The Obie Awards, an annual ceremony honoring theater work carried out Off and Off Off Broadway, this yr for the primary time will contemplate digital, audio and different digital productions.
The awards directors determined to develop their scope in recognition of the diversifications made by many theater firms throughout the coronavirus pandemic, which prevented most New York theaters from staging in-person performances for at the very least a yr, and in lots of circumstances significantly longer. Quite a few theaters pivoted to streaming, and a few experimented with audio.
“We wished to be sure that the work that did occur was eligible,” stated Heather Hitchens, the president and chief govt of the American Theater Wing, which presents the awards. “The Obies reply to the season, and to the evolving nature and rhythms of theater.”
This yr’s Obie Awards are anticipated to happen in November, which might be 28 months after the final ceremony, reflecting the terribly disruptive function the pandemic has performed in theatermaking. The ceremony will contemplate productions offered by Off Broadway and Off Off Broadway theaters between July 1, 2020 and Aug. 31, 2022.
The precise date for the ceremony has not been chosen, however Hitchens stated she expects it to be in-person (the final one was streamed) and she or he expects it to have a number (or hosts).
This yr’s Obie Awards would be the first offered solely by the Wing, which additionally based and copresents the Tony Awards. The Obies had been created by The Village Voice and first offered in 1956; in 2014, as The Voice struggled, it entered a partnership with the Wing to protect the ceremony, and now The Voice has granted the Obies trademark to the Wing, Hitchens stated.
The Obies, all the time a mix of status and quirkiness, have lengthy been distinguished by their lack of outlined classes — every year, the judges resolve what works to acknowledge, and for what purpose. This yr’s awards will probably be chaired by David Mendizábal, who is without doubt one of the leaders of the Motion Theater Firm, and Melissa Rose Bernardo, a contract theater critic. The judges will embody David Anzuelo, an actor and battle choreographer; Becca Blackwell, an actor and author; Wilson Chin, a set designer; Haruna Lee, a playwright; Soraya Nadia McDonald, the tradition critic for The Undefeated; Lisa Peterson, a director and author; Heather Alicia Simms, an actor; and Kaye Voyce, a dressing up designer.