Jeffrey Hatcher has written for stage, film and television in a long and distinguished career. Monday night, the Twin Cities theater community honored Hatcher for his work with the Lifetime Achievement honor at the ninth annual Ivey Awards in Minneapolis.
A native of Steubenville, Ohio, Hatcher has been working in the Twin Cities for more than 25 years. His plays have been produced on Broadway, off-Broadway and in dozens of regional theaters around the United States.
He wrote screenplays for “Stage Beauty” (based on his play), “Casanova” and “The Duchess.” Locally, Hatcher’s work has been seen at the Guthrie Theater, Park Square Theatre, Illusion Theater, Children’s Theatre Company and the History Theatre. This past summer, his “Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Suicide Club” became the second-highest grossing show ever at Park Square.
Hatcher scripted “Tuesdays with Morrie” with Mitch Albom, who wrote the bestselling book. He also wrote the book for the musical “Never Gonna Dance,” an homage to Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers that played briefly on Broadway. One of Hatcher’s most memorable works was “Tyrone and Ralph,” a two-man play about the founder of the Guthrie and the architect (Ralph Rapson) who tangled with him.
The other standing award for the Iveys, which had a full crowd Monday night at the State Theatre, is Emerging Artist. That prize went to Ricardo Vázquez, a graduate of the University of Minnesota/Guthrie Theater B.F.A. acting program. Vázquez has worked often at Mixed Blood, including last season’s “Next to Normal,” and has appeared with Alabama Shakespeare Festival and Hudson Valley Shakespeare.
The Iveys, hosted by actors Randy Reyes and Shanan Custer, honored two productions from the past year — fewer than in years past — but handed out more recognitions to individuals and ensembles.
Awards for overall excellence were given to the Jungle Theater’s production of “In the Next Room,” directed by Sarah Rasmussen and featuring actors John Middleton and Christina Baldwin, and Open Eye Figure Theatre’s “Mille & Tillie,” created by Liz Schachterle and Elise Langer, and directed by Jason Ballweber.
For individuals: Peter Beard and James Napoleon Stone received Iveys for directing “Hamlet” for Theater Coup d’Etat. Peter Brosius, artistic director at Children’s Theatre Company, was cited for his direction of “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.”
Raymond Berg was honored for his musical direction of “Urinetown: the Musical,” a smash at the Jungle this summer. Michael Croswell was recognized for his intricate sound design for Frank Theatre’s “Misterman.” Choreographer Michael Matthew Ferrell won for his work on “Singin’ in the Rain” at Bloomington Civic Theatre, and playwrights Katherine Glover, Alissa Shellito and Jeri Weiss were recognized for “Freshwater Theatre Goes Back to High School,” which was produced by that troupe.
Acting recognitions went to the ensembles of two productions: “Clybourne Park” at the Guthrie and “Two Sugars, Room for Cream” at the Hennepin Theatre Trust.
Individual acting awards went to Craig Johnson in Walking Shadow’s “Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde” and for Dean Holt for “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.”
The Iveys are based on evaluations performed by more than 150 volunteers who watched more than 1,000 performances in the past year.