Monday Night, May 23 the 61st Annual Obie Awards took place at Webster Hall in New York City. Co-sponsored by the American Theatre Wing and The Village Voice (Peter Barbey, Owner) the Obies celebrate innovation and excellence in Off-Broadway and Off-Off-Broadway theater.

The winner this year of the Obie Award® (which comes with a $1,000 prize) for Best New American play was Rajiv Joseph’s Guards at the Taj, produced by the Atlantic Theater Company. Legendary actor/dancer/choreographer Carmen de Lavallade and renowned playwright A.R. Gurney each received a special Obie Award® for Lifetime Achievement. Obie and Screen Actors Guild® Award-winning actress Lea DeLaria returned as host of this year’s ceremony, which was held at Webster Hall (125 East 11th Street). A complete list of the awards is given below.

This year’s presenters included Obie Award® winner Colman Domingo, Obie Award® winner Danai Gurira, Maura Tierney, Kate Burton, Obie Award® winner Savion Glover, three-time Obie Award® winner Elizabeth Marvel, Carrie Preston, Norm Lewis, Obie Award® winner Tovah Feldshuh, Marlo Thomas, two-time Obie Award® winner Lisa Kron, three-time Obie Award® winner David Henry Hwang, Jordan Roth, and Natasha Katz.


  • Lucas Hnath, The Christians (Playwrights Horizons) and Red Speedo (New YorkTheatre Workshop)
  • Stephen Karam, The Humans (Roundabout Theatre Company)

Musical Theater

  • Steven Levenson (book), Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (music & lyrics), Dear EvanHansen (Second Stage Theatre)


  • Rachel Chavkin, The Royale (Lincoln Center Theater)
  • Michael Leibenluft, I’ll Never Love Again (Bushwick Starr)


  • Khris Davis, The Royale (Lincoln Center Theater)
  • Emily Donahoe, The Christians (Playwrights Horizons)
  • Georgia Engel, John (Signature Theatre Company)
  • Ensemble, Eclipsed (The Public Theater): Pascale Armand, Akosua Busia, Zainab
  • Jah, Lupita Nyong’o, Saycon Sengbloh
  • Jayne Houdyshell, The Humans (Roundabout Theatre Company)
  • Omar Metwally and Arian Moayed, Guards at the Taj (Atlantic Theater Company)
  • Ben Platt, Dear Evan Hansen (Second Stage Theatre)
  • Lucas Caleb Rooney, Red Speedo (New York Theatre Workshop)
  • Tamara Tunie, Familiar (Playwrights Horizons)


  • Rachel Hauck, Sustained Excellence of Set Design
  • Jason Lyons, Sustained Excellence of Lighting Design
  • James Ortiz, Puppet Design, The Woodsman (New World Stages)
  • Bray Poor, Sustained Excellence of Sound Design
  • Kaye Voyce, Sustained Excellence of Costume Design

Special Citations: Collaboration

  • Annie Baker (playwright), Sam Gold (director), and the design team of John
  • (Signature Theatre Company): Mark Barton (lighting), Ásta Bennie Hostetter (costumes), Mimi Lien (set), Noah Mease (props), Bray Poor (sound)
  • Dominique Morisseau (playwright) and Ruben Santiago-Hudson (director), Skeleton Crew (Atlantic Theater Company)

Obie Grants ($4,000 prize to each theater)

  • Bedlam Theatre
  • Noor Theatre
  • Prospect Theatre Company

The Ross Wetzsteon Award ($3,000 prize)

  • NAATCO/National Asian American Theatre Company


Best New American Play ($1,000 prize)

  • Guards at the Taj by Rajiv Joseph (Atlantic Theatre Company)

Lifetime Achievement Award

  • Carmen de Lavallade
  • A.R. Gurney

The Obie Award judges panel for this season, headed by Village Voice columnist and longtime Obie chairman Michael Feingold, included Obie-winning actress Quincy Tyler Bernstine, Obie-winning director Oliver Butler, Obie-winning costume designer Clint Ramos, Obie-winning actress Juliet Rylance, Variety senior critic Marilyn Stasio, and freelance theatre critic Michael Sommers.

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