The Wing, which co-presents the Tony Awards with the Broadway League, will take overall responsibility for running the Obies, effective immediately, under the oversight of a newly formed Obies Administration Committee (comprising both American Theatre Wing and Village Voice representatives).
The selection process will be overseen by this Administration Commitee, but will continue under the chairmanship of Michael Feingold. Judges will be appointed and approved by Feingold and the Administrative Committee. As part of the partnership, the Village Voice has licensed the Obie trademark to the American Theatre Wing for an initial period of ten years.
The upcoming Obie Award ceremony – the first presentation under this new partnership – will take place in May 2015 and will mark the Award’s 60th anniversary.
“A central and important part of the Wing’s mission has always been to recognize and nurture excellence in the theatre on Broadway, Off Broadway, Off Off Broadway, and in the regions,” said American Theatre Wing president Heather Hitchens in a statement. “Off Broadway and Off-Off Broadway are a critical part of the theatre ecology and a hotbed of innovation. We are thrilled to launch this new partnership with the Village Voice on the Obies. It is an exciting and powerful new manifestation of the Wing’s mission.”
“After sixty years of dedication to recognizing the best creative work taking place Off and Off-Off Broadway, we decided to look for a way to expand the reach and impact of the Obie Awards,” added Josh Fromson, publisher of the Village Voice. “The American Theatre Wing was a natural fit for us. They not only bring expertise in producing awards ceremonies to the table, they also share our passion for honoring theatrical achievement.” Founded in 1955 by Voice cultural editor Jerry Tallmer, The Village Voice Obie Awards annually honor the best of Off-Broadway and Off-Off Broadway. "Unlike most theater awards," according to previous press notes, "the Obies do not publicize nominations or employ rigid categories. In the conviction that creativity is not competitive, the judges select outstanding artists and productions and may even invent new categories to reward artistic merit."