Best Actress and Best Actor (2009)

Elizabeth Marvel and Bill Camp

Of all the disciplines within New York theater, we're most loaded with acting talent. How many mediocre plays have we seen rescued by the performers, their creativity and ingenuity elevating the production well beyond its limitations? So it's perhaps unfair to single out a Best Actress or Best Actor from the city's many deserving thespians. But we're going to do it anyway, dammit! Our nod for Best Actress goes to the aptly named Elizabeth Marvel. While not an above-the-title star, the Juilliard grad consistently delivers some of the city's most riveting performances—the three-time Obie winner digs down so deep into her characters that it's frightening. Who can forget her remarkable performance as Hedda Gabler—covered in tomato juice—in Ivo van Hove's 2005 production of Ibsen's classic, or her slow, desperate, naked slide into a bathtub in Van Hove's 2000 deconstruction of A Streetcar Named Desire, both mounted at New York Theatre Workshop? NYTW is also often home to our choice for Best Actor, Bill Camp, who won a 2002 Obie for his role in Tony Kushner's Homebody/Kabul on that East 4th Street stage. Camp specializes in slippery, tormented characters—most recently, he was the Underground Man in Notes From Underground, directed by Robert Woodruff at Yale Rep. It was a grueling portrayal, in the best possible way, and we hope it hits a New York theater soon. Camp is always a pleasure—if sometimes an anguished one—to watch. Why name our Best Actress and Best Actor in the same item? It only seems fitting—Marvel and Camp are married. —Brian Parks


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