Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

HAMILTON, James Houghton, Usman Ally, Ayad Akhtar, Stephen McKinley Henderson, John Douglas Thompson and Suzan-Lori Parks among 2015 Obie Award Winners

Renée Elise Goldsberry plays Angelica Schuyler, Lin-Manuel Miranda plays Alexander Hamilton, and Phillipa Soo plays Eliza Hamilton in Hamilton. (© Joan Marcus)

Renée Elise Goldsberry plays Angelica Schuyler, Lin-Manuel Miranda plays Alexander Hamilton, and Phillipa Soo plays Eliza Hamilton in Hamilton.
(© Joan Marcus)

Lea DeLaria (“Orange is the New Black”) hosted the 60th Annual OBIE Awards ceremony on May 18, 2015, at downtown’s Webster Hall, marking the first year that the Off Broadway-centric Obies, originated by the Village Voice, were co-presented by the American Theater Wing, the New York nonprofit that also co-presents the Tony Awards.

James Houghton. Photo by Lia Chang

James Houghton. Photo by Lia Chang

The Public Theater’s Hamilton by Lin-Manuel Miranda (including special citations for Andy Blankenbuehler, Thomas Kail, and Alex Lacamoire) received the OBIE Award for Best New American Theatre Work, which is accompanied by a $1,000 check.

Ruthie Ann Miles, Helen Mirren, Kristin Chenoweth, Alex Sharp, Andy Karl, Annaleigh Ashford, Richard McCabe, Robert Fairchild Among 2015 Outer Critics Circle Winners; Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time Leads with 5; An American in Paris wins 4, The King and I and Hamilton Each Receive 3 
World Premiere Musical HAMILTON Transfers to Broadway; Previews begin July 13

The Signature Theatre’s Founding Artistic Director James Houghton received the OBIE Award for Sustained Achievement.

Signature Theatre Company’s Founding Artistic Director James Houghton To Step Down After 2015-16 25th Anniversary Season

Presenters included Sting, Jesse Eisenberg, OBIE Award winner Stockard Channing, Billy Crudup, two-time OBIE Award winner Tommy Tune, T.R. Knight, three-time OBIE Award winner Tony Kushner, OBIE Award winner LaChanze, two-time OBIE Award winner Lisa Kron, artist Bradley Theodore, OBIE Award winner William Ivey Long, and Village Voice editor-in-chief Tom Finkel. The evening also included special performances by 2015 Tony Award® nominee Michael Cerveris who celebrated the 60th Anniversary of the first musical to win an OBIE Award, The Threepenny Opera, by performing “The Ballad of Mack the Knife,” and Natalie Cortez who honored the 40th Anniversary of A Chorus Line by performing “What I Did For Love”.

Malena Mai and her husband Obie Award winner Usman Ally at the 60th Annual Obie Awards at Webster Hall in New York on May 18, 2015. Photo courtesy of Usman Ally/Facebook

Malena Mai and her husband Obie Award winner Usman Ally at the 60th Annual Obie Awards at Webster Hall in New York on May 18, 2015. Photo courtesy of Usman Ally/Facebook

2015 OBIE AWARD WINNERS:

Performance

Usman Ally, The Invisible Hand (New York Theatre Workshop)

Firdous Bamji, Indian Ink (Roundabout Theatre Company)

Brooke Bloom, You Got Older (Page 73 & HERE Arts Center)

Stephen McKinley Henderson, Between Riverside and Crazy (Atlantic Theater Company & Second Stage Theatre)

April Matthis, Sustained Excellence of Performance

John Douglas Thompson, Tamburlaine (Theatre for a New Audience) & The Iceman Cometh (BAM)

Stephen McKinley Henderson and Ron Cephas Jones. ©2015, Carol Rosegg

Stephen McKinley Henderson and Ron Cephas Jones. ©2015, Carol Rosegg

Stephen Adly Guirgis’ Between Riverside and Crazy Garners 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Drama 

Playwriting

Ayad Akhtar, The Invisible Hand (New York Theatre Workshop)

Clare Barron, You Got Older (Page 73 & HERE Arts Center)

Suzan-Lori Parks, Father Comes Home From the Wars Parts I, II, & III (The Public Theater)

Direction

Trip Cullman, Punk Rock (MCC Theater)

Anne Kauffman, Sustained Excellence of Direction

Darko Tresnjak, The Killer (Theatre for a New Audience)

Design

Abigail DeVille, Prophetika: An Oratorio (La MaMa)

Christine Jones, Sustained Excellence of Set Design

Ben Stanton, Sustained Excellence of Lighting Design

Japhy Weideman, Sustained Excellence of Lighting Design

New Georges Producing Artistic Director Susan Bernfield is flanked by Kate Benson (writer), and Lee Sunday Evans (director) of A Beautiful Day in November on the Banks of the Greatest of the Great Lakes who received special citations at the 2015 Obie Awards at Webster Hall in New York on May 18, 2015. Photo courtesy of Susan Bernfield/Facebook

New Georges Producing Artistic Director Susan Bernfield is flanked by Kate Benson (writer), and Lee Sunday Evans (director) of A Beautiful Day in November on the Banks of the Greatest of the Great Lakes who received special citations at the 2015 Obie Awards at Webster Hall in New York on May 18, 2015. Photo courtesy of Susan Bernfield/Facebook

Special Citations

Kate Benson (writer) and Lee Sunday Evans (director), A Beautiful Day in November on the Banks of the Greatest of the Great Lakes (New Georges)

Bootycandy at the Obie awards at Webster Hall in New York on May 18, 2015. Photo courtesy of Obie Awards/Facebook

Bootycandy at the Obie awards at Webster Hall in New York on May 18, 2015. Photo courtesy of Obie Awards/Facebook

Bootycandy, writer/director Robert O’Hara, actors Philip James Brannon, Jessica Frances Dukes, Jesse Pennington, Benja Kay Thomas, Lance Coadie Williams (Playwrights Horizons)

Catch (performance series), Andrew Dinwiddie, Caleb Hammons, Jeff Larson

Bridget Everett, Rock Bottom (Public Theater)

Bush Moukarzel and Dead Centre, Lippy (Abrons Arts Center)

Andrew Schneider, Youarenowhere (PS 122 / COIL Festival)

OBIE Grants ($2,500 to each theater)

Horse Trade Theater Group / The Fire This Time Festival

Horse Trade Theater Group / The Fire This Time Festival  receives a $2,500 OBIE Grant at the 2015 Obie Awards at Webster Hall in New York on May 18, 2015. Photo courtesy of Horse Trade Theater Group/Facebook

Horse Trade Theater Group / The Fire This Time Festival receives a $2,500 OBIE Grant at the 2015 Obie Awards at Webster Hall in New York on May 18, 2015. Photo courtesy of Horse Trade Theater Group/Facebook

JACK (Arts Center)

The Ross Wetzsteon Award (includes $1,000 check)

Ars Nova

Best New American Theatre Work (includes $1,000 check)

Hamilton by Lin-Manuel Miranda, choreography by Andy Blankenbuehler, direction by Thomas Kail, arrangements/orchestrations/music direction by Alex Lacamoire (The Public Theater)

Sustained Achievement Award

James Houghton

The American Theatre Wing has entered into a partnership with the Village Voice to co-present The OBIE Awards, Off Broadway’s Highest Honor. The 60th Annual OBIE Awards judging panel was led by longtime OBIE Committee Chairman Michael Feingold and included playwright Adam Bock, orchestrator Bruce Coughlin, director Lear deBessonet, scenic designer Mimi Lien, critic David Rooney, Village Voice critic Tom Sellar, and director Liesl Tommy.

For more information, visit www.ObieAwards.com.

The Village Voice created The OBIE Awards, at the urging of then editor Jerry Tallmer, soon after the publication’s own inception in 1955, to encourage the newly burgeoning Off Broadway theater movement and to acknowledge its achievements. The OBIES are structured with informal categories, to recognize artists and productions worthy of distinction in each theatrical year. Over the decades, the OBIE Awards have played a major role in the Voice’s long history of championing work of innovative and exceptional quality Off and Off-Off Broadway. The Village Voice put the new downtown theater movement on the map with its in-depth coverage, becoming a forum for conflicting viewpoints which helped generate excitement over new works and new approaches to theater-making. The OBIES have become a theatrical tradition, a meaningful way to acknowledge the best artistic achievements of downtown theater. The list of actors, writers, directors, and designers who have received OBIES at pivotal moments in their careers is a virtual who’s who of contemporary theater. While the categories of the awards have continued to change almost annually, the creative spirit remains the same. The OBIE Awards continue to salute a theatrical movement that’s as important, and as vibrant, today as it was in 1955.

The American Theatre Wing (William Ivey Long, Chairman, Board of Trustees; Heather Hitchens, President) is dedicated to advancing artistic excellence and nurturing theatre’s next generation: on the stage, behind the scenes, and in the audience. For nearly a century, the Wing has pursued this mission with programs that span the nation to invest in the growth and evolution of American Theatre. Traditionally, the Wing has encouraged members of the theatre community to share their off-stage time and talent directly with the theatre audience at large–whether it was singing for the troops in the Stage Door Canteen of the 1940’s, or sharing their stories on a podcast today. As the founders of The Tony Awards®, the American Theatre Wing has developed the foremost national platform for the recognition of theatrical achievement on Broadway. Yet the Wing’s reach extends beyond Broadway and beyond New York. The Wing develops the next generation of theatre professionals through the SpringboardNYC and Theatre Intern Network programs, incubates innovative theatre across the country through the National Theatre Company Grants, fosters the song of American theatre through the Jonathan Larson Grants, honors the best in New York theatrical design with the Henry Hewes Design Award, and illuminates the creative process through the “Working in the Theatre” program and media archive. The American Theatre Wing has also entered into a long-term partnership with The Village Voice to co-present The OBIE Awards, Off Broadway’s Highest Honor, beginning this year, which will mark the Award’s 60th Anniversary in May 2015. Visitors to americantheatrewing.org can get inspired and gain insight into the artistic process through the Wing’s extensive media collection, and learn more about its programming for students, aspiring and working professionals, and audiences.

Celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2015, the Village Voice proudly carries on the tradition of passionate, high-spirited journalism it introduced to New York readers in 1955. The recipient of three Pulitzer Prizes, the National Press Foundation Award, and the George Polk Award, the nation’s first alternative weekly remains a vigilant investigative watchdog and a go-to source for coverage of New York’s vast cultural landscape in the digital age. The Voice’s in-depth news writing and incisive arts, culture, music, film, and theater criticism provide readers with an indispensable perspective on the workings of the world’s most vibrant city. Updated throughout the day, the Voice’s website, http://www.villagevoice.com, has twice been recognized as one of the nation’s premier online sites for journalistic quality and local content. The site is a past winner of both the National Press Foundation’s Online Journalism Award and Editor & Publisher’s Eppy Award for Best Overall U.S. Weekly Newspaper Online. The Village Voice has independently produced and created such celebrated events as Choice Eats, 4Knots Music Festival, Choice Streets, Brooklyn Pour, and Holiday Spirits, as well as the most anticipated special issues of the year, including the annual Pazz and Jop music critics’ poll and the Best of NYC.

cropped-lia-chang_photo-by-carlos-flores-3.jpgLia Chang is an actor, a performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon and Taxman. She has guest starred on “One Life to Live,” “As the World Turns,” and “New York Undercover.” Lia starred as Carole Barbara in Lorey Hayes’ Power Play at the National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, N.C., with Pauletta Pearson Washington and Roscoe Orman. She is profiled in Jade Magazine.

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Crafting a Career

Click here  for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.
All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2015 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

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This entry was posted on May 19, 2015 by in Awards, Entertainment, New York, Theater and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .