It will be "The Award Show About the Baby" as Brian Murray and Marian Seldes step up to the podium to host the 2001 OBIE awards on May 21 at Webster Hall in the East Village. The two thesps are the stars of the hit Off-Broadway Edward Albee play, The Play About the Baby. Both are past OBIE winners, Seldes for Isadora Duncan and The Ginger Man and Murray for Ashes and a 1998 commendation for Sustained Excellence.
Among the evening's award presenters will be Dick Cavett, Darius de Haas, David Gallo, Linda Lavin, Marion McClinton, Debra Monk, J. Smith-Cameron and Daphne Rubin-Vega. Rinde Eckert, the writer-actor behind this season's An Idiot Divine and And God Created Great Whales, and poet-performer Carl Hancock Rux will provide live entertainment.
The OBIES, founded in 1956, are sponsored by The Village Voice weekly newspaper to recognize excellence in Off- and Off-Off- Broadway theatre. The OBIE Awards were created soon after the inception of the Village Voice in 1955 "to publicly acknowledge and encourage the growing Off- Broadway theatre movement."
Unlike other award ceremonies, the OBIEs have no nominations, and multiple productions or artists can win in a single category. Because the award ceremony is still rather small-scaled, attendance is by invitation only.
This year's judges include Village Voice theatre editor Brian Parks (who is also OBIE chairman), Voice theatre critics Michael Feingold, Francine Russo and Charles McNulty, composer Jeanie Tesori, actor Arthur French, playwright Doug Wright and actress Lola Pashalinski. —By Robert Simonson