Four friends emerged from a white SUV in matching outfits: black suits and floor-length gowns with gold brocades and metallic sequins. An Ivey Award-winning actress donned enormous eyeglasses embellished with cowrie shells. A young woman channeled old Hollywood with her curls and cleavage. A young man strutted by as if to model his floppy hair, bow tie and skinny jacket.

That was the scene outside the State Theatre in downtown Minneapolis on Monday night. The red carpet sights were so enticing that event organizers struggled to corral everyone inside for the 7:30 show.

With Minnesota actors turning out in their finest (or their flashiest), the Ivey Awards have a well-deserved reputation for people-watching. You know you’re in dramatic company — especially in Minneapolis, a city awash with neutrals — when you spot purple lipstick and attractive couples with asymmetrical haircuts. Cameras kept flashing. Friends kept huddling together for group selfies. More than one observer likened the Iveys to a high school prom.