It took two postponements, but last night the 65thannual Obie Awards celebrated the achievements of Off and Off Off Broadway. The show was pre-recorded, so it could stream on YouTube. The event was hosted and presented by The American Theatre Wing and The Village Voice. A pre-show fundraiser featured a sing-along with Adam Michael Tilford and Kenney M. Green, and special appearances by Saycon Sengbloh, N’Kenge, LaChanze, and Celia Rose Gooding.
The awards were hosted by the Cole Escola, with an impressive list of presenters. Cynthia Erivo, LaTanya Richardson Jackson, Heidi Schreck, Katrina Lenk, Dominique Morisseau, Rachel Chavkin, Liesl Tommy, Emilio Sosa, Clint Ramos, Eisa Davis, Sam Pinkleton, Rachel Hauck and Heather Hitchens.
Performances from past and present Obie-winning hits included Fela!, Merrily We Roll Along, and A Strange Loop.
An “In Memoriam” with Shaina Taub, honored those we lost.
And the winners are:
PLAYWRITING: Will Arbery, Heroes of the Fourth Turning; Haruna Lee, Suicide Forest; Michael R. Jackson, A Strange Loop.
DIRECTING: Kenny Leon, Much Ado About Nothing; JoAnne Akalaitis, MUD/Drowning; Whitney White, Our Dear Dead Drug Lord; Les Waters, Sustained Excellence in Direction.
CHOREOGRAPHY: Camille A. Brown, Sustained Excellence in Choreography.
PERFORMANCE: Liza Colón-Zayas and Elizabeth Rodriguez, Halfway Bitches Go Straight to Heaven; Emily Davis, Is This A Room; Edmund Donovan, Greater Clements; April Matthis, Toni Stone; Joe Ngo, Cambodian Rock Band; Deirdre O’Connell, Dana H.
COSTUME DESIGN: Andrea Hood, Public Works
LIGHTING DESIGN: Jen Schriever, Sustained Excellence in Lighting Design
SOUND DESIGN: Mikhail Fiksel, Dana H. and Cambodian Rock Band;
SET DESIGN: Yu-Hsuan Chen, Our Dear Dead Drug Lord; Arnulfo Maldonado, Sustained Excellence in Set Design;
SPECIAL CITATIONS: Michael Feingold, Extraordinary Service to the Theater, with an annual Special Citation Award to be named in his honor; Creative Team and Ensemble, A Strange Loop; Creative Team and Ensemble, Heroes of the Fourth Turning; Creation and Performance, David Neumann and Marcella Murray, Distances Smaller Than This Are Not Confined; Writing and Performance, David Cale, We’re Only Alive for a Short Amount of Time; Collaboration on Music and Sound, Dave Malloy, Or Matias, and Hidenori Nakajo, Octet; Conception and Direction, Tina Satter, Is This A Room; Sustained Excellence as an Artist and Advocate, Alexandria Wailes; Advocacy in the Field of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, Asian American Performers Action Coalition (AAPAC);
INSTITUTIONAL RECOGNITION: Sustained Excellence in Production and Advocacy for Black Artists, National Black Theatre; Providing Extraordinary Support for Early Career Playwrights, Page 73; Providing Extraordinary Support for Emerging Artists, The Tank;
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD: Vinie Burrows; Tim Sanford.
Congratulations to all.