Obie Winners: English, Martyna Majok, Ping Chong, Anne Bogart, Ralph Lee, etc. Confronting Antisemitism on Broadway. #Stageworthy News of the Week

The 66th Obie Awards, which will be celebrated tonight, were announced over the weekend, Full list of Obie winners
Among the 37 awards,  for shows presented between July 1, 2020, and Aug. 31, 2022:
 Sanaz Toosi’s English for Best New American Play
 a Playwriting award to Martyna Majok for Sanctuary City
 Direction awards to Taylor Reynolds of Man Cave and Tambo & Bones
 Awoye Timpo for Wedding Band and her work as founder of Classix
 Matt Ray (Music Direction and Composition) for The Hang
performance awards to Stephanie Berry and Lizan Mitchell, On Sugarland
Brittany Bradford, Wedding Band
Kara Young, Twelfth Night 
Arturo Luís Soria, Ni Mi Madre
lifetime achievement awards for Ping Chong, Anne Bogart, Ralph Lee and Casey Compton
as well as a raft of special citations, including to the teams behind three “Digital+Virtual+Hybrid Productions”: Circle Jerk, Taxilandia, Russian Troll Farm.

This year’s ceremony will be held Monday night in person at Terminal 5 and also  live-streamed on YouTube.  Sustained and Lifetime Achievement winners will accept their awards during the ceremony. All other winner remarks are videos on the American Theatre Wing’s YouTube channel.

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The Week in New York Theater News

About a dozen neo-Nazis picketed outside the Bernard B. Jacobs Theater before the first preview of  “Parade,” a musical about the 2015 lynching of Leo Frank, accusing Leo Frank of being a pedophile, and denouncing the Anti-Defamation League, an organization that combats antisemitism which was founded two years before Leo Frank’s lynching.

The protest was condemned by the producers (““If there is any remaining doubt out there about the urgency of telling this story in this moment in history, the vileness on display last night should put it to rest…”)and by the Actors Equity Association (NYTimes)

In an Instagram message, Ben Platt, who portrays Leo Frank in the revival, said: “It was definitely very ugly and scary but a wonderful reminder of why we’re telling this particular story and how special and powerful art and particularly theater can be.”

Mayor Eric Adams appeared on stage at the Jacobs before a subsequent performance to thank the cast “for telling a powerful story,” and to point out that New York City has the largest Jewish population outside Tel Aviv, and that “the beauty and symbol of New York City” is in its cross pollinating of ideas and culture.

In the 1980s, Frank received a posthumous pardon in Georgia, and in 2019, the district attorney in Fulton County created a panel to reinvestigate the case. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution.)

On his blog, Jason Robert Brown, the composer of “Parade” wrote a long post, ABOUT THE PROTESTS OUTSIDE OF PARADE, that discourses on antisemitism in general, especially its resurgence, and on the Leo Frank case. “I have always suspected that Leo Frank was a difficult man to like. He was no hero. He was no martyr. But one of the things Parade says is that you don’t have to praise or admire Leo Frank to see that he was the victim of a gross miscarriage of justice, fueled by rage and fear and anti-Semitic hysteria.”

Great Performances will present Remember This, starring David Strathairn on PBS March 13.  The play, which tells the true-life tory of Jan Karski, who was an eyewitness to the Holocaust and tried to stop it, was on stage in New York last September. (My review.)

“Grey House” will open May 30, 2023, at Broadway’s Lyceum Theater. The scary new play by Levi Holloway, will be directed by Joe Mantello and star Laurie Metcalf, Tatiana Maslany, Paul Starks, Sophia Anne Caruso

Singer-songwriter and actress Joanna “JoJo” Levesque will make her Broadway debut as Satine in Moulin Rouge, April 11 – July 16

Oliver casting: Benjamin Pajak, who made his Broadway debut as Sutton Foster’s little brother, will star as Oliver in the Encores! concert version of “Oliver” at New York City Center May 3 to 14, with a starry cast featuring Lilli Cooper, Raúl Esparza, Tam Mutu, and Brad Oscar,
The 2023 Encores! season opens March 15 – 19 with Dear World starring Donna Murphy and concludes with The Light in the Piazza starring Ruthie Ann Miles from June 21 – 25. 

The Public Theater) announced the six new artists for the 2023-24 cohort of the Devised Theater Working Group: Amara Janae Brady, Dahlak Brathwaite, Jaime Cepero (remember him from “Smash”?!), Clarissa Marie Ligon, Eli Nixon, and One Whale’s Tale (Camilo Quiroz-Vázquez and Ellpetha Tsivicos).Now in its eighth cycle, the Devised Theater Working Group is an ongoing initiative that supports live arts-makers of all disciplines in the devised theater movement. 

NY Times Spring Preview: Four Rising Theater Stars to Watch This Spring: Arinzé Kene (Misty), Talene Monahon (The Good John Proctor,”), Ryan J. Haddad (“Dark Disabled Stories,”) Guadalís Del Carmen (“Bees and Honey”)


Visiting the workshop where more than the “Sesame Street” Muppets takes shape – such as the 17 puppets “Ajijaak on Turtle Island,” a musical that will be performed tomorrow at the Gerald W. Lynch Theater at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice,

In Memoriam

Melinda Dillon, 83, a star of Broadway at the age of 23, as Honey in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” then made a comeback as a nominee for best supporting actress Oscars for her roles in “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” and “Absence of Malice,” 

Graeme Malcolm, 71, seven-time Broadway veteran and narrator of 167 audiobooks.

This Week’s Theater Video

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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