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54th Village Voice OBIE Awards

By: Maria Esteves - May 22, 2009

The 54th Annual 2009 Village Voice OBIE Awards ceremony honoring Off-Broadway and Off-Off-Broadway theater achievements of 2008-2009, co-hosted by 2009 Tony Award nominee Martha Plimpton and "Shrek the Musical " performer Daniel Breaker were held at the historical Webster Hall ballroom, New York, with a live Internet webcast on PalTalk.com, Monday, May 18, 8:00 pm. The 54th OBIE Award presenters were Anne Hathaway, Brian d'Arcy James (Shrek), Gavin Creel (Hair), John Shea, Karen Olivo (West Side Story), Kate Mulgrew, Marc Kudisch (9 to 5), and Sasha Allen (Hair). The 54th OBIES After Party immediately followed celebrating Creative Block 2009 inaugural, a multidisciplinary arts event.

Since 1955, the Village Voice Obie Awards founded by Jerry Tallmer acknowledge the best of Off-Broadway and Off-Off Broadway productions. The name OBIE derives from the abbreviation for Off-Broadway (O.B.).

2009 OBIES were presented by chairman Michael Feingold, OBIE Committee, producer Eileen Phelan, publicist Gail Parenteau, lighting designer Stephen Wyker, marketing director Mauro De Ceglie, OBIE associate Sarah H. Haught, and creative services Justin Reynolds. The proud sponsors were Compucolor, Crumpler, Fragoli, Harlequin Books, Highline Studios, Le Tourment Vert, LikeMe.net, Macy's, Metro PCS, Parenteau Guidance, Sea Grape Wines, Sierra Nevada, Virgin America and Webster Hall.

The judges may vote multiple OBIES in any category where outstanding achievement deserves recognition. The winners of the 2009 OBIE Awards were judged by:

* Michael Feingold - Chairman chief theater critic, The Village Voice

* Eisa Davis - 2008 Obie Award winner, actress/playwright, "The Blacks"

* Eric Grode - Theater critic

* Ty Jones - 2003 Obie Award winner, actor/playwright, "The Blacks"

* Moises Kaufman - 2004 Obie Award winner, playwright/director, "I Am My  Own Wife" 

* Andy Propst - Secretary/theater critic, AmericanTheaterWeb.com 

* Alexis Soloski - Theater critic, The Village Voice

* Chay Yew - 2007 Obie Award winner, playwright/director, "Durango" 

The ceremony included 26 awards within 9 categories. The following are the various awards, and their winners:

Best Performance

FRANCOIS BATTISTE for THE GOOD NEGRO

QUINCY TYLER BERNSTINE for RUINED 

SAIDAH ARRIKA EKULONA for RUINED 

RUSSELL GEBERT JONES for RUINED

JONATHAN GROFF for PRAYER FOR MY ENEMY and THE SINGING FOREST

BIRGIT HUPPUCH for TELEPHONE

AARON MONAGHAN for THE CRIPPLE OF INISHMAAN

SAHR NGAUJAH for FELA!

LORENZO PISONI for HUMOR ABUSE

JAMES SUGG for CHEKHOV LIZARDBRAIN

JOHN DOUGLAS THOMPSON for OTHELLO

KEVIN T. CARROLL for Sustained Excellence

 

Best Direction

DAVID CROMER for OUR TOWN 

KATIE MITCHELL for THE WAVES 

KEN RUS SCHMOLL for TELEPHONE

 

Best Music and Lyrics

STEPHEN SONDHEIM for ROAD SHOW

 

Best Design

TONI-LESLIE JAMES for sustained excellence, WIG OUT!

DAVID KORINS for sustained excellence, WHY TORTURE IS WRONG, AND THE PEOPLE WHO LOVE THEM

 

Special Citations

Director SARAH BENSON and set designer LOUISA THOMPSON for BLASTED 

Director DAVID ESBJORNSON and actor CHRISTIAN CAMARGO for HAMLET 

Grants

THE CLASSICAL THEATRE OF HARLEM 

THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY

LARK PLAY DEVELOPMENT CENTER

 

The Ross Wetzsteon Award

HERE ARTS CENTER - $2,000

 

Best New American Play

RUINED, playwright by Lynn Nottage 

 

Lifetime Achievement Award

EARLE HYMAN  

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