Lea DeLaria and Paul Rudnick will co-host the 44th Annual Village Voice OBIE Awards, on May 17 at NY's Webster Hall.
On hand as presenters for the event will be Betty Buckley (Eros Trilogy), Kathleen Chalfant (Wit), Stephen DeRosa (Mystery of Irma Vep), David Henry Hwang (Golden Child), Swoosie Kurtz (Mineola Twins), Elizabeth Marvel (TFANA's Macbeth ), John Cameron Mitchell (Hedwig and the Angry Inch), Everett Quinton (Mystery of Irma Vep), Phylicia Rashad (Everybody's Ruby), and Roger Rees (Misanthrope).
In the past, the OBIES have featured live performances by popular Broadway-bound productions (Rent, Noise/Funk) and commercial Off-Broadway productions (Hedwig and the Angry Inch), thought this year's decision seems to highlight edgier, non-commercial productions: Debate by Richard Maxwell (House, Cowboys and Indians) and "Snowball," an excerpt of Ruth Margraff and Matthew Pierce's experimental holiday opera, The Cry Pitch Carrolls.
Unlike other award ceremonies, the OBIEs have no nominations, and multiple productions or artists can win in a single category. Also dissimilar from other theatre awards, OBIE recipients receive a cash grant with their prize.
OBIE judges include two critics from the Voice, Michael Feingold and Alisa Solomon, who will be flanked by Guest Judges: Liz Diamond (director), Mark Russell (head of P.S. 122), Dael Orlandersmith (solo performer) and Una Chaudhuri (Head of the NYU theatre department). Charles McNulty will serve as secretary to the committee, which is chaired by editor, Brian Parks. The event will be produced by Eileen Phelan. 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."
Attendance for the award ceremony is by invitation only.
-- By Sean McGrath