Citing the pandemic, this year's Obie Awards will include streaming theater

the Obie Award , an annual ceremony honoring theatrical works made Off and Off Off Broadway, this year for the first time will examine d...


the Obie Award, an annual ceremony honoring theatrical works made Off and Off Off Broadway, this year for the first time will examine digital, audio and other virtual productions.

Administrators of the awards have decided to expand their scope in recognition of the adaptations made by many theater companies during the coronavirus pandemic, which have prevented most New York City theaters from holding in-person performances for at less than a year, and in many cases considerably longer. Many theaters have turned to streaming, and some have experimented with audio.

“We wanted to make sure the work done was eligible,” said Heather Hitchens, president and CEO of the American Theater Wing, who hands out the prizes. “The Obies respond to the season, nature and the changing rhythms of theatre.”

This year’s Obie Awards are set to take place in November, 28 months later the last ceremony, reflecting the extraordinarily disruptive role the pandemic has played in theatrical creation. The ceremony will consider productions presented by Off Broadway and Off Off Broadway theaters between July 1, 2020 and August 31, 2022.

An exact date for the ceremony hasn’t been chosen, but Hitchens said she expects it to be in person (the last one aired) and expects it has a host (or hosts).

This year’s Obie Awards will be the first to be presented solely by the Wing, which also founded and co-hosted the Tony Awards. The Obies were created by The Village Voice and first featured in 1956; in 2014, as The Voice was struggling, it partnered with the Wing to preserve the ceremony, and now The Voice has granted the Obies brand to the Wing, Hitchens said.

The Obies, always a mix of prestige and eccentricity, have long been notable for their lack of defined categories – each year the judges decide what works to recognize, and for what reason. This year’s awards will be chaired by David Mendizábal, one of the leaders of the Movement Theater Company, and Melissa Rose Bernardo, independent theater critic. Judges will understand David Anzuelo, actor and fight choreographer; Becca Blackwell, actor and writer; Wilson Menton, scenographer; Haruna Lee, Playwright; Soraya Nadia McDonald, cultural critic for The Undefeated; Lisa Peterson, director and screenwriter; Heather Alicia Simms, an actress; and Kaye Voyce, costume designer.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Citing the pandemic, this year's Obie Awards will include streaming theater
Citing the pandemic, this year's Obie Awards will include streaming theater
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