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Saturday, September 24, 2011

The 2011 Ivey Awards - "In Praise of Twin Cities Theater"

The following is a guest article written by HowWasTheShow theater reviewer Janet Preus.

September 19, 2011 The 2011 Ivey Awards

by Janet Preus,

This is not a review of this year’s Ivey Awards show or even a recap. However, I will say that my partner and I (who is a musician, recording engineer and a tough critic) so completely enjoyed ourselves that I intend to gush about it. This event brings together the arts and entertainment community like no other—everyone, as they say, was there—the feeling of goodwill and camaraderie in the State Theater Monday evening was unmistakable and memorable.

This year the Iveys chose to highlight costumers and their work, which made for even more than the usual spectacle associated with this event, and those honored in every category clearly deserved recognition, which was especially satisfying. But more, it’s one heckuva show. I would say that it featured the very best that Twin Cities theater served up this last year, but honestly, they could have picked an entirely different group of shows and performers and still put on a dazzling show. The breadth and depth of talent in this town is simply staggering. I know this because I’ve been reviewing it for several years and I can’t possibly get to all the shows I’d like to see. It’s that good.

If I can encourage you in some way with this short article to see more live theater, that’s what I’d like to do. Every time you’re sitting on the fence about going out to see a play, I hope this pushes you off of it and sends you out the door. Maybe you’re not sure you’re going to like this play you’re considering. So what? Go! Then write the producing company afterwards and tell them what you did like, and tell them you’d like to see what they put up next time.

Maybe you’re afraid your companion won’t like it. So what? There will undoubtedly be something that you do like, so go! Nobody nails everything every time. This is live theater, not filmed perfection. That’s why it’s such a great shared experience. That vulnerability can’t be felt in front of a TV screen, or the larger screen, either. YOU are a part of this one and essential to the larger story.

Maybe you’re tired and just want to collapse in front of the tube and zone with something mindless. You’re allowed to do that once in a while, but not on a regular basis. While your brain is succumbing to mush, your friends in the theater are being taken to a new place, discovering a new perspective, connecting with a shared idea, laughing or crying, perhaps, getting annoyed, motivated, charmed or dismayed. But something is happening with them, and you can be a part of it.

You can find reviews of many shows right here – and not just the most high profile theaters. We cover a wide variety; the size of the theater or company does not determine our decision to review. We do this pretty much for one reason: we love theater.

Go see everything you possibly can in the coming season. Then go to the Ivey’s next September and you, too, will feel a part of the Twin Cities theater scene. It’s quite wonderful. Just go!

- Janet Preus