Cole Escola To Host The 2020 Obie Awards

TheAmerican Theatre Wing and The Village Voice present the 65th annual Obie Awards ceremony tonight, July 14, celebrating the best of Off- and Off-Off-Broadway in the past season cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The virtual event will stream on YouTube starting at 8 PM ET.

 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.

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.

Prior to the event, Broadway alums N’Kenge, Saycon Sengbloh, LaChanze, and Celia Rose Gooding will lead a digital sing-a-long at 6 PM ET with Marie’s Crisis pianists Adam Michael Tilford and Kenney M. Green. Proceeds will support the Wing’s ongoing COVID-19 relief. Among the presenters during the pre-recorded show are Cynthia Erivo, LaTanya Richardson Jackson, and Heidi Schreck.

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Photo: Getty