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55th Village Voice OBIE Awards

By: Maria Esteves – May 22, 2010

The 55th Annual 2010 Village Voice OBIE Awards honoring Off-Broadway and Off-Off-Broadway theater exceptional achievements of 2009-2010, co-hosted by Tony Award winners Michael Cerveris and Anika Noni Rose (2001 OBIE Award winner, Eli's Comin') were held at the historical Webster Hall ballroom, New York, Monday, May 17, 8:00 pm. This year’s award presenters were J. Smith Cameron, Viola Davis, Marin Ireland, Linda Lavin, Hamish Linklater, Sam Rockwell, Michael Shannon, Kerry Washington, Jennifer Westfeldt, and Lillias White. The ceremony included special performances by cast members of Eleven-Time Tony Award nominee Broadway musical FELA! (2009 OBIE Award winner). The After Party immediately followed featuring Tony Award nominee Brooklyn based afrobeat band ANTIBALAS.

2010 OBIES produced by The Village Voice were presented by OBIE committee chairman Michael Feingold, publicist Gail Parenteau, marketing/events director Rosemary R. Raposo, marketing manager Christina Petit, and creative services Justin Reynolds. The official sponsors include Stella Artois, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS (BC/EFA), Compucolor, The New York Times, Back Stage, Fragoli, Teany, Otarian, Steps on Broadway, ACE, Stella Adler Studio Theatre, HB Studios, The New Group, HERE Arts Center, Kind Bars, WNYC, 101.9 RXP, Parenteau Guidance, and Webster Hall.

The Village Voice Obie Awards founded by Jerry Tallmer in 1955, acknowledge the best of Off-Broadway and Off-Off Broadway productions. The name OBIE derives from the abbreviation for Off-Broadway (O.B.). Past recipients include Al Pacino, Meryl Streep, Morgan Freeman, Denzel Washington, Felicity Huffman, Viola Davis, Kevin Kline, Nathan Lane, Alec Baldwin, Kathy Bates, James Earl Jones, Edward Norton, and Sigourney Weaver. The judges may vote multiple OBIES in any category where outstanding achievement deserves recognition. The winners of the 2010 OBIE Awards were judged by:

Michael Feingold – Chairman chief theater critic, The Village Voice

Kristin Marting, co-founder/artistic director, HERE Arts Center

Andy Propst – Secretary/theater critic,, TheaterMania

Ralph B. Pena - founding member/artistic director, Ma-Yi Theater, 2003 OBIE Award winner (The Romance of Magno Rubio)

Martha Plimpton - Tony Award nominee, 2001 OBIE Award winner  (Hobson’s Choice)

Alexis Soloski – Theater critic, The Village Voice

This year’s OBIES included 37 awards within 9 categories. The following are the various awards and their winners:


REED BIRNEY, TRACEE CHIMO, PETER FRIEDMAN, DEIRDRE O’CONNELL, and HEIDI SCHRECK ensemble of ”Circle Mirror Transformation,” (Playwrights Horizons)

DANE DEHAAN in “The Aliens,” (Rattlestick Playwrights Theater)

JONATHAN HAMMOND in “The Boys in the Band,” (Transport Group)

MARC DAMON JOHNSON in “The Brother/Sister Plays,” (Public Theater)

LAURIE METCALF in “A Lie of the Mind,” (The New Group)

WENDELL PIERCE for sustained excellence of performance
JULIET RYLANCE in “As You Like It,” (Bridge Project/BAM)

ROCCO SISTO for sustained excellence of performance


SAM GOLD for “Circle Mirror Transformation,” (Playwrights Horizons) and “The Aliens,” (Rattlestick Playwrights Theater)

PAM MACKINNON for “Clybourne Park”

ENDA WALSH for “The New Electric Ballroom”

Best Design and Music

STEVEN DUFALA and BILLY BLAISE DUFALA in “Machines Machines Machines Machines Machines Machines Machines,”
(rainpan 43/HERE Arts Center)

STEPHIN Merritt in “Coraline,” (MCC Theater)

TYLER MICOLEAU for sustained excellence of lighting design

NEIL MURRAY, MALCOLM RIPPETH, GEMMA CARRINGTON, and JON DRISCOLL in “Brief Encounter,” (Kneehigh Theatre/St. Ann’s Warehouse)

Special Citations

ARIANE MNOUCHKINE & THEATRE DU SOLEIL in “Les Ephemeres,” (Lincoln Center Festival)

TAYLOR MAC in “The Lily’s Revenge,” (HERE Arts Center)


PHILIPPE QUESNE and GAETAN VOURC’H in “L’effet De Serge,” (Vivarium Studio / Under the Radar)

CHRIS WELLS in “Secret City”

Obie Grants




Best New American Play

CIRCLE MIRROR TRANSFORMATION and THE ALIENS, playwright by Annie Baker - $1,000

The Ross Wetzsteon Award


The Sustained Achievement Award



Michael Cerveris – 2010 OBIE Award Host

Born November 6, 1960 in Bethesda, Maryland, and raised in Huntington, West Virginia Michael Cerveris is a graduate of Phillips Exeter Academy and Yale University (cum laude). Cerveris Off-Broadway starring roles include Shakespeare and Calderon, Abingdon Square, The Games, Total Eclipse, and Hedwig and the Angry Inch (OBIE Award), King Lear, Road Show, Wintertime, An Oak Tree, and Futurity. On Broadway he starred in The Who's Tommy, Titanic, Assassins (2004 Tony Award winner for Best Featured Actor), Sweeney Todd, Lovemusik, Cymbeline, Hedda Gabler, In the Next Room (or The Vibrator Play). Cerveris currently appears in the TV show Fringe, and has a solo album, Dog Eared.

Viola Davis – 2010 OBIE Award Presenter

Born August 11, 1965 in Saint Matthews, South Carolina and raised in Central Falls, Rhode Island, Viola Davis is a graduate of the Julliard School. She built an exceptional background in theater productions and continues to perform on-stage throughout her television and film career. Davis Off-Broadway performing roles include Intimate Apparel, God’s Heart, regional: Coming of the Hurricane, Hecuba, Measure for Measure, Come and Gone, Red Noses, and The Rover. On Broadway, she starred in Seven Guitars (Tony and Drama Desk Award nominees), King Hedley II (2001 Tony Award for Best Featured Actress), Intimate Apparel (2005 Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award), The Public, Everybody’s Ruby (Audelco Award, OBIE and Drama Desk Award nominees), As You Like it, House of Lear. Davis starring roles in film and television includes Solaris, Antwone Fisher, Far From Heaven, Traffic; The Shrink Is In, Out of Sight, The Substance of Fire; Century City, City of Angels, Kate and Leopold, Amy and Isabelle, Hack, Law & Order, NYPD Blue, The Practice, Grace and Glory, The Pentagon Wars, and Judging Amy.

Michael Feingold – 2010 OBIE Judge

Michael Feingold who lives and works in New York is a graduate of Columbia University and the Yale Scholl of Drama. He is chief theater critic of The Village Voice and chairman of the Obie Awards Committee as well as playwright, lyricist, translator, director, and dramaturg. He currently serves as literary advisor to New York's Theater for a New Audience. His translations include standard versions of the Brecht-Weill works Happy End, Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny and Threepenny Opera, Schiller's Mary Stuart, Eduardo de Filippo's Souls of Naples, and Goldoni’s Venetian Twins.

Anika Noni Rose – 2010 OBIE Award Host

Born September 6, 1972 in Bloomfield, Connecticut Anika Noni Rose studied drama at American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco. She moved to New York to pursue a career on Broadway. Rose Off-Broadway performance include Eli’s Coming (2001 OBIE Award). On Broadway, she starred in Footloose, Cat on a Hot Tin Rook, Caroline, or Change (2004 Tony Award winner for Best Actress). She has performed at the Vatican and at the 79th Annual Academy Awards. Her roles in film and television include Dreamgirls (Academy Award Nominee for the song Patience), Disney’s The Princess & The Frog (voice of Princess Tiana), and HBO series The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency.

Alexis Soloski – 2010 OBIE Judge

Alexis Soloski who works in New York is a graduate of Yale University (magna cum laude). She is drama critic at The Village Voice. Her writings on theater, art, literature has appeared in The New York Times, Modern Painters, The Believer, Salon, and Theater Magazine, where she served as a Jerome Fellow. She is a guest on BBC 5 Up All Night. She teaches literature and writing at Barnard College. Soloski is completing a dissertation in Theater at Columbia University.

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