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Obie Awards

I like a show to unfold and keep presenting itself, surprising you.
Tommy Tune

Honoring off-Broadway theatre, preserving the spirit that began the downtown theatre movement

About The Obie Awards

The Obie Awards honor the highest calibre of off-Broadway and off-off Broadway theatre to recognize brave work, champion new material, and advance careers in theatre.

For more than sixty years, the Village Voice has put off and off-off Broadway on the map by recognizing the artistic power of downtown theatre. The Voice was a forum for heated artistic discussion, including theatre reviews, that sparked awareness and excitement for New York’s emerging theatre movement. Alongside the publication, The Voice developed the Obie Awards in 1955 to celebrate the important work being staged south of Broadway. The Obie Awards honor the boundary-pushing theatre seen in the city’s intimate performing spaces, supporting an incubator for emerging work, with an award that validates off-Broadway as a league of its own.

Upheld today, the Obie award categories were made purposefully informal to create limitless possibilities for recognizing personas and productions worthy of distinction. The loose nature of the Obies foster an award ceremony that is as spirited as the people who began the downtown theatre movement more than sixty years ago. In 2015, American Theatre Wing joined the Village Voice to co-present The Obies with the mission to celebrate the diverse artists who bring important, progressive work to every New York City stage.


The 65th Annual Obie Awards, was held as a virtual event on YouTube hosted by Cole Escola on Tuesday July 14th at 8pm ET.

The show featured special guest presenters Cynthia Erivo, LaTanya Richardson Jackson and Heidi Schreck, among others, as well as an encore presentation from the Obie Award-winning production of Fela!, featuring Obie Award-winner Saycon Sengbloh and Sahr Ngaujah. Playwright Michael R. Jackson shared a special performance of “Memory Song” from A Strange Loop.

Members of the York Theatre Company revival of Merrily We Roll Along joined by members of the original Broadway and 2019 Fiasco Theater revival casts for a special performance of “Our Time” in celebration of the 25th Anniversary of its Obie Award wins. Songwriter and performer Shaina Taub (The Devil Wears Prada, Suffragist) performed during the In Memoriam. 

Before the show, Saycon Sengbloh, Broadway actress, pop/soul sensation N’Kenge, Obie Award-winner LaChanze and her daughter, Celia Rose Gooding (Broadway’s Jagged Little Pill), accompanied by Adam Michael Tilford and Kenney M. Green from Marie’s Crisis joined the American Theatre Wing in raising a glass to the 2019-20 Off- and Off-Off-Broadway season with a sing-a-long. At 6:00pm, Saycon and N’Kenge kick-offed the pre-show festivities. LaChanze and Celia joined at 7:00pm to chat with guests and give a special live performance. The pre-show fundraiser, sponsored by Art Lab, supported the Wing’s efforts to support and sustain the theatre community in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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