Posted October 22, 2009
Fifth Annual Ivey Awards Salute Twin Cities Theatrical Excellence AEA Presents "Emerging Artist" Award To Emily Gunyou-Halass
Central RD Kathryn V. Lamkey and Outstanding Emerging Artist Emily Gunyou Halass
The theatrically savvy Twin Cities celebrated excellence at the fifth annual Ivey Awards, on Monday, September 21, 2009 with a black-tie gala at the historic State Theatre in downtown Minneapolis.
The red carpet was rolled out for the Twin Cities' theatrical community, which has over 500 Equity members and 17 Equity theatres. Following a video montage of memorable production from the past season, the Iveys began with a clever opening number about the challenges faced in "Recession" (sung to the tune of "Tradition"), with narrative by a Tevye-esque persona (AEA member Jay Albright) flanked by a group of Twin Cities singer/dancer/actors.
Diana Pierce; news anchor KARE 11, Dudley Riggs; founder of Dudley Riggs Comedy Troupe, Don Stolz; founder of Old Log & former Ivey Lifetime Award
Emcee duties were brilliantly performed by AEA members Claudia Wilkens and Richard Ooms, two of the Twin Cities' leading actors. This long-time married couple set the upbeat tone for the evening with witty banter, quipping in reference to the Guthrie's production of CAROLINE, OR CHANGE and the specially-commissioned INTELLIGENT HOMOSEXUAL'S GUIDE TO THE UNIVERSE that "2009 was the year when a playwright called Tony Kushner finally caught a break."
Unlike many awards ceremonies, the Ivey Awards are non-competitive and are given instead to "honorees." The names of the recipients are a well-guarded secret, adding a delightful surprise element to the gala. In a major theater community noted for risk-taking, emotionally and technically rewarding shows, the Iveys had a wealth of talent to applaud.
Erin McGonagle; actress and writer with Youth Performance Co. Ivey with Area Liaison Joey Babay
Presenting the Emerging Artist Award to Emily Gunyou-Halass, AEA Central Regional Director Kathryn V. Lamkey saluted the "artistry and dedication of the professional actors and stage managers who are the backbone of the Twin Cities theatre community," and the great work of AEA Area Liaison Committee Chair Joey Babay.
"I also want to recognize and celebrate our partnership with the 17 Equity theatres that provide stimulating, exciting work for the all theatre professionals in the Twin Cities," she added.
Jungle Theatre Associate A.D. Joel Sass, Ivey hosts Claudia Wilkens and Richard Ooms, CRD Kathryn V. Lamkey Ivey Lifetime Award
Ms. Halass, an amazingly versatile actress who appeared last season in Frank Theatre's "Vinegar Tom", in Mixed Blood Theatre's "1001", and in the Jungle Theater's "Shipwrecked" accepted her award and said: "I have never shaken so much as I did, holding my Ivey and trying to express my gratitude to my community for the award. The Twin Cities theater community is so vibrant and well supported that I have been able to make a self-sustainable career in such a short time. The Ivey's are not a popularity contest, but a celebration among peers. I am so proud to be a part of the Twin Cities theater community and it was such an honor to be recognized."
CTC actor Dean Holt, Managing Director Gabriella C. Calicchio, AEA staffer Laura Lamoueux and CRD Kathryn V. Lamkey
Veteran improv impresario Dudley Riggs was given a Lifetime Achievement award for 50 years of political and social satire at his Brave New Workshop. Comedic graduates include new Minnesota Senator Al Franken, whose video speech crediting Dudley Riggs got the biggest laugh of the night when Al wryly noted, "If not for you, I wouldn't be where I am today -- I'd be in my fourth term."
Interspersed with the presentations were select segments from stand-out shows of the past season, including Greta Ogelesby singing "Lot's Wife" from "Caroline or Change", Wendy Lehr and Christina Baldwin in a scene from The Ordway Center For the Performing Arts-Park Square Theatre production of "Grey Gardens"; Sonja Parks in an excerpt from "No Child" by Pillsbury House Theatre, "Rise of the Rest" by Interact Theatre, a medley from "Always...Patsy Cline" by Chanhassen Dinner Theatres, and an excerpt from "Asiamnesia" by Mu Performing Arts
Other Equity-affliliated Ivey Award Honorees included:
"Tyrone & Ralph" by the History Theatre
Luverne Seifert, Actor
Christina Baldwin and Jennifer Baldwin Peden, Actors
Greg Banks, Direction
Greta Oglesby, Actor
Sean Healey, Sound Design
Sonja Parks, Actor