2020 Obie Awards Winners, celebrating downtown theater virtually

The list of winners of the 65th annual, and first virtual, Obie Awards, delayed twice, which celebrates Off and Off Off Broadway.

Presenters, performers and winners of the 2020 Obie Awards

Kenny Leon
​Much Ado About Nothing​ (The Public Theater)

JoAnne Akalaitis
MUD/Drowning​ (Mabou Mines, Weathervane Productions, The Days and Nights Festival)

Whitney White
Our Dear Dead Drug Lord​ (WP Theater, Second Stage Theater, by special arrangement with Benjamin Simpson and Joseph Longthorne)

Les Waters
Sustained Excellence in Direction

Michael Feingold

Vinie Burrows
Tim Sanford

Will Arbery
Heroes of the Fourth Turning​ (Playwrights Horizons)

Haruna Lee
for the Conception and Writing of ​Suicide Forest​ (Ma-Yi Theater Company, Bushwick Starr)

Michael R. Jackson
A Strange Loop​ ​(Playwrights Horizons, Page 73)

Camille A. Brown
Sustained Excellence in Choreography

Liza Colón-Zayas and Elizabeth Rodriguez
​Halfway Bitches Go Straight to Heaven (Atlantic Theater, LAByrinth Theater Company)

Emily Davis
Is This A Room ​(Vineyard Theatre)

Edmund Donovan
​Greater Clements​ (Lincoln Center Theater)

April Matthis
​Toni Stone ​(Roundabout Theatre Company)

Joe Ngo
Cambodian Rock Band ​(Signature Theatre Company)

Deirdre O’Connell
Dana H. ​(Vineyard Theatre, Goodman Theatre, Center Theatre Group)

Yu-Hsuan Chen
Set Design, ​Our Dear Dead Drug Lord (​ WP Theater, Second Stage, by special arrangement with Benjamin Simpson and Joseph Longthorne)

Mikhail Fiksel
Sound Design, ​Dana H. ​(Vineyard Theatre, Goodman Theatre, Center Theatre Group) and ​Cambodian Rock Band (​Signature Theatre Company)

Andrea Hood
Costume Design with Public Works (The Public Theater)

Arnulfo Maldonado
Sustained Excellence in Set Design

Jen Schriever
Sustained Excellence in Lighting Design

Creative Team and Ensemble of ​A Strange Loop​ (Playwrights Horizons, ​Page 73​)
Antwayn Hopper, James Jackson, Jr., L Morgan Lee, John-Michael Lyles, John-Andrew Morrison, Larry Owens, Jason Veasey, Elijah Caldwell (Ensemble), Stephen Brackett (Director), Raja Feather Kelly (Choreographer), Arnulfo Maldonado (Scenic Design), Montana Levi Blanco (Costume Design), Jen Schriever (Lighting Design), Alex Hawthorn (Sound Design), Cookie Jordan (Hair, Wig, and Makeup Design), Charlie Rosen (Orchestrations), Rona Siddiqui (Music Director), Michael R. Jackson (Vocal Arrangements)
A Strange Loop​ (Playwrights Horizons, ​Page 73​)

Creative Team and Ensemble of ​Heroes of the Fourth Turning​ (Playwrights Horizons)
Jeb Kreager, Julia McDermott, Michele Pawk, Zoë Winters, John Zdrojeski (Ensemble), Laura Jellinek (Set Design), Sarafina Bush (Costume Design), Isabella Byrd (Lighting Design), Justin Ellington (Sound Design), Danya Taymor (Director)
Heroes of the Fourth Turning​ (Playwrights Horizons)

David Cale
for the Writing and Performance of ​We’re Only Alive For A Short Time​ (The Public Theater)

David Neumann and Marcella Murray
for the Creation and Performance of ​Distances Smaller Than This Are Not Confirmed ​(Advanced Beginner Group, Abrons Arts Center, Chocolate Factory Theater, Mabou Mines)

Dave Malloy, Or Matias, and Hidenori Nakajo
for their collaboration on the Music and Sound of​ Octet​ (Signature Theatre)

Tina Satter
for the Conception and Direction of ​Is This A Room​ (Vineyard Theatre)

Alexandria Wailes
for Sustained Excellence as an Artist and Advocate

AAPAC (Asian American Performers Action Coalition)
for advocacy in the field of equity, diversity, and inclusion


National Black Theatre
for Sustained Excellence in Production and continued Advocacy on behalf of Black Artists

Page 73
for Providing Extraordinary Support for Early Career Playwrights

The Tank
for Providing Extraordinary Support for Emerging Artists

How the Obies were born, and named, in 1956 (by Ross Wetzsteon in the Village Voice in 1995)

Over on Greenwich Avenue, in a one-and-a-half­ room office, a writer for the Columbia Encyclopedia, a psychotherapist, and the author of The Naked and the Dead were wondering if their new five-cent weekly could make it through the end of the month. But Jerry Tallmer, the paper’s managing editor and theater critic, had an inspiration. The Circle-in-the-Square had pro­duced popular Eugene O’Neill and Tennessee Williams revivals, Judith Malina and Julian Beck of the Living Theater were mounting plays in living rooms and lofts, and The Threepenny Opera was starting its long run at the Theatre De Lys — there might not be anything up­town but blockbuster musicals and meretricious melo­dramas, but the downtown scene was beginning to be called “Off-Broadway.” Why not have an award cere­mony to celebrate the work being done in this new, al­ternative theater? A kind of Tony award honoring art not commerce. A gathering of the community to en­courage its artists. But what to call the new award? Off­-Broadway — OB — voilá — Obie!

Author: New York Theater

Jonathan Mandell is a 3rd generation NYC journalist, who sees shows, reads plays, writes reviews and sometimes talks with people.

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