The Ivey Awards, which takes place on the last Monday of each September, is a very special event in the Twin Cities Theater Community. It feels much more like a celebration of the community than an award ceremony. There is no sense of competition as there are no nominees, just an outpouring of love for the Ivey honorees and the community in general. There are also no set categories for the awards except for Emerging Artist and Lifetime Achievement. Almost as much time is given to excerpts from shows in the past year than to the awards, making for a very balanced night. This year the Ivey Awards saw performances from Chanhassen Dinner Theater’s Grease, Theater Mu's Flower Drum Song, Frank Theater’s Citizen, Daleko Art’s The Rink, Mixed Blood’s Vietgone, The Jungle Theater’s Fly by Night and Stage Theater’s Company Stone Soup. These performances are a great way to remember the shows that I loved from the past year, and remind me just how big the Twin Cities Theater Community is, and get motivated to see work from different theater companies in the upcoming season.
The awards serve much the same purpose. This year the awards were:
Ensemble of Vietgone, by Qui Nguyen, at the Mixed Blood Theater – Sun Mee Chomet, David Huynh, Meghan Kreidler, Flordelino Lagundino and Sherwin Resurreccion
Production Design and Execution for the creative team of Six Degrees of Separation by John Guare at Theater Latte Da – Abbee Warmboe, Barry Browning, Sean Healey, Kate Sutton Johnson, Bethany Reinfeld and Alice Friedrickson.
Concept and Execution to Safe at Home by Gabriel Greene and Alex Levy at Mixed Blood Theater
Outstanding Performance to Nilaja Sun for Pike St by Nilaja Sun at Pillsbury House and Theater
Outstanding Direction to Noel Raymond for The Children by Michael Elyanow at Pillsbury House and Theater
Emotional Impact to Wit by Margaret Edson Artistry
Outstanding Performance to Steven Epp for Fiddler on the Roof by Jerry Bock, Sheldon Harnick and Joseph Stein and Ten Thousand Things
Outstanding Duo to Sun Mee Chomet and Sherwin Resurreccion for The Two Kids That Blow Shit Up by Carla Ching at Mu Performing Arts
Overall Excellence to Ragtime by Terrence McNally, Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens at Theater Latte Da
Emerging Artist to Meghan Kreidler
Lifetime Achievement to Michelle Hensley
I was thrilled by all of these winners, but I was particularly thrilled by the choice of Emerging Artist and Lifetime Achievement. Meghan Kreidler isn’t new to the Twin Cities Theater Scene, she has been working for the past 3-4 years but the work that I’ve seen her done in the past year has been phenomenal. Michelle Hensley has been revolutionary with the work that she has done with Ten Thousand Things, redefining what the goals of theater can and should be, how it can be performed and what audiences one should target. She is deserving of all of the accolades, and as she retires I was so happy to see her honored in this way.
The 2017 Ivey Awards was a great one, and yet another reminder of the gem that we have here in the Twin Cities with the theater community.