Those presenting awards at the 8 PM ceremony include Neil Patrick Harris, S. Epatha Merkerson, Julie White, Bradley Whitford, Priscilla Lopez and Marisa Tomei. The evening will also feature a performance from the cast of the new Broadway musical Passing Strange.
For the first time in Obie history, the awards will be webcast live online via iClips.net on www.villagevoice.com/obies.
With the exception of the Lifetime Achievement and Best New American Play awards, the Obies, press notes state, "have no fixed categories and no listed nominations. Artists receive Obies on their own merit and not in competition with others." The Village Voice also provides grant money to theatre groups and individuals; this year $10,000 in grant money will be awarded as well as $1,000 for a Best New American Play or emerging playwright, and $2,000 to the recipient of the Ross Wetzsteon Award, which "honors an institution that fosters the development of new theatrical voices."
Michael Feingold, the chief theatre critic of the Village Voice, chairs the Obie Awards committee. Feingold's committee of judges includes Voice critic Alexis Soloski, Variety critic Mark Blankenship, Bloomberg News editor and critic Jeremy Gerard, playwright-director Robert O'Hara (2007 Obie winner for In the Continuum), set designer Neil Patel (twice an Obie winner for sustained excellence of design), and Time Out New York/New York Sun critic Helen Shaw. Clint Allen serves as secretary to the committee.
The Obie Awards were created in 1955 by Jerry Tallmer. Past recipients include Dustin Hoffman, Meryl Streep, William Hurt, Morgan Freeman, Mos Def, Amy Irving, Kevin Kline, Nathan Lane, Olympia Dukakis, Robert Duvall, Kevin Bacon, Alec Baldwin, Kathy Bates, James Earl Jones, Felicity Huffman and Harvey Fierstein, among others. Webster Hall is located in Manhattan at 125 East 11th Street. The awards are by invitation only. For more information visit www.villagevoice.com.