After last year’s stuffy exile at NYU’s Skirball Center, the Village Voice Obie Awards were back at the raucous, open-bar Webster Hall – or rather the Ritz, as Stew, co-creator of the phenomenal Broadway rock musical Passing Strange recalled. For over fifty years, the Obies have honored the best of Off Broadway and Off-Off Broadway theater; coming on the heels of last week's Tony nominee announcement, the awards serve as a pointed reminder that the most exciting theater usually happens far away from the big stages in Times Square.

Of course, that didn’t stop Passing Strange from having a heavy presence last night – the show won two Obies and provided the evening’s mid-point entertainment, performing “We Just Had Sex” and the knockout “Welcome to Amsterdam,” which brought the crowd to their feet and Stew – who started the performance by saying how good it felt to be “drunk downtown” – rolling on the stage in exhilaration.

In accepting the award for best new theater piece (Passing Strange originated Off Broadway at the Public Theater last year), Stew remembered that when he lived on Avenue C years ago he “would walk past the Public Theater and wonder what they were doing in there. And I’m still wondering. I feel like I’m living someone else’s dream; I hope whoever’s dream this is isn’t too mad.” Peruse the full list of winners after the jump.

2008 Obie Award Recipients

Horton Foote, Dividing The Estate
David Henry Hwang, Yellow Face

Krzysztof Warlikowski, Krum
David Cromer, Adding Machine


LisaGay Hamilton, The Ohio State Murders
Kate Mulgrew, Iphigenia 2.0
Francis Jue, Yellow Face
Rebecca Wisocky, Amazons and Their Men
Joel Hatch, Adding Machine
Heidi Schreck, Drum Of The Waves Of Horikawa
Veanne Cox, Sustained Excellence of Performance
Sean McNall, Sustained Excellence of Performance
Ensemble, Passing Strange: (De'Adre Aziza, Daniel Breaker, Eisa Davis, Colman Domingo, Chad Goodridge, Rebecca Naomi Jones, Stew)

Takeshi Kata, Set - Keith Parham, Lighting Design, Adding Machine
Peter Ksander, Scenic Design, Untitled Mars (This Title May Change)
Ben Katchor, Drawings; John Findlay & Jeff Sugg, Set & Projection, Russell H. Champa, Lighting Design, The Slug Bearers Of Kayrol Island
Jane Greenwood,Sustained Excellence of Costume Design
David Zinn, Sustained Excellence of Costume and Set Design

Special Citations

Nature Theater of Oklahoma, No Dice
David Greenspan, The Argument

Best New Theater Piece: $1,000

Stew, Heidi Rodewald, Annie Dorsen, Passing Strange

The Ross Wetzsteon Award $2,000

Cherry Lane Theatre Mentor Project

Lifetime Achievement Award

Adrienne Kennedy

Obie Grants

Keen Company $5,000
Theater of a Two-Headed Calf $5,000