The Iveys: A Super Casual Review for a Super Fancy Night of Theater

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#TeamBoxOffice at the Iveys. Kemi, Kendra, and I outside the State Theater. (Source: Kendra Plant)

Once a year, the Twin Cities theater community gathers together to celebrate the last year of theater and hand out awards for exemplary performances (ala the Tonys). This year was only my second year attending and I’m still in that stage of being a little star-struck and take aback by everything. I’m not really sure that I’ll grow out of this stage. I hope I don’t. Approaching the Iveys with excitement and awe makes it a little easier, I think, than if I’d let the ennui of sitting through an awards ceremony and collecting all the complaints I have about theater to brew in my mind. Not that I have ever done that during any kind of theater function).

Honestly, it’s hard not to be excited about the Iveys. After a year of reviewing and working on shows, it’s really wonderful to see them honored. And last night was a great night for theaters I work with – Guthrie Theater won for Trouble in Mind, a production that I was utterly blown away by (I still think about it. Good work, guys). History Theatre won for Glensheen, a show I saw twice and am still thoroughly impressed with for its wicked combination of humor and horror. Because I’ve worked with the History Theatre both in the box office and as a dramaturg, it’s nice to see them win. Theater Latte Da won for their scenic designer on Sweeney Todd, which was a very memorable, complex set (spoilers: I’m working box office there now so that’s a great way to kick off a new job). And it was wonderful to see snippets of Nina Simone (a show I love very, very dearly) as well as shows I’m still kicking myself for missing: Yellow Tree Theater’s Violet, Savage Umbrella’s June, Penumbra’s Sunset Baby, among others.

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Christina Ham, Kendra Plant of Artfully Engaging, and I at dinner before the Iveys. (Source: Kendra Plant)

And then there’s the people. I loved seeing Warren Bowles and Trevor Bowen win Iveys, seeing Joe Haj and Sarah Rasmussen have their theaters win being new artistic directors in town, having dinner with the Twin Cities Theater Bloggers and Christina Ham, and seeing those I know posting about their experiences online. I loved running into friends and people from past shows I’ve worked on. I loved being surrounded by people I’ve just met or have never met and seeing how alive and vibrant our theater community is. And on days when I feel a little less enthused about theater – in times of writer’s block, during long days in the box office, during tough rehearsals and tough moments in the theater world, it’s nice to know that theater can fill the joyful and friendly and interconnected. After attending last year and hardly knowing anyone and feeling a bit like a fish out of water, it’s incredible for me, a year later, to feel instead like it’s a little slice of home. So, see you next year and I look forward to all the new shows ahead we have to celebrate!

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