One thing can be said for sure about the Ivey Awards (our local version of the Tony Awards): They’re a lot more fun than the actual Tonys.
Now in its third year, the Ivey Awards celebrate achievements in local theater, and judging from last night’s gala at the State Theatre, the Twin Cities theater community is starting to get the hang of this celebration thing. For many, the evening began at a VIP pre-party at the Chambers Hotel, where free martinis were flowing like Budweiser, and the number of stiletto heels raised the collective height of the women by a good three or four inches.
Thus lubricated, the party then moved over to the State Theatre, where the award ceremonies turned into the sort of good-hearted orgy of self-congratulation that only theater people can do with a truly good heart. And an after-party at Mission Kitchen & Bar extended the festivities until midnight or so.
Not bad for a Monday night.
The congenial atmosphere of the Ivey Awards is aided considerably by the anti-competitive ethos of the event. There are no set categories such as “Best Actor,” and there are no nominees. You either get an Ivey or you don’t. If you don’t, the very least you get from the evening is a few hearty laughs and a slight hangover at work the next morning.
That said, here is a list of the last night’s Ivey Awards winners:
+ Michael Matthew Farrell, for his choreography in the Children Theatre Company’s production of High School Musical.
+ Thomas Jones II, for his multiple-role performance in Yellowman, at Mixed Blood Theatre.
+ Ed Williams Jr., for his outstanding performance as Molina in Minneapolis Musical Theatre’s production of Kiss of the Spider Woman.
+ Mike Hallenback, for sound engineering in Emigrant Theatre’s productions of Kid Simple and Hunger.
+ Mixed Blood Theatre, for conceptual creativity and originality in its production Messy Utopia.
+ Sally Wingert, for her standout performance as Peggy Guggenheim in Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company’s one-woman production, Woman Before A Glass.
+ Theatre de la Jeune Lune, for the company’s skill in handling multiple musical scores in Don Juan Giovanni.
+ John Arnone, for set design in the Guthrie Theater’s Private Lives.
+ Chris Nelson, for his eerily accurate performance as the late senator Paul Wellstone in Wellstone, at the History Theatre.
+ Love, Janis at the Ordway, for music by bandleader Raymond Berg and musical direction by Barbara Brooks.
+ The Emerging Artist award went to set designer Kate Sutton-Johnson.
+ The Lifetime Achievement Award went to Sheila Livingston, the Guthrie Theater’s Director of Education and Community Programs for the past thirty years.