The dance floor while Hipshaker plays.

When you throw a party with Tree Party and Hipshaker, you're pretty much guaranteed a good time. Thank you to these amazing artists for coming out to help the theater community celebrate.

We also have to thank Hennepin Theater Trust for donating 2 tickets to the upcoming tour of If/Then and the Southern Theater for donating two 2016 Memberships to ARTShare. Both of these prizes (worth more than $200 each) were raffled off to everyone who came to the party.

We also were able to create award packages (also worth almost $300 each--but who's counting?) for the 3 winners of our Unsung Heros of Minnesota Theater award. In addition to MinnesotaPlaylist T-shirts and coffee mugs, what better gift to a theater hero than the chance to see more theater? Big gigantic thank you's to these incredibly generous theaters: Theatre Latte Da, History Theatre, Park Square Theatre, Mixed Blood Theatre, Pillsbury House Theatre, Workhaus Collective, Gremlin Theatre, Penumbra Theater, Phoenix Theater, Ten Thousand Things Theater, and Walking Shadow Theater Company.

Our Unsung Heros also won a beautiful, strange jello mold Ivey Award knock-off with a plastic dinosaur inside, lovingly crafted by actor, writer, mixologist, and all-around beautiful goofball John Middleton.

How did people win one of those? We explain below because, unexpectedly, this turned into our favorite thing.

Chris Garza receives award with Leah Cooper, Alan Berks, and Sean McPherson

That's Chris Garza above (between MinnesotaPlaylist co-founders Leah Cooper and Alan Berks , i.e. yours truly), collecting his award. He was nominated by Sean McArdle, Master Props Craftsperson at the Guthrie Theater. Winner #2? Emily Zimmer was nominated by Peter Brosius, Childrens' Theatre Company Artistic Director, for being a phenomenal educator and talent. And, Allen Weeks, Production Manager at Penumbra Theater, was nominated by Carol Schweikhardt, Executive Director at the Theater Space Project, on behalf of all the unsung technical theater workers. (Allen and Emily, make sure you collect your prizes! We gave them to Peter and Carol.)

Listen, relax, awards can feel arbitrary, and these were awards. These three lucky winners were literally drawn from a bowl filled with other amazing unsung heros nominated by anyone who came to the party and who, when we read about them, we wanted to sing of them too. Then, we remembered this is a website that people can read, so here is everyone else that was nominated. If you've never heard of them, go find out more about them--as well as the generous souls who sing their praises. (I know I will.)

In alphabetical order:

  • Candace Barrett Birk  “For her contribution as an actor & wellness coach to the theatrical community.”     Nominated by Neal Beckman
  • Jill Bernard “She is consistently passionate, positive, and encouraging, not to mention funny.”    Nominated by Adia Morris
  • Raye Birk “Because he has taught so many of us in the community and influenced so many of us. He is a wonderful teacher & actor.” Nominated by Billie Jo Konze
  • Paul Coate “The nicest working man in the TC.” Nominated by Zach Curtis
  • Nic Delcambre "Music director & actor, composes his own work, ridiculously talented.” Nominated by Gina Musto
  • Craig Hostetter “He’s a good actor but not many people know it.” Nominated by Corey DiNardo
  • Wu Chen Khoo "He is mobilizing the workers & trying to initiate change for the people from within (as opposed to in a colonial way).” Nominated by Chris Garza
  • Ben Krywosz “Because one local funder just told me ‘He directs well, for an educator.’ – No , damn it! He just directs well!”  Nominated by Bethany Gladhill
  • Jen Liestmann “Advocate for local artists at a major regional theatre. Buy local.”  Nominated by Jon Hegge
  • Brian O’Neal “He is not well known even after being here a long time and having his own company for a few years. Yet he is one of the most engaging performers I’ve seen on stage.” Nominated by Katie Kaufmann
  • Scott Pakudaitus “Sees everything—photographs much—a great colleague” Nominated by Ben Krywosz
  • Scott Pakudaitus “He is a steady, enthusiastic patron of the theater; no matter where a show is or which company puts it on.” Gregory Parks
  • Ron Peluso “Commissioning new work from diverse voices for a long time and supportive of new work.” Laurie Flanigan-Hegge
  • Sheila Smith “Awesome advocate to keep strong theater and all arts in MN.” Kendra Plant
  • Ian Statenburgh “Untold hours doing his and many others jobs for a season (Park Square) with an incredible amount of shows.” Brent Anderson
  • Dane Stauffer “Fantastic performance in Glensheen at History Theatre.” Dale Thomas
  • Angela Wahlberg “Bringing me back to life.”  Misty Brehmer
  • Duck Washington “Duck Washington is the best person to work with!” Marcus Downs
  • Max Wojtanowitz “With Sheena Janson, he created Musical [email protected]’s Kitchen, started The Catalysts, does wonderful work, and brings people together. Love him!” Paul Coate

Now raise your own hands if you ever. . .

Are you an unsung here?

  • Understudied but never went on.
  • Did good work but never got mentioned in a review.
  • Gave an awesome audition but didn't get cast.
  • Worked for free.
  • Have family members who think your work is a “hobby.”
  • Helped someone run lines.
  • Worked for not enough money.
  • Were the last one to leave at least one night of tech week.
  • Did tons of things nowhere in your job description.
  • Saw a ton of other people’s shows.
  • Don’t know how to network or promote yourself.
  • Fed someone during tech week.
  • Worked on a show that sucked, but did your best work anyway.
  • Had a really really really shitty day, but did your best work anyway.
  • Are a stage manager.
  • Work backstage or in the shop.
  • Are a parent but work in theater anyway.
  • Made someone new feel welcome.

Cause you are an unsung hero as well, and we'd like to throw you a party. . .

The people around the bar.

See you next January for Winter Bash #3