2009 Obies - Congratulations

The 54th Annual Village Voice OBIE Awards were presented on Monday, May 18, 2009 at a ceremony held at the newly landmarked Webster Hall in Manhattan.

Co-hosted by former OBIE winners Martha Plimpton and Daniel Breaker, the awards were presented by Anne Hathaway, Brian d'Arcy James, Gavin Creel, John Shea, Karen Olivo, Kate Mulgrew, Marc Kudisch and Nilaja Sun.

Highlights included Anne Hathaway's presentation of the Lifetime Acheivement Award to Earle Hyman, and his touching, humorous acceptance speech, in which he detailed his early obsession with dramatic literature and the playwrights and actors who influenced his choice of profession. Ruined, Lynn Nottage's intense examination of rape in the Congo, was named Best New American Play. Several of the production's actors, Quincy Tyler Bernstine, Saidah Arrika Ekulona, and Russell Gebert Jones, also received performance awards. Stephen Sondheim, whose works have been more commonly seen on Broadway, was awarded a Music and Lyrics Obie for his Off-Broadway musical Road Show and accepted it in person.

The Obie Grants, cash prizes awarded to organizations, went to new Long Island City venue The Chocolate Factory, The Classical Theatre of Harlem and the Lark Play Development Center. HERE Arts Center received the Ross Wetzsteon Award.

A new feature of the ceremony this year was Creative Block, a separate event occuring simultaneously in a separate part of the venue and eventually merging with the Obie after-party, also held at Webster Hall. Tickets to this multidisciplinary arts event were available to the general public for purchase.

Congratulations to all those whose theatrical achievements and contributions were honored this year. We look forward to seeing more of your work.

For more information about the Obie Awards, visit the official website www.obies.villagevoice.com.

The Winners:

Lifetime Achievement Award
Earle Hyman

Best New American Play (includes a cash prize of $1000)
Ruined by Lynn Nottage (Manhattan Theater Club)

Francois Battiste
, The Good Negro (Public Theater)
Quincy Tyler Bernstine, Ruined (Manhattan Theater Club)
Kevin T. Carroll, sustained excellence of performance
Saidah Arrika Ekulona, Ruined (Manhattan Theater Club)
Jonathan Groff, Prayer for My Enemy (Playwrights Horizons) and
The Singing Forest (Public Theater)
Birgit Huppuch, Telephone (Foundry Theatre)
Russell Gebert Jones, Ruined (Manhattan Theater Club)
Aaron Monaghan, The Cripple of Inishmaan (Atlantic Theater Co.)
Sahr Ngaujah, Fela! (37 Arts)
Lorenzo Pisoni, Humor Abuse (Manhattan Theater Club)
James Sugg, Chekhov Lizardbrain (Pig Iron Theatre Company)
John Douglas Thompson, Othello (Theatre for a New Audience)

Music and Lyrics
Stephen Sondheim, Road Show (Public Theater)

David Cromer, Our Town (Barrow Street Theatre)
Katie Mitchell, The Waves (National Theatre of Great Britain / Lincoln Center Great Performances <"New Visions Series")
Ken Rus Schmoll, Telephone (Foundry Theatre)

Toni-Leslie James, sustained excellence of costume design (w/special reference to Wig Out, Vineyard Theatre)
David Korins, sustained excellence of set design (w/special reference to Why Torture Is Wrong... Public Theater)

Special Citations
Sarah Benson (director) and Louisa Thompson (set designer), Blasted (Soho Rep)
David Esbjornson (director) and Christian Camargo (actor), Hamlet (Theatre for a New Audience)

The Ross Wetzsteon Award (includes a cash prize of $2000)
HERE Arts Center

OBIE Grants ($10,000 divided equally among three theaters)
The Classical Theatre of Harlem
The Chocolate Factory
Lark Play Development Center

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