By Hoo Sook Hwang
MINNEAPOLIS (Sept. 23, 2015) — The 10th Annual Ivey Awards held at the Historic State Theater in Minneapolis on Monday, was an evening set aside to pay tribute to amazing artists whose contributions have made a permanent and positive mark on ticket holders.
The Twin Cities theater community saluted theater icon Joe Dowling (Lifetime Achievement Award) and (Emerging Artist) Mikell Sapp. Multitalented actors, actresses and talent behind the scenes were honored for their important and amazing accomplishments both on and off stage.
Co-hosts Regina Marie Williams and Christina Baldwin were a smashing hit from beginning to end! Together, they stole the show with their wit, hilarity and synchronized fusion of extraordinary musical talents. Unlike Hollywood’s Oscar and Emmy Awards, the night of theatrical recognitions embraced issues regarding racial diversity, social justice and pay equity among female/male actors. At the same time, The Ivey Awards honored incredible performances and shows, which manifested important stories that brilliantly addressed a broad range of human rights issues.
The 2015 Ivey Award Winners are:
• Gabriel — for Overall Excellence (Walking Shadow Theater Company),
• Nothing is Something — for Overall Excellence (Open Eye Figure Theater),
• Crime and Punishment — for Production Design (Live Action Set),
• Brian Sosten and Megan McLlellan — for Choreography and Playwriting in Trick Boxing (Park Square Theater),
• Peter Rothstein for Directing Romeo and Juliet (Ten Thousand Things Theater Company),
• Claudia Wilkens and Barbara Kingsley — for Acting in Gertrude Stein and a Companion (Jungle Theater),
• Matthew LeFebvre — for Costume Design in The Mystery of Irma Vep (Jungle Theater) and A Christmas Carol (Guthrie Theater),
• Sha Cage for Acting in Grounded (Frank Theater),
• Joko Sutrisno — for Music Direction in Prince Rama’s Journey (Green T Productions),
• Steve Tyler for Music Direction in Pirates of Penzance (Ordway Center for Performing Arts),
• The Cast of Marcus for The Secret of Sweet (Pillsbury House Theater),
• Mikell Sapp for Emerging Artist,
• Joe Dowling — for Lifetime Achievement Award (Guthrie Theater).
While those honored are truly worthy of each award, theater talent encapsulated in the Twin Cities is numerous and cannot adequately be captured in a short review.
On stage, Mixed Blood Theater performed an excerpt from Colossal. The Children’s Theater Company captivated the audience with, “I Won’t Give Up,” from Peter Pan and a passionate excerpt from Thurgood (Marshall) launched messages of hope. The talent mesmerized me and took me to emotional places of deep reflection to the innocence of childlike humor.
Whether it was Penumbra Theater’s compelling scene from Detroit 67’ or Chanhassen’s Dinner Theater’s Mary Poppins rendition of, “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” it reflected that performing arts is alive and growing exponentially in the Twin Cities. Finally, performers from 7th House Theater, History Theater, Frank Theater and Illusion Theater came together to perform ongoing creative work, which reminded me that creativity is expansive and unimaginably limitless.
Congratulations to all of the award recipients and countless people who put the Ivey Awards together. Witnessing the professional talent reignited a spark inside of me that hopes to learn more about the broad range of diverse theater communities out there.
I left feeling hopeful and curious about what’s coming up in 2016. If you would like to see the Ivey Awards (2015) it will be broadcasted on CW23, Sunday evening from 7 to 9 p.m. It’s two hours that will likely grow your desire to reserve a ticket at a local theater that you may not be aware of yet.
Monday night’s Ivey Awards reminded me of a quote by a famous playwright, Lillian Hellman (1905-1984), “People change and forget to tell each other.” Theater tells the stories that we do not always have the courage or wisdom to tell each other or ourselves. I grew Monday night as a result of attending this talent filled production.