Claudia Shear will host the OBIE awards honoring the 1999-2000 theatre season, to be held on May 15 at Webster Hall in New York City's East Village. The OBIE awards, sponsored by The Village Voice, recognize excellence in Off-Broadway and Off-Off-Broadway theatre.
Shear is the star and author of Dirty Blonde, one of the biggest critical hits of the Off-Broadway season. The show, which began at New York Theatre Workshop, recently began previews on Broadway.
Scheduled to present awards are the ceremony are director Ping Chong, actress Felicity Huffman and her actor husband William H. Macy, Cynthia Nixon, Frances Sternhagen, Mary Testa, Carmelita Tropicana, James Urbaniak and other to be announced later. Kiki & Herb and The Bomb-itty of Errors will provide entertainment.
This year's judges include Voice critics Michael Feingold, Alisa Solomon, James Hannaham, director Jo Bonney, playwright Mac Wellman, performance artist Holly Hughes and set designer Neil Patel. Theatre editor Brian Parks is chair.
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.
--By Robert Simonson