1980s Featured Image

The 1980s saw the beginnings of new playwrights like Christopher Durang, Harvey Fierstein, and David Henry Hwang, all receiving Obie Awards.

Meryl Streep and Morgan Freeman joined the Obies family winnings Obies in performance.


Best New American Play

  • Maria Irene Fornes

    The Conduct of Life

Obie Grant

  • The Split Britches Company

  • The Richard Allen Center

  • The Production Company

  • Spiderwoman Theatre

  • Intar


  • William M. Hoffman

    As Is

  • Rosalyn Drexler

    Transients Welcome

  • Christopher Durang

    The Marriage of Bette and Boo

Sustained Achievement

  • Meredith Monk


  • Ron Vawter

    Sustained Excellence in Performance

  • Laurie Metcalf

    Balm in Gilead

  • Jonathan Hadary

    As Is

  • John Turturro

    Danny and the Deep Blue Sea

  • Frances Foster

    Sustained Excellence of Performance

  • Dennis Boutsikaris

    The Nest of the Woodgrouse

  • Anthony Heald

    Henry V, The Foreigner and Digby

Ensemble Performance

  • The cast of The Marriage of Bette and Boo

  • Charles Ludlam and Everett Quinton

    The Mystery of Irma Vep


  • Peter Gordon


  • Max Roach



  • Victor En Yu Tan

    for Lighting Design

  • Judy Dearing

    for Costume Design

  • Loren Sherman

    for Set Design


  • John Malkovich

    Balm in Gilead

  • Jerry Zaks

    "The Foreigner" and "The Marriage of Bette and Boo"

  • Barbara Vann

    Bound to Rise

Special Citations

  • The Roy Hart Theater for Pagliacci

    "An Evening with Ekkard Schall"

  • The Asia Society

  • Spalding Gray

    Swimming to Cambodia

  • Penn and Teller

  • Julie Taymor

Obie Committee

  • Ross Wetzsteon, Eileen Blumenthal, Michael Feingold, Robert Massa, Erika Munk, Julius Novick, Woodie King, Margot Lewitin

Hosts & Presenters


Ellen Stewart


Harvey Fierstein