Obie Awards Announce 2023 Judges and Eligibility Details

The American Theatre Wing has unveiled the panel of judges and eligibility details for the 2023 edition of the Obie Awards.

The annual celebration of the best of Off and Off Off Broadway is now in its 67th year. The jury will be co-chaired by Obie-winning director David Mendizábal (“Sanctuary City”) and veteran theater critic Melissa Rose Bernardo.

New 2023 Obie judges are

  • Dede Ayite, an Obie-winning and Tony-nominated costume designer who has worked on “Topdog Underdog” and “American Buffalo”
  • Ty Defoe, writer and Grammy Award winner; Ann C. James, Broadway’s first Black intimacy coordinator for Antoinette Nwandu’s “Pass Over”
  • Florencia Lozano, actor, writer, performance artist who has appeared in “Rinse, Repeat” and “Devil of Choice”
  • Dael Orlandersmith, playwright of “Stoop Stories” and “Yellowman”
  • Carmelita Tropicana, an Obie-winning downtown performance artist.

Returning to the Obie panel are:

  • Wilson Chin, scenic designer for theater, opera, film, and television whose credits include “Cost of Living” and “Next Fall”
  • Obie-winning playwright Haruna Lee (“Suicide Forest”).

“Off and Off Off Broadway are the ground floor of innovation in the theatre and a critical content pipeline to Broadway and regional theatre,” said Heather Hitchens, president and CEO of the American Theatre Wing. “The theatres and theatre artists that makeup Off and Off Off Broadway help define and support the social and economic infrastructure of our diverse New York City neighborhoods.”

Hitchens continued, “The Wing is thrilled to continue to honor and uplift the work of these theaters annually through The Obie Awards. We could not do this without our esteemed panel of judges who go in search of excellence whether it be on an established Off-Broadway stage or in a loft or in a basement. They cover all five boroughs, and no stone goes unturned.”

Mendizábal adds, “This year’s judges represent some of the incredible talent that Off Broadway and Off Off Broadway has nurtured. With a diversity of perspectives in terms of form, aesthetics, and artistic medium, collectively, the judges’ artistic achievements span decades as impactful New York theatermakers working in the American theatre.”

“By season’s end, well over 300 Obie-eligible shows will have opened Off and Off Off Broadway,” Bernardo says. “The range of art on display —from intimate one-person confessionals to splashy musicals, from cutting-edge revivals to bold new American plays —only gets wider and more impressive every year.”

The official 2023 Obie Awards season will include shows that have opened since the last Obies ceremony, beginning Sept. 1, 2022 and going through Aug. 31, 2024. Additional details for the 67th Obie Awards will be announced at a later date. In addition to in-person work, virtual, digital, and audio work that has taken or will take place during this time period will also be eligible for consideration. More than 300 productions are considered each season.