The Irish Rule the 1956-57 Obies


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May 29, 1957, Vol. II, No. 31

Obies 1956-1957

A Colleen won the top award for actresses. A famous Irishman named James Joyce wrote the play that carried off no less than four Voice “Obies” — one for the show itself, three for members of its cast. Another Irishman named O’Casey, and still others named Shaw and Oscar Wilde, also figured in the prize-giving. The liquid refreshments, finally, were vodka — a subversive note — and Irish Coffee, which is coffee plus Irish whiskey. It should have been held on March 17. But it was held on Sunday afternoon last, in the Limelight, with 300 enthusiasts looking on, and now the 2nd Annual “Obies” are history.

Geraldine Page gave away the awards, beautifully gowned in linen and capped in straw, while WOR’s Jean Shepherd deftly handled the preliminaries and postscripts. The Post’s Frances Herridge was on hand, sharing the rostrum as one of this year’s judges. Judge Jose Quintero sent a cablegram of congratulations from Paris.

Another wire came from the Colleen — Colleen Dewhurst, year’s Best Actress, unable to break away from a summer-stock performance in New Hope. “My cup,” said her telegram, “runneth over. Believe me when I say, happy the girl the sun shines on today.”

Best Actor: William Smithers (“The Sea Gull”)
Best Actress: Colleen Dewhurst (“The Taming of the Shrew,” “The Eagle Has Two Heads,” “Camille”)
Best Director: Gene Frankel (“Volpone”)
Best All-Around Production: “Exiles,” Produced by Daniel S. Brown and Barry Fredrik
Best New Play: “A House Remembered,” by Louis A. Lippa
Distinguished Performances (Actresses): Marguerite Lenert (“House of Breath”), Betty Miller (“Exiles”), Jutta Wolf (“Exiles”)
Distinguished Performances (Actors): Thayer David (“Saint Joan,” “Oscar Wilde”), Michael Kane (“Exiles”), Arthur Malet (“Volpone,” “The Misanthrope,” “The Apollo of Bellac”)
Special Citation: Paul Shyre, for bringing O’Casey to Off Broadway; for his adaptations of “I Knock at the Door,” “Pictures in the Hallway,” and “USA”

[Each weekday morning, we post an excerpt from another issue of the Voice, going in order from our oldest archives. Visit our Clip Job archive page to see excerpts back to 1956.]