The Village Voice Obie Awards, which have honored Off-Broadway theatre for the past 47 years, will be held 8 PM May 20 at Webster Hall in the East Village.
Karen Kandel and Ruben Santiago-Hudson will act as hosts. Among the presenters expected to take part are actors Elizabeth Franz and Mary Louise Parker; actor-playwrights Ellen McLaughlin and Rinde Eckert; playwrights Richard Maxwell and Suzan-Lori Parks; and director George C. Wolfe.
The evening will also feature performances by The Builders Association and Antony and the Johnsons.
The Obies were created in 1956 by former Voice critic Jerry Talmer. They have always honored New York theatre beyond Broadway exclusively and, unlike most award organizations, which go in for competitive categories, the Obies bestow prizes to artists outright. Furthermore, any number of actors, playwrights, directors and designers may be recognized, depending on the wishes of the Obie Award panel of judges. Often, the Obies are the only form of recognition many experimental and emerging Off-Off Broadway talents can hope to win in the early stages of their careers.
This year's Obie Award judges are: Brian Parks (Village Voice theatre editor and Obie chairman); the Voice critics Charles McNulty and Alisa Solomon; performer Darius de Haas; director Michael Grief; New York Observer theatre critic John Heilpern; and Foundry Theatre artistic director Melanie Joseph. Alexis Soloski served as assistant to the committee. (The Voice's chief theatre critic took a vacation from the panel this year.) Eileen Phelan will produce and direct the ceremony.
Playbill On-Line will post the Obie winners in this space immediately following the ceremony.
—By Robert Simonson