General 10-1-2007

A Tradition of Our Own: The Iveys

Jaime Kleiman joined the swirling festivities around the annual Ivey Awards last Monday--here's what it all looked like.

ivey honorees

The third annual Ivey Awards took place Monday night at the State Theatre in downtown Minneapolis. The awards ceremony went off without a hitch, with hosts Jeffrey Hatcher and James Williams providing relaxed, if teleprompted banter. Actress Greta Grosch provided some backstage faux-news-anchor coverage, while performers from Bedlam Theatre served as wigged-out paparazzi.

The opening sequence of the show included snippets from productions that played earlier this year, such as Bob Davis’s monologue from Torch Theater’s 1,000 Clowns and a scene from Walking Shadow Theatre Company’s Fat Pig. The overall effect was more theatrical than the previous years’ ceremonies—especially when the Ordway’s Rocky Horror Show cast flooded the stage in sequins, heels, and leather doing “The Time Warp.” (I’ll be dressing up to this one, thank you very much.) Brave New Workshop improv queen Lauren Anderson brought some much-needed manic energy to the affair with a karaoke version of “Frosty the Snowman.” The effervescent cast of the Children’s Theatre Company’s High School Musical performed the closing number.

Theatre Latte Da’s artistic director Peter Rothstein has been spreading his wings over the past year or so. He didn’t win any awards, but three shows that he directed did—High School Musical, Woman Before a Glass, and Private Lives. Perhaps next year Ivey voters will keep him in mind.

The recipients are as follows:

Choreographer Michael Matthew Farrell for his work on the Children’s Theatre Company’s High School Musical.

Actor Thomas W. Jones II for his riveting portrayal of multiple characters in Mixed Blood Theatre’s Yellowman.

Ordway Music Director Raymond Berg for his exceptional work on the musical Love, Janis.

Actor Edward Williams, Jr. for his understated performance in Minneapolis Music Theatre’s production of Kiss of the Spider Woman.

Sound designer Mike Hallenbeck was honored for his work on two Emigrant Theatre productions, Kid-Simple and Hunger.

Another notch on Mixed Blood’s belt: Messy Utopia’s five playwrights and multiple collaborators received recognition for their “intellectually rewarding, enlightening, and creative work.”

Sally Wingert received her statue for her portrayal of Peggy Guggenheim in Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company’s Woman Before a Glass.

The History Theatre’s Wellstone! received praise as well. Audiences loved actor Kris Nelson, who seemed to channel the politician while honoring his legacy.

Theatre de la Jeune Lune was lauded for its “musical ingenuity” for Don Juan Giovanni, an inventive mishmash of literary narrative and the genius of Mozart. The opera is currently playing at the American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Set designer John Arnone rightly deserved his Ivey for his work on the Guthrie’s Private Lives. His opulent set served as both French boudoir and wrestling ring.

The two biggies—the Emerging Artist Award and the Lifetime Achievement Award—went to set designer Kate Sutton-Johnson and the Guthrie’s Director of Education and Community Programs, Sheila Livingston, respectively. This is the first time the awards have been given to two women, as well as to non-Artistic Directors. The previous Lifetime Achievement recipients were Jack Reuler of Mixed Blood and Lou Bellamy of Penumbra Theatre. The Emerging Artists recognized in the past were Christiana Clark and Nathan Christopher.