Amid shock at the furlough of its lead critic, Michael Feingold, the day before, The 58th Annual Village Voice Obie Awards, celebrating achievement in the Off-Broadway and off-off Broadway theater, were given out at a ceremony last night at Webster Hall in Greenwich Village. Published reports described the evening as marked by heartfelt testimponials to Feingold who, while out of a job, soldiered on as emcee of the event.

The other "face" of the Obies, theater editor Brian Parks, had been dropped by the Voice as of Labor Day.

With the Off-Broadway and Downtown Theater community holding its collective breath at the fate of the paper, which was historically a powerful arbiter of taste in that sector, the awards went on, co-hosted by Jessica Hecht and Jeremy Shamos. Awards were presented by Bobby Cannavale, Tracee Chimo, Cyndi Lauper, Judith Light, Krysta Rodriguez, Duncan Sheik, Meryl Streep and Courtney B. Vance.

A medley from the highly acclaimed new Off-Broadway musical, "Here Lies Love," was performed by the cast. The Brazilian jazz-pop group Banda Magda also performed.

The Obies were judged by a committee that included the Voice’s Chief Theater Critc Michael Feingold as Chairman, Voice critic Alexis Soloski as secretary, and the following guest judges: Obie Award-winning playwright Erin Courtney; director-performer Mia Katigbak, Co-Founder of NAATCO; critic and Theater magazine editor Tom Sellar; and Obie Award-winning director Leigh Silverman.

Meryl Streep presented 2013 Obie Awards for Lifetime Achievement to Lois Smith and Frances Sternhagen.

In a tie vote, the judges accorded the award for Best New American Play to Lisa d’Amour’s Detroit (Playwrights Horizons) and Julia Jarcho’s Grimly Handsome (Incubator Arts Project), with each playwright receiving a $500 cash prize.

A complete list of the award winners follows:

Eisa Davis
Sustained Excellence

Brandon J. Dirden
The Piano Lesson (Signature Theatre)

Shuler Hensley
The Whale (Playwrights Horizons)

Matthew Maher
Sustained Excellence

Paul Thureen
Blood Play (The Debate Society/Bushwick Starr)

Ayad Akhtar
Disgraced (LCT3)
Annie Baker
The Flick (Playwrights Horizons)

Lear deBessonet
The Good Person Of Szechuan (Foundry Theatre/La MaMa)

John Rando
All In The Timing (Primary Stages)

Ruben Santiago-Hudson
The Piano Lesson (Signature Theatre)

Eric Ting
We Are Proud To Present A Presentation... (Soho Rep)

Laura Jellinek
Sustained excellence of Set Design

Clint Ramos
Sustained excellence of Costume Design

Special Citations
David Levine and Marsha Ginsberg
HABIT (Crossing the Line Festival/FIAF & PS122)

Dave Malloy and Rachel Chavkin

Nature Theater of Oklahoma
LIFE AND TIMES: EPISODES 1-4 (Public Theater/SoRep)

David Byrne & Fatboy Slim
HERE LIES LOVE (Public Theater)

The Ross Wetzsteon Award (with check for $1000.)
Clubbed Thumb

Fulcrum Theater ($1,000)
Half Straddle ($1,000)

Best New American Play (tie w/$500. to each playwright)
Lisa D’Amour, Detroit
Julia Jarcho, Grimly Handsome

Lifetime Achievement
Lois Smith
Frances Sternhagen

The Village Voice Obie Awards are presented by STELLA ARTOIS and benefiting A.R.T./ New York (Alliance of Residence Theaters). Additional sponsors include Smirnoff Sorbet Light, Academy of Dramatic Arts, Barefoot Wine & Bubbly and Fragoli.


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