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Paula Vogel Will Be Honored for Lifetime Achievement at 2017 Obie Awards

The American Theatre Wing (Heather Hitchens, President) and The Village Voice (Peter Barbey, CEO) have announced that Pulitzer Prize-wining playwright Paula Vogel will receive a special Obie Award for Lifetime Achievement at the 62nd Annual Obie Awards, which will be held on Monday, May 22, 2016 at Webster Hall (125 East 11th Street). Tickets to the 2017 Obie Awards are now available via www.ObieAwards.com.

As was previously announced, Obie and Screen Actors Guild Award-winning actress Lea DeLaria will again return as the host of this year's Obie Awards.

The Obie Award judge's panel for this season include Village Voice columnist and longtime Chair of the Obie Judges Michael Feingold, Obie and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Ayad Akhtar, Entertainment Weekly theater critic Melissa Rose Bernardo, Obie-winning actress J. Smith Cameron, Obie-winning actor-singer Darius de Haas, Village Voice theater critic Miriam Felton-Dansky, and Obie-winning actress Daphne Rubin-Vega.

Paula Vogel made her Broadway debut this season with her newest work, Indecent. The play was commissioned by Oregon Shakespeare Festival's American Revolutions and Yale Repertory Theatre. In close collaboration with director Rebecca Taichman, Indecent was developed at the Sundance Theatre Lab in 2013. It has been produced at Yale Repertory Theatre and La Jolla Playhouse in Fall 2015. It was produced Off-Broadway at the Vineyard Theatre in May 2016 and is currently running on Broadway at the Cort Theatre. Don Juan Comes Home From Iraq, her previous play, was written for the Wilma Company in Philadelphia. With director Blanka Zizka and company members, Paula Vogel conducted interviews with veterans of the Iraq/Afghanistan wars, and received funding from the Pew Charitable Trust and Independence Foundation to conduct a year-long workshop with veterans in Philadelphia. Her play How I Learned to Drive received the 1998 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, the Lortel Prize, Drama Desk, Outer Critics and New York Drama Critics Award for Best Play, as well as winning her second Obie. Most recently it was produced in Mandarin in Beijing. Other plays include the Long Christmas Ride Home, The Mineola Twins, The Baltimore Waltz, Hot'n'throbbing, Desdemona, And Baby Makes Seven, The Oldest Profession, and A Civil War Christmas. In 2004-5 she was playwright in residence at The Signature Theatre. Theatre Communications Group has published four books of her work. In addition, Paula Vogel continues her "bootcamps," playwriting intensives, with community organizations, theatre companies, subscribers and writers across the globe. Her most recent teaching was at Sewanee, Shanghai Theatre Academy and Nanjing University; her upcoming teaching includes University of Texas in Austin, the Playwrights Center in Minneapolis and workshops for neighborhood residents near The Vineyard Theatre in New York. Most recent awards include the American Theatre Hall of Fame, Dramatists Guild Lifetime Achievement Award, the Lily's, the William Inge and the 2015 Thornton Wilder. She is honored to have 3 awards dedicated to emerging playwrights in her name: The American College Theatre Festival, the Paula Vogel Award given annually by the Vineyard Theatre, and the recent Paula Vogel mentor's award by Young Playwrights of Philadelphia. From 1984 to 2008, Paula Vogel founded and ran the playwriting program at Brown University; during that time she started a theatre workshop for women in Maximum Security at the Adults Correction Institute in Cranston, Rhode Island. It continues to this day, sponsored by the Pembroke Center for Women at Brown University. From 2008-2012 she was the O'Neill Chair at Yale School of Drama. She now writes and lives in Wellfleet, Massachusetts.

The Village Voice created the Obie Awards, at the suggestion of then editor Jerry Tallmer, soon after the publication's own inception in 1955, to encourage the newly burgeoning Off Broadway theater movement and to acknowledge its achievements. The Obies are structured with informal categories, to recognize artists and productions worthy of distinction in each theatrical year. Over the decades, the Obie Awards have played a major role in the Voice's long history of championing work of innovative and exceptional quality Off and Off-Off Broadway. The Village Voice put the new downtown theater movement on the map with its in-depth coverage, becoming a forum for conflicting viewpoints which helped generate excitement over new works and new approaches to theater-making. The Obies have become a theatrical tradition, a meaningful way to acknowledge the best artistic achievements of downtown theater. The list of actors, writers, directors, and designers who have received Obies at pivotal moments in their careers is a virtual who's who of contemporary theater. While the categories of the awards have continued to change almost annually, the creative spirit remains the same. The Obie Awards salute a theatrical movement that's as important, and as vibrant, today as it was in 1955.

The American Theatre Wing (Heather Hitchens, President and CEO) is dedicated to advancing artistic excellence and nurturing theatre's next generation: on the stage, behind the scenes, and in the audience. For nearly a century, the Wing has pursued this mission with programs that span the nation to invest in the growth and evolution of American Theatre. Traditionally, the Wing has encouraged members of the theatre community to share their off-stage time and talent directly with the theatre audience at large--whether it was singing for the troops in the Stage Door Canteen of the 1940s, or sharing their stories on a podcast today. As the founders of The Tony Awards®, the American Theatre Wing has developed the foremost national platform for the recognition of theatrical achievement on Broadway. Yet the Wing's reach extends beyond Broadway and beyond New York. The American Theatre Wing is now in a long-term partnership with The Village Voiceto co-present The Obie Awards, off-Broadway's Highest Honor. The Wing also develops the next generation of theatre professionals through the SpringboardNYC and Theatre Intern Network programs, incubates innovative theatre across the country through the National Theatre Company Grants, fosters the song of American theatre through the Jonathan Larson Grants, honors the best in New York theatrical design with the Henry Hewes Design Award, illuminates the creative process through the "Working in the Theatre" program and media archive. Finally, the Wing supports theatre education opportunities for underserved young people and under-resourced public schools around the United States with the newly launched Andrew Lloyd Webber Initiative. Visitors to AmericanTheatreWing.org can gain inspiration and insight into the artistic process through the Wing's extensive media collection, and learn more about its programming for students, aspiring and working professionals, and audiences.

Founded by Dan Wolf, Ed Fancher, and Norman Mailer, The Village Voice was created in 1955 as a platform for the downtown New York creative community. As the nation's first alternative newsweekly, The Village Voice introduced free-form, high-spirited, and passionate journalism into the public discourse. The recipient of three Pulitzer Prizes, the National Press Foundation Award and the George Polk Award, The Village Voice remains a go-to source for coverage of New York's politics and vast cultural landscape. Known for its unique mix of in-depth reporting and incisive arts, culture, music, dance, film, and theater reviews, The Village Voice provides readers with an indispensable perspective on the world's most vibrant city. Winner of the National Press Foundation's Online Journalism Award and the Editor & Publisher EPPY Award for Best Overall U.S. Weekly Newspaper Online, The Village Voice is staging a pivotal digital relaunch in 2017 alongside the relaunch of its newsweekly.


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