Heidi Schreck’s What the Constitution Means to Me was named the 2019 Obie Award winner for Best New American Play. The 64th annual ceremony, hosted by Rachel Bloom was held May 20 at Terminal 5.
New York Theatre Workshop, which produced Schreck's Tony-nominated piece last fall, was also recognized with Obie Awards for Playwriting (Marcus Gardley's The House That Will Not Stand and Madeleine George's Hurricane Diane), Performance (Mia Barron, for her role in Hurricane Diane), and Design (Isabella Byrd for her lighting design of Caryl Churchill's Light Shining in Buckinghamshire).
As previously announced, NYTW Artistic Director James C. Nicola (along with Artistic Director and founder of Theatre For A New Audience Jeffrey Horowitz) received a special Obie Award for Lifetime Achievement.
Suzan-Lori Parks was also recognized in the Playwriting category for her new play White Noise, which premiered at The Public Theater; directors Jo Bonney, Leigh Silverman, and Stevie Walker Webb each took home wins as well.
The Obies, structured with informal categories determined on a year-to-year basis, are presented by the American Theatre Wing and the Village Voice. The judges' panel, chaired by Michael Feingold, included Obie-winning director Arin Arbus, Obie-winning scenic designer Rachel Hauck, Obie-winning scenic designer Riccardo Hernandez, two-time Obie-winning playwright Rajiv Joseph, Obie-winning actor Kecia Lewis, and critic Jesse Oxfeld.
See the complete list of winners below.
Best New American Play ($1,000 prize)
Heidi Schreck, What the Constitution Means to Me (New York Theatre Workshop)
Marcus Gardley, The House That Will Not Stand (New York Theatre Workshop)
Madeleine George, Hurricane Diane (New York Theatre Workshop)
Suzan-Lori Parks, White Noise (The Public Theater)
Jo Bonney, Sustained Excellence of Directing
Leigh Silverman, Sustained Excellence of Directing
Stevie Walker Webb, Ain’t No Mo’ (The Public Theater)
Mia Barron, Hurricane Diane (New York Theatre Workshop)
Quincy Tyler Bernstine, Sustained Excellence of Performance
Cherise Boothe, Fabulation, or the Re-Education of Undine (Signature Theatre Company)
Francis Jue, Wild Goose Dreams (The Public Theater)
Heather Alicia Simms, Fabulation, or the Re-Education of Undine (Signature Theatre Company) and By The Way, Meet Vera Stark (Signature Theatre Company)
Dede M. Ayite, Sustained Excellence in Costume Design
Isabella Byrd, Lighting Design, Light Shining in Buckinghamshire (New York Theatre Workshop)
Palmer Hefferan, Sustained Excellence in Sound Design
Cookie Jordan, Sustained Excellence in Hair, Wigs, and Makeup
Clint Ramos, Set Design, Wild Goose Dreams (The Public Theater)
Louisa Thompson Sustained Excellence in Scenic Design
Obie Grants ($4,000 prize each)
The Movement Theatre Company
Target Margin Theater
The Ross Wetzsteon Award ($3,000 prize)
Lincoln Center Theater
Lifetime Achievement Award
James C. Nicola
Additionally, special citations were given to artists from five Off-Broadway productions:
Dance Nation (Playwrights Horizons)
Clare Barron (playwright) and Lee Sunday Evans (director)
Ain’t No Mo’ (The Public Theater)
Jordan E. Cooper (playwright and performer)
Marys Seacole ( Lincoln Center Theater/LCT3)
Jackie Sibblies Drury (playwright) and Lileana Blain-Cruz (director)
The Jungle (St. Ann’s Warehouse)
Joe Murphy and Joe Robertson (playwrights); Stephen Daldry and Justin Martin (directors); Miriam Buether (set designer); Catherine Kodicek (costume designer); Jon Clark (lighting designer); Paul Arditti (sound designer); John Pfumojena (composer); Tristan Shepherd and Duncan McLean (video designers); Mohammad Amiri, Alexander Devrient, Elham Ehsas, Trevor Fox, Milan Ghobsheh, Ammar Haj Ahmad, Alex Lawther, Jo McInnes, Yasin Moradi, Jonathan Nyati, John Pfumojena, Rachel Redford, Dominic Rowan, Rachid Sabitri, Mohamed Sarrar, Ben Turner, Nahel Tzegai, Vera Gurpinar, Annika Mehta (performers)
Oklahoma! (St. Ann’s Warehouse)
Daniel Fish (director), John Heginbotham (choreographer), Daniel Kluger (music arranger/orchestrator), Laura Jellinek (set designer), Terese Wadden (costume designer), Scott Zielinski (lighting designer), Drew Levy (sound designer), Joshua Thorson (production designer)