Hatcher receives Ivey Lifetime Achievement honor

Lifetime Achievement Award winner Jeffrey Hatcher.
Lifetime Achievement Award winner Jeffrey Hatcher.
Photos courtesy the Ivey Awards

Self deprecating as always, Jeffrey Hatcher thanked his wife Lisa Monday night at the Ivey Awards for her help in editing his plays.

That could mean a simple "No!" written in the margins or, if there is a line she doesn't like, "'Blah,' with a little yuck face," Hatcher says.

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Hatcher, the prolific playwright who has called Minnesota home since the late 1980s, earned the Lifetime Achievement Award in the ninth annual award ceremony. 

Hatcher's work includes Compleat Female Stage Beauty (the Walking Shadow Theatre Company production was honored with an Ivey in 2012), the film script for Casanova, and the recent Park Square Theatre hit Sherlock Holmes and the Suicide Club.

He has received 12 commissions for Illusion Theater, including the in-progress Jeffrey Hatcher's Hamlet, which recounts his first brush with theatrical fame: adapting, directing, and producing an hour-long version of Shakespeare while a fifth grader.

Ricardo Vazquez was named Ivey's Emerging Artist. Vazquez graduated from the University of Minnesota/Guthrie Theater BFA program, and has performed on many local stages, including Ten Thousand Things, Park Square, and Mixed Blood.

In fact, Vazquez thanked Mixed Blood's Jack Rueler for convincing him to stay in Minnesota to perform, direct, and write.

There were a dozen awards for productions produced between September 2012 and August of this year. There are no categories or lists of nominees. Instead, the kudos are chosen by the volunteers who attend each and every production from the 76 member theaters in the Twin Cities area.

Shanan Custer and Randy Reyes co-hosted the event, which moved along at a crisp pace, even with 14 awards, seven live performances, and several comedy sketches.

Two shows were honored for general excellence: Open Eye Figure Theatre's youth-aimed Milly & Tillie and the Jungle Theater's excellent 2012 "holiday" show In the Next Room, or the Vibrator Play.

Young audiences were the target of a double winner, as Peter Brosius took home an Ivey for directing If You Give a Mouse a Cookie at the Children's Theatre Company. Dean Holt was also honored for his acting in the show.

Two full ensembles took home Iveys: The cast of the Guthrie's Clybourne Park, and Shanan Custer (also the Ivey's co-host) and Carolyn Pool for Two Sugars, Room for Cream.

The Jungle earned another honor with Raymond Berg's musical direction of the recent hit Urinetown: The Musical. Michael Matthew Ferrell was honored for his choreography of Singin' in the Rain at the Bloomington Civic Theatre.

The folks at Freshwater Theatre Company were extremely excited with their playwrighting Ivey for Freshwater Theatre Goes Back to High School for creators Katherine Glover, Alissa M. Shellito, and Jeri Weiss.

Michael Croswell's essential sound design for Frank Theatre's Misterman (the show consisted of actor John Caltron interacting with taped conversations) got a well-deserved nod, as did the directing work of Peter Beard and James Napoleon Stone for Theatre Coup d'Etat's Hamlet.

Finally, Craig Johnson was honored for his performance of Oscar Wilde in Walking Shadow Theatre Company's Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde. It was a fitting honor, not only for Johnson's tremendous performance, but also as acknowledgment of the changes that have occurred in Minnesota in the last year. In fact, the evening's first standing ovation came at the top of the show, when the architects of marriage equality opened the event.

"It gets better, Oscar," Johnson said at the end of his acceptance speech.

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