Elaine May! Stacy Keach! Otto Preminger! It’s the 1971 Obies!


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May 27, 1971, Vol. XVI, No. 21

27 Receive ‘Obies’ for ’70-’71
By Clark Whelton

The 16th annual Village Voice Off-Broadway theatre awards were presented last Monday night. A crowd of 700 gathered in the Village Gate to cheer the 27 winners and create a little impromptu theatre of their own. Elaine May, Otto Preminger, and Ossie Davis made the 1970-71 “Obie” presentations, with Miss May acting as mistress of ceremonies, so to speak.

Voice associate editor Ross Wetzteon got the crowd quieted down enough to make a brief welcoming speech and a few introductions. “George C. Scott will not be winning an ‘Obie’ this year,” Wetzsteon said, “although he did win ‘Obies’ in 1958 and 1963, and we’re happy to say that he didn’t turn them down.” After citing former Voice theatre critics Jerry Tallmer and Michael Smith for their work, Wetzsteon brought out the “Obie” judges, who this year were Edith Oliver of the New Yorker, Harold Clurman of the Nation, and John Lahr of The Voice. The judges sat behind a table on stage like a tribunal, with nothing but a stack of “Obies” to shield them from those who may have selected a different list of winners…

Season 1970-1971

Best Play: John Guare (“House of Blue Leaves”)
Best Performance by an Actress: Ruby Dee (“Boesman and Lena”)
Best Performance by an Actor: Jack McGowan (“Beckett”)
Distinguished Playwriting: Ed Bullins (“The Fabulous Miss Marie,” “In New England Winter”)
Distinguished Playwriting: David Rabe (“Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel”)
Distinguished Production: “The Trial of the Catonsville 9”
Distinguished Foreign Plays: Athol Fugard (“Boesman and Lena”), Heathcote Williams (“AC/DC”), Derek Walcott (“Dream on Monkey Mountain”)

Distinguished Performances: Susan Batson (“AC/DC”), Margaret Braidwood (“Saved”), Hector Elizondo (“Steambath”), Donald Ewer (“Saved”), Sonny Jim (“The Fabulous Miss Marie”), Stacy Keach (“Long Day’s Journey Into Night”), Harris Laskawy (“Uncle Vanya”), Joan MacIntosh (“Commune”), William Schallert (“The Trial of the Catonsville 9”), James Woods (“Saved”)

Consistent Excellence of Performance: Kirk Kirksey
Special Citation: “Orlando Furioso”
Best Set: John Scheffler (“AC/DC”)
Distinguished Direction: John Berry (“Boesman and Lena”), John Hirsch (“AC/DC”), Gordon Davidson (“The Trial of the Catonsville 9”), Jeff Bleckner (“Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel”), Larry Kornfeld (“Dracula: Sabbat”)

Judges: Harold Clurman, John Lahr, Edith Oliver

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