Broadway is about changing lives—onstage and offstage. It gives viewers the chance to see new perspectives and fresh stories in person and not on screen. And while when most people think about Broadway, shows like Hamilton, Wicked, and the Lion King come to mind, off-Broadway shows can be just as impactful as the big names. While their budgets may be lower and the production can be a bit more barebones, the acting carries the story and captures attendants.
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This is why the Obie Awards celebrates: Stories not quite ready for the big stage but profound enough to touch all the hearts who come through their doors.
What are the Obie Awards, and How Do They Work?
The Obie Awards, also known as the Off-Broadway Theater Awards, celebrate productions that have important stories to tell.
Created by the Village Voice in the 1950s, the Obie Awards pay homage to off-Broadway and off-off-Broadway productions, celebrating the people who make dreams a reality. Then in 2015, The American Theatre Wing began co-presenting the awards with the Voice to celebrate diversity and progressive work.
Who Gives Awards for the Obie Awards?
In 2023, the awards were co-chaired by David Mendizábal, Obie-winning director and producing artistic leader, and Melissa Rose Bernardo, veteran theater critic.
Meet the judges:
- Dave Anzuelo: Actor and fight choreographer
- Wilson Chin: Scenic designer
- Haruna Lee: Obie-winning playwright
- Lisa Peterson: Obie-winning director and playwright
- Heather Alicia Simms: Obie-winning actor
This panel watched over 400 productions—an unprecedented amount, considering they also reviewed the digital and audio works made over the pandemic.
When are the Obie Awards Held?
The 66th annual Obie Awards were held on February 27, 2023, at 7:30 PM EST. In the past, they have traditionally been held in May.
Where are the Obie Awards Presented?
Since the 2010-2011 season, the Obie awards have been held at Webster Hall in the East Village.
How Do you Attend the Obie Awards?
Here’s the Winner List for the 2023 Obie Awards
At all there are 13 different categories – these are the most important ones:
- Anne Bogart (Director and co-Founder of SITI Company)
- Ping Chong (Director, Choreographer, Video + Installation Artist, and Founder of Ping Chong and Company)
- Ralph Lee and Casey Compton (Artistic and Managing Director, Mettawee River Theatre Company)
Best New American Play
- Sanaz Toossi, English (Atlantic Theater Company)
- Martyna Majok, Sanctuary City (New York Theater Workshop – NYTW)
- Stephanie Berry and Lizan Mitchell, On Sugarland (NYTW)
- Brittany Bradford, Wedding Band (Theatre For a New Audience)
- Kara Young, Twelfth Night (Classical Theatre of Harlem)
- Arturo Luís Soria, Ni Mi Madre (Rattlestick)
- Reza Behjat (Lighting Design), for English (Atlantic Theater Company) and Wish You Were Here (Playwrights Horizons)
FAQ about the Obie Awards
Who hosted the 2023 Obie Awards?
The 2022-2023 was hosted by actress Crystal Lucas-Perry.
Who served as the house band for the 2023 Obie Awards?
Led by Macy Schmidt, the Broadway Sinfonietta dazzled the evening as the house band. This orchestra is an all-women group, with the majority of these women being people of color.
Can you watch past Obie Awards?
Past seasons of the Obie Awards are available for watch on the American Theatre Wing’s YouTube channel.
Are there any live performances at the Obie Awards?
Yes! In 2023, it was the first time the awards were held in person since pre-pandemic, and they had a wonderful lineup.
Performers and presenters included:
- The Bengsons
- Alana Raquel Bowers
- Heather Christian
- Darius de Haas
- Lena Hall
- Crystal Lucas-Perry
- Grace McLean
- Christopher Ramirez
- Shaina Taub
- And more!
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