Woodard, Irwin Host Off-Broadway Obie Awards May 19; Albee, Plimpton, Izzard Present

News   Woodard, Irwin Host Off-Broadway Obie Awards May 19; Albee, Plimpton, Izzard Present The 48th annual Village Voice Obie Awards, which honor Off-Broadway theatre, will be held 8 PM May 19 at Webster Hall in the East Village.

Writer-performers Charlayne Woodard (In Real Life) and Bill Irwin (Fool Moon) will host the event, which will boast such presenters as playwright Edward Albee (The Goat), last year's Obie winning actresses Linda Emond (Homebody/Kabul), Juliana Francis (Maria del Bosco) and actress Martha Plimpton (Hobson's Choice) as well as actress Jackie Hoffman, actor-comedian Eddie Izzard, actor-Labyrinth Theatre co-founder John Ortiz and actor Liev Schreiber.

The evening will also feature performances by the cast of Hank Williams: Lost Highway and Cynthia Hopkins singing selections from the Transmission Project's Compress Your Dreams.

The Obies were created in 1956 by former Voice critic Jerry Talmer. The awards honor New York theatre exclusively Off-Broadway in such broad categories as performance, playwriting, design and direction, bestowing as many prizes in each as they see fit. Furthermore, the Obie Award panel also award special citations, grants and sustained achievement honors.

This year's Obie Award judges are Brian Parks (Village Voice theatre editor and Obie chairman); the Voice critics Charles McNulty, Francine Russo and Alisa Solomon; playwright Neal Bell; New Dramatists artistic director Todd London; and performer Ching Valdes-Aran. Voice contributor Alexis Soloski served as assistant to the committee. As she has since 1994, Eileen Phelan will produce the ceremony.

Past Obie winners include F. Murray Abraham, Kevin Bacon, Kathy Bates, Eric Bogosian, John Cameron Mitchell, Nell Carter, Hume Cronyn, Joan Cusack, Anna Deavere Smith, Cirque du Soleil, Olympia Dukakis, Christopher Durang, Robert Duvall, James Earl Jones, Hector Elizondo, Robert Falls, Harvey Fierstein, Hallie Foote, Richard Foreman, Morgan Freeman, Victor Garber, Malcolm Gets, Philip Glass, Spalding Gray, Fred Gwynne, The Halloween Parade, Ed Harris, Dustin Hoffman, Hal Holbrook, William Hurt, Amy Irving, Bill Irwin, Dana Ivey, Anne Jackson, Cherry Jones, Kevin Kline, Larry Kramer, Swoosie Kurtz, Nathan Lane, Frank Langella, James Lapine, Linda Lavin, John Malkovich, David Mamet, Camryn Manheim, James McDaniel, Terrence McNally, Laurie Metcalf, Zero Mostel, Dael Orlandersmith, Al Pacino, Joseph Papp, Austin Pendleton, Harold Prince, Roger Rees, Jason Robards, Paul Rudnick, George C. Scott, Claudia Shear, Sam Shepard, Frances Sternhagen, Ellen Stewart, Stomp, Jean Stapleton, Meryl Streep, Jessica Tandy, Lynne Thigpen, Rip Torn, John Turturro, Christopher Walken, Eli Wallach, Sam Waterston, George C. Wolfe and James Woods. For more information, visit www.villagevoice.com/obies.