The Obie Awards have worked out details for their Plan B, as the annual ceremony moves online in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The virtual proceedings will take place June 4 via YouTube, with comedian Cole Escola hosting remotely. As is tradition, there are no nominees announced in advance; instead, a judging panel forgoes traditional categorization to determine Off-Broadway honors worthy of distinction. This year, recipients will be informed in advance, with pre-recorded acceptance speeches shown during the stream.
The virtual event will also feature musical performances, including a tribute to Merrily We Roll Along and an in memoriam segment led by Shaina Taub. Patti LuPone will headline a fundraising event prior to the stream, including a sing-along with Marie's Crisis pianists Adam Michael Tilford and Kenney M. Green.
As previously announced, the Obies will commemorate shows that were cut short or canceled due to the widespread theatre shutdowns in part through relief grants established by the American Theatre Wing (which co-presents the awards with The Village Voice).
Michael Feingold, a longtime Village Voice critic and former chair of the Obie Awards, will receive a special citation; an annual award recognizing excellence in criticism, dramaturgy, translation, scholarship, mentorship, or education will also be given in his name moving forward. Lifetime Achievement awards will go to performer Vinie Burrows and Playwrights Horizon's Tim Sanford.