arts reporter. Because these were the only set categories all aspects of theater were able to be celebrated, from technical design, to ensemble work, to individual artists. And these awards are not picked by some sort of elite academy but by "150 volunteer theater evaluators who saw more than 1,200 performances created by 84 professional theaters in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul seven-country metropolitan area from September 2015-August 2016."
One thing that the Ivey's seem to be very good at pointing out is the extreme volume of theater in the Twin Cities. I averaged a little over 1 play a week last year and yet I saw less than half of the productions that were honored. I clearly have to do better next year. The Ivey's also show how welcoming the Twin Cities theater community is, and as a new blogger I can attest to that. Many of the honorees noted how thankful they were to being welcomed with open arms after coming to the Twin Cities.
If you weren't able to make it to the Ivey's this year and still want to see what it was all about, it will be broadcast along with pre show activities and behind the scenes interviews on 45TV on September 24th at 7pm, and on KSTP-TV at 1am on September 25th.
A full list of the winners in addition to the Emerging Artist and Lifetime Achievement are listed below:
- The Wizard of Oz (Children’s Theatre Company) – Overall Excellence
- Glensheen (History Theatre) – Overall Excellence
- Le Switch (Jungle Theater) – Overall Excellence
- Victor Zupanc – Sound Design and Music: Pinocchio (Children’s Theatre Company)
- Kevin Fanshaw and Charles Numrich – Acting: Equus (Theatre Coup d’Etat)
- Warren C. Bowles – Direction: The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife (Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company)
- Kate Sutton-Johnson – Set Design: Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (Theater Latté Da)
- Jasmine Hughes – Acting: Sunset Baby (Penumbra Theatre)
- Ensemble – Acting: Trouble in Mind (Guthrie Theater)
- Ensemble – Acting: Now or Later (New Epic Theater)