Arts Watch: Abrons Arts Center Wins an Obie

From left to right: Abrons Arts Center General Manager Adrian Saldaña, Abrons Artistic Director Jay Wegman (holding the Obie), Henry Street Settlement Executive Director David Garza, and Abrons Operations Manager Rose Ortiz at the 2014 Obie Awards. Photo by Henry Street Settlement.

From left to right: Abrons Arts Center General Manager Adrian Saldaña, Abrons Artistic Director Jay Wegman (holding the Obie), Henry Street Settlement Executive Director David Garza, and Abrons Operations Manager Rose Ortiz at the 2014 Obie Awards.

An exciting note from the Abrons Arts Center — in an announcement today they shared news of their historic Obie win at the 2014 awards ceremony last night:

For the first time in its 99-year history, Henry Street Settlement’s Abrons Arts Center won a prestigious Obie Award at the 59th Annual Obie Awards Ceremony held last night at Webster Hall. The Obie Awards, given annually by the Village Voice, recognize excellence in Off-Broadway and Off-Off Broadway theater.

The Abrons received the Ross Wetzteon Award, presented to a theater that nurtures innovative new plays and artists. A $1,000 grant accompanies the award, which is named for the former theater editor of the Village Voice.

Presenters Betsy Aidem (who made her NYC stage at the Abrons 30 years ago) and Lily Rabe said that the Abrons was recognized for its innovative and accessible productions, residencies and classes. Accepting the award, Jay Wegman, Artistic Director of the Abrons, in a blissfully brief speech (the award was the last given during the evening) thanked the Obie committee and gratefully acknowledged Richard Abrons (himself a noted playwright) and his wife Iris who were in the house. (The generosity of the Abrons’ family has been instrumental in the success of the Arts Center.)

David Garza, Executive Director of Henry Street said, “Winning an Obie Award on the eve of the 100th anniversary of the Arts Center is a wonderful endorsement of our commitment to the arts. Since our founding, Henry Street has made critical investments to create accessibility to the arts, which we believe are as necessary to the human spirit as food, shelter and clothing.”