Off Broadway event also honors actor Earl Hyman
Off Broadway’s 54th Obie Awards honored “Ruined,” “Road Show,” actor Earle Hyman and legit companies Classical Theater of Harlem, the Chocolate Factory and the Lark Play Development Center on Monday.“Ruined,” Lynn Nottage’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play about women in the Congo, picked up the new American play nod, which comes with $1,000 cash prize. Three cast members of the Manhattan Theater Club production — Saidah Arrika Ekulona, Quincy Tyler Bernstine and Russell Gebert Jones — all picked up performance kudos. “Road Show,” the Stephen Sondheim tuner that got a run at the Public Theater earlier this season, won the award for music and lyrics. Legit vet Hyman (“The Cosby Show”), who recently appeared in Classical Theater of Harlem’s staging of “Three Sisters,” picked up the lifetime achievement award. CTH, Chocolate Factory and the Lark each received Obie grants and will divide a $10,000 award equally among them. Here Arts Center received the Ross Wetzsteon Award, which comes with $2,000. Directing laurels went to David Cromer for his well-reviewed staging of “Our Town” now at the Barrow Street Theater; Brit helmer Katie Mitchell for “The Waves,” the National Theater production that did a stint at Lincoln Center; and Ken Rus Schmoll for Foundry Theater’s “Telephone.” Loosely structured Obie Awards, which do not announce nominations, awarded performance honors to about a dozen actors in all, including John Douglas Thompson (“Othello”), Lorenzo Pisoni (“Humor Abuse”), Jonathan Groff (“Prayer for My Enemy,” “The Singing Forest”) and Sahr Ngaujah (“Fela!”). Kevin T. Carroll was honored for sustained excellence. Costume designer Toni-Leslie James (“Wig Out”) and set designer David Korins (“Why Torture Is Wrong, and the People Who Love Them”) each received design nods for sustained excellence, while special citations went to creatives involved in Soho Rep’s “Blasted” and Theater for a New Audience’s “Hamlet.” Administrated by the Village Voice and selected by a team of journalists and legiters, the Obies were hosted by Martha Plimpton (“Pal Joey”) and Daniel Breaker (“Shrek the Musical”) at Gotham’s Webster Hall.