Obies 2020 The 2020 Obie Awards will be a virtual event hosted by Cole Escola on the American Theatre Wing's YouTube channel. Date TBA.

Hosts & Presenters

Photo of Cole Escola


Cole Escola

COLE ESCOLA is a comedian, actor, and writer who was named one of the 2014 OUT 100 and Time Out New York's Top Ten Downtown Cabaret Performers. Cole played ‘Matthew’ on Hulu’s DIFFICULT PEOPLE where he also served as a writer. He played ‘Chris’ on MAN SEEKING WOMAN on FXX and recurred on Amazon’s MOZART IN THE JUNGLE. Cole wrote on the Broadway Video series THE OTHER TWO for Comedy Central. He was also the co-creator, writer, and star of the lo-fi cult-hit TV show JEFFREY AND COLE CASSEROLE. Other TV appearances include NURSE JACKIE, LAW AND ORDER, and SMASH. Upcoming, he will appear on seasons 3 and 4 of SEARCH PARTY. He was recently nominated for a 2019 Writers Guild Award for Comedy/Variety Sketch Series for AT HOME WITH AMY SEDARIS on which he both writes and appears. He just released a self-produced sketch comedy special titled "Help! I'm Stuck!" filmed alone in his apartment during quarantine and can be watched on YouTube or his instagram @coleescola.

Event Details


The American Theatre Wing (Heather Hitchens, President & CEO) and The Village Voice (Peter Barbey, CEO) have announced the postponement of the 65th Annual Obie Awards amidst nationwide protests in response to the killing of George Floyd. Details for the rescheduled ceremony, which was scheduled to premiere on YouTube on Thursday, June 4, 2020, will be announced at a later date.

“Our hearts are heavy and our souls are weary. This is a time for reflection and mourning, for action and activism. It is not a time for celebration or diversion,” said Heather Hitchens.

Speaking on behalf of the Wing in an earlier statement, Ms. Hitchens also said, “The most recent examples of racial violence and injustice in America against the black community that culminated in the senseless and unjust killing of George Floyd are devastating and have added to a persistent and truly horrific narrative about who America is as a nation. We, as the leaders of the national theatre community, have a critical role here, to not only to denounce racism of any kind within our communities, but to also support, produce, and promote work that reflects and celebrates our beautifully diverse society, creates new narratives, deepens empathy and understanding, and changes hearts and minds. It is our duty to make sure the black lives in our community are not marginalized or endangered in any way, that they are not silenced or demeaned. The American Theatre Wing stands with communities of color today, tomorrow, and always. Black stories matter. Black opportunities matter. We must all speak out, do better, and drive out hate and prejudice from wherever it hides because all lives will only truly matter when Black lives matter.”


The American Theatre Wing (Heather Hitchens, President & CEO) and The Village Voice (Peter Barbey, CEO) are pleased to announce that the 65th Annual Obie Awards, New York’s preeminent celebration of Off- and Off-Off Broadway theater, will premiere on  The prerecorded ceremony will be hosted by comedian, actor and writer Cole Escola (Hulu’s Difficult People, FXX’s Man Seeking Woman, Amazon Prime’s Mozart in the Jungle), who will also perform with surprise special guests.

“I am honored the American Theatre Wing made the mistake of asking me to host the Obies,” said Escola. “I am so excited to celebrate the great work Off- and Off-Off-Broadway, and to see my name on the Obies Wikipedia page on a list of hosts that includes Elaine May and Shelley Winters.”

During the ceremony, which was originally scheduled to be held on Monday, May 18 at Terminal 5, awards will be handed out for shows that opened between May 1, 2019 and March 12, 2020, in addition to shining a light on the productions that were in rehearsal and performance at the time the theaters closed.

“New York’s Off- and Off- Off- Broadway artists inspire, challenge, spark change and ignite passion. They are the foundation of innovation and a vital part of the fabric of American theatre,” said Hitchens.” This year, the COVID-19 crisis has challenged our community in ways we could have never imagined, but the creativity and collaboration inherent within these artists will enable theatre to ascend once again. The American Theatre Wing honors theatre that impacts the American experience. As the proud co-presenter of the Obie Awards we are privileged to celebrate this incredible work.”

Before the show, Patti LuPone accompanied by Adam Michael Tilford and Kenney M. Green from Marie’s Crisis will join the American Theatre Wing in raising a glass to the 2019-20 Off- and Off-Off-Broadway season with a sing-a-long. Patti will join from her now-famous basement to chat with guests and give a special live performance. The pre-show fundraiser, sponsored by Art Lab, will support the Wing’s efforts to support and sustain the theatre community in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. You can learn more and reserve your spot by visiting

In celebration of the 25th Anniversary of its Obie Award wins, members of the York Theatre revival of Merrily We Roll Along will be joined by members of the original Broadway and 2019 Fiasco Theater revival casts for a special performance of “Our Time.” Songwriter and performer Shaina Taub (The Devil Wears Prada, Suffragist) will perform during the In Memoriam.


The American Theatre Wing and The Village Voice have also announced that Michael Feingold, longtime Village Voice theatre critic and former Obie Chairman, will receive a special citation for his work as a leading voice in theater criticism, his advocacy on behalf of Off- and Off-Off-Broadway, and his 43 years of dedication to the Obie Awards, including twelve as the Chairman.

In addition, the Obies will establish a special citation to be given annually in Mr. Feingold’s name. This award will recognize achievement in criticism, dramaturgy, translation, scholarship, mentorship or education, or for a theatrical contribution which has not been historically acknowledged by major awards.

Two Lifetime Achievement awards will be handed out, to Vinie Burrows, for her radical embrace of art and life, and for the strength and inspiration she has given to the world in a career spanning seven decades; and to Tim Sanford, for his extraordinary contribution to the theater, including 36 years at Playwrights Horizons, first as a literary intern, then as Literary Manager, then as Artistic Director for the past 24 years.


Rachel Hauck (Co-Chair)

Sam Pinkleton (Co-Chair)

Michael Feingold (Chair Emeritus)

David Barbour

Mark Barton

Camille A. Brown

David Greenspan

Jennifer Ikeda

David Mendizábal

Diep Tran

Anne Washburn