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Kushner, Gibson win Obies

Scribes feted while Wolfe, Zimmerman nab helming kudos

NEW YORK — One newcomer and one veteran, Melissa James Gibson and Tony Kushner, took home playwriting trophies at the 47th annual Village Voice Obie awards Monday night. Gibson was honored for the Soho Rep production of “[sic],” Kushner for “Homebody/Kabul,” which was seen at New York Theater Workshop.

Unlike most honors these days, the Obies, which honor achievements in Off and Off Off Broadway theater, do not select single winners in each category.

Citations for performances for the 2001-02 season went to Yvette Ganier for “Breath, Boom”; Jeffrey Wright for “Topdog/Underdog”; Raul Esparza for “Tick, Tick … Boom!”; Martha Plimpton for “Hobson’s Choice”; Christopher Donahue for “Monster”; Linda Emond and Bill Camp for “Homebody/Kabul”; Juliana Francis for “Maria del Bosco”; and Peter Frechette and Reg Rogers for “The Dazzle.”

The ensemble of “Talk” — Reg E. Cathey, Karen Kandel, John Seitz, James Himelsbach, Anthony Mackie and Maria Tucci — also was cited in the performance category.

Directing Obies went to George C. Wolfe for “Topdog/Underdog” and Mary Zimmerman for “Metamorphoses.”

Design awards were presented to Kevin Adams for sustained excellence in lighting design; Whit MacLaughlin for sound design for “The Fab 4 Reach the Pearly Gates”; Angela Moore for set design for “Drummer Wanted”; and Michael Schmelling for lighting design of “Drummer Wanted.”

Special citations were given to the Wooster Group for “To You, the Birdie!”; Daniel Aukin (director) and Louisa Thompson (set designer) for “[sic]”; Ingmar Bergman and the Royal Dramatic Theater of Sweden for “The Ghost Sonata”; Elaine Stritch for “Elaine Stritch at Liberty”; Daniel MacIvor, who wrote, directed and appeared in “In on It”; Charles L. Mee (author) and Les Waters (director) for “Big Love”; A.R.T./New York for support of Off Broadway theater; and Marilys Ernst for her video contributions to “Talk.”

The sustained achievement nod was presented to British playwright Caryl Churchill, whose latest play, “Far Away,” though skedded for the 2001-02 season at New York Theater Workshop, will not be seen in New York until next season.

Grants of $5,000 were given to the Ma-Yi Theater Co. and the Salt Theater Co., while the Ross Wetzsteon Award went to Mark Russell of P.S. 122.

Obie panel comprised Village Voice theater editor Brian Parks (chairman), Voice critics Charles McNulty and Alisa Solomon, performer Darius De Haas, director Michael Greif, Observer critic John Heilpern and Foundry Theater a.d. Melanie Joseph.