The Obies honor Off Broadway and Off Off Broadway work, and the prize was for the show’s run last year at New York Theater Workshop. The play, a much-praised autobiographical reflection on gender and American law, has since transferred to Broadway, where it is now among five contenders for the Tony Award for best new play.
Presented by the American Theater Wing and the Village Voice, the Obies do not have set categories, but rather distribute whatever honors the judges deem appropriate each season.
This year, the Obies honored five actors, singling out Quincy Tyler Bernstine, who starred in a Lincoln Center Theater production of “Marys Seacole,” for “sustained excellence of performance,” and also gave prizes to Mia Barron, for “Hurricane Diane” at New York Theater Workshop; Francis Jue, for “Wild Goose Dreams” at the Public Theater; and Cherise Boothe and Heather Alicia Simms for a revival of “Fabulation, or the Re-Education of Undine” at the Signature Theater Company.
Three playwrights won Obie Awards: Marcus Gardley, for “The House That Will Not Stand” at New York Theater Workshop; Madeleine George, for “Hurricane Diane”; and Suzan-Lori Parks, for “White Noise” at the Public Theater.
The Obies also honored three directors, recognizing the “sustained excellence” of Jo Bonney and Leigh Silverman, as well as awarding Stevie Walker-Webb for “Ain’t No Mo’” at the Public Theater.
Five designers were recognized: Dede M. Ayite, for sustained excellence in costume design; Isabella Byrd, for lighting design in “Light Shining in Buckinghamshire” at New York Theater Workshop; Palmer Hefferan, for sustained excellence in sound design; Cookie Jordan, for sustained excellence in hair, wigs and makeup; Clint Ramos, for set design in “Wild Goose Dreams”; and Louisa Thompson, for sustained excellence in scenic design.
At the ceremony, held at Terminal 5 and hosted by Rachel Bloom, special citations were also given to the playwright Clare Barron and the director Lee Sunday Evans for “Dance Nation” at Playwrights Horizons; to Jordan E. Cooper for writing and starring in “Ain’t No Mo’”; to the playwright Jackie Sibblies Drury and the director Lileana Blain-Cruz for “Marys Seacole”; to the cast and creative team of “The Jungle” at St. Ann’s Warehouse; and to the director Daniel Fish and the rest of the creative team of a revival of “Oklahoma!” that had an Off Broadway run at St. Ann’s Warehouse and has since transferred to Broadway.
The Obies also gave lifetime achievement awards to James C. Nicola, the artistic director of New York Theater Workshop, and Jeffrey Horowitz, the founding artistic director of Theater for a New Audience.