Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Live Blogging the Obies

These would have been better if they had actually been sent last night when I was typing them... unfortunately, I had typed in the mail-to-blogger address wrong on my Blackberry and nothing happened. So, here, in digest form, is my "live blogging" of The Village Voice Obie awards for excellence Off and Off-Off Broadway. Where I couldn't understand or hear a name, I have filled in the blanks in [brackets].

7:56pm: In a crush of people @ Webster Hall. Drinks almost impossible to get because the bar is too crowded. Aaron Beall is telling me about his one man Hamlet on a pedicab...as soon as he raises the money for the pedicab ($2000 down, $2000 to go).

8:02pm: Heading upstairs for the awards. And we're walking, we're walking...

8:05pm: $3 per coat to check. Not tipping when we pick up, I guess...

8:08pm: Martha Plimpton, co-host. She's talking but I can't hear her. Sound here by the bar is all about the bar.

8:11pm: First award: Casey Tyler something for Ruined (will Google her later) [Quincy Tyler Bernstine]

8:16pm: Next award: Another for Ruined... Ms. Edwards? It's hard to hear... [Saidah Arrika Ekulona]

8:19pm: John Gilman was flirting with Catherine so I missed the name of the next award. [Russell Gebert Jones won the award, another for Ruined.]

8:23pm: Another for Ruined. Ralph's fault: asking me the name of an actor we worked with in '91. Who remembers that? [Almost certainly this is when Lynn Nottage got her award for Best New American Play... but at the bar, I couldn't tell]

8:26pm: Lifeime achievement to Earl Hyman: well deserved!

8:42pm: More Obies. Earl Hyman made a great speech in support of public libraries and theater. I remember that the bad thing about the Obies at Webster Hall is the loud people at the bar (where I am, unable to hear) and the good thing is the bar (where we can get drinks during the long, long show). John Shea is going to present 4 awards now.

Stephen Sondheim gets one for Road Show. My musical theater hero.

8:54pm: Katie Mitchell for [directing] The Waves. Our Town (an amazing production) director David Cromer. Catherine at the bar with Kristin Marting (deja vu). This is hard to do on a Blackberry. Sara Benson and Louisa Thompson for a title I missed at Soho Rep (too much screaming); duh: it's Sara Kane's Blasted.

8:59pm: We continue... Everyone talking: missed this woman's name and why she won. She's cute. [most likely it was Birgit Huppuch for Telephone]

9:01pm: Have a seat now, away from the bar. Let's see if it's better. Sustained excellence award to Kevin T. Carroll.

9:11pm: Much better sitting! Francois Battiste for The Good Negro. Then the star of Fela! whose name I couldn't hear [Sahr Ngaujah] but I agree: he was amazing.

9:15pm: And on we go... James Sugg for Chekhov\Lizardbrain (another fantastic production), so well deserved! He gave a shout out to Robert and Soho Think Tank. Lorenzo Pisoni's phenomenal performance just won (another well earned award).

9:25pm: Too fast to keep up... Costumer Toni-Leslie James for sustained achievement. Sponsor thanks to Macys, Virgin America, Metro PCS, Sierra Nevada, Fragoli, Harlequin Books, Likeme.net...blah blah blah. The moment of silence for the recently departed from Michael Feingold.

9:38pm: Back again. Ross Wetzsteon Award to HERE Arts Center (yeah Kristin)! Theater grants to Classical Theater of Harlem (another well deserved); The Chocolate Factory (a very well deserved award); Lark Play Development Center.

9:57pm: Are we there yet, Obies? We should be winding down now, rounding the clubhouse turn...

There's some loud music beneath us somewhere.

David Korins for sustained excellence in set design. Hamlet director David Esbjornsen and actor (missed the name) [Christian Camargo]. Director of Telephone (yelling everywhere around me way too loud to hear name) [Ken Rus Schmoll]. Aaron Monaghan for acting in The Cripple of Inishmaan. John Douglas Thompson in Othello (a very good performance; for my money, Chair was a better production). Missed a name but I saw him in the Craig Lucas play at Playwrights' [Jonathan Groff; I think I should have recognized him...].

9:59pm: Daniel Breaker and Martha Plimpton are still talking but it's over!

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