Gotham ordered up another round of legit kudos Monday night, when two orgs — the Off Broadway-centric Obies and the Theater World Awards, given to a dozen thesps making their Broadway or Off Broadway debuts — announced their winners.
Biggest names to nab honors were Fantasia Barrino, the “American Idol” alum who garnered gushy reviews last week for her turn in “The Color Purple,” and Bill Nighy, who co-starred in “The Vertical Hour” on Broadway earlier this season. Each won a Theater World Award.
“The Thugs” did well at the Obies, with scribe Adam Bock and helmer Anne Kaufman picking up awards for writing and directing, respectively. Thesp Nilaja Sun, whose solo show “No Child …” has been running Off Broadway for about a year, scored acting kudos from both the Obies and the Theater World, and Lin-Manuel Miranda, the composer-thesp behind Off Broadway tuner “In the Heights,” nabbed an Obie for his score and a Theater World for his perf in the show.
A loose, ever-changing collection of honors for which no nominations are announced, the Obies included lifetime achievement laurels for actor Alvin Epstein, a $1,000 emerging playwright prize for Young Jean Lee (“Songs of the Dragon Flying to Heaven”) and a $2,000 award for developing new plays for Off Broadway’s Rattlestick Theater.
Obies also handed out $10,000, divided among Transport Group (which also scored a special Drama Desk award for its work), Peculiar Works Project, Synapse Prods. and the Play Company.
Actors to get Obie attention included Michael Stuhlbarg (“The Voysey Inheritance”), David Greenspan (“Faust,” “Some Men”) and the ensemble of “Tale of 2Cities”. Directors honored included Chay Yew (“Durango”) and Lou Bellamy (“Two Trains Running”).
Michael Friedman, composer of upcoming Playwright Horizons tuner “Saved,” won an award for sustained excellence in music, and choreographer Bill T. Jones won for his work in “Spring Awakening.”
Tony nominees who scored Theater World Awards were Eve Best (“A Moon for the Misbegotten”), Xanthe Elbrick (“Coram Boy”), Gavin Lee (“Mary Poppins”), Stark Sands (“Journey’s End”) and Jonathan Groff (“Spring Awakening”).
Obies, administered by the Village Voice, are chaired by Voice critic Michael Feingold, overseeing a committee of judges including composer-scribe Kirsten Childs, playwright Adam Rapp and New York magazine critic Jeremy McCarter.
Team picking the Theater World Awards included legit journos Linda Winer (Newsday), Michael Sommers (Newhouse Newspapers) and Frank Scheck (New York Post).
Obies were given out at a ceremony at NYU’s Skirball Center in downtown Gotham. Theater World Awards have skedded its shindig for June 5.