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'Law & Order' Star Wins Obie, Too

Obie winner S. Epatha Merkerson in the title role of the off-Broadway play, "Birdie Blue."
AP Photo/The Publicity Office
Actress S. Epatha Merkerson has won numerous awards so far in 2006, including a Golden Globe for her work on television. The "Law & Order" star added an Obie to her trophy collection on Monday night for her off-Broadway performance in "Birdie Blue."

Merkerson was one of 17 actors who received performance awards at the 51st Annual Village Voice Obie Award ceremony in New York on May 15. The event was hosted by Lili Taylor and Eric Bogosian and featured Merkerson and Phylicia Rashad among the presenters.

2Other actors who received performance awards included Christine Ebersole for "Grey Gardens" and Dana Ivey for "Mrs. Warren's Profession."

Directors Daniel Sullivan and John Clancy each won awards, as did playwrights Rolin Jones and Martin McDonagh.

The evening's highest honor went to 90-year-old theater scholar, critic, and playwright Eric Bentley, who was saluted for his multi-decade devotion to the theater.

The judges for this season were Lynn Nottage, Didi O'Connell, David Herskovits, Eduardo Machado, Marc Robinson, Voice, critics Michael Feingold, Alexis Soloski and Village Voice theater editor and Obie Chairman, Jorge Morales.

51st ANNUAL OBIE AWARDS WINNERS LIST

PERFORMANCE
S. Epatha Merkerson — "Birdie Blue""
Ari Fliakos — "Poor Theater: A Series of Simulacra"
Scott Shepherd — "Poor Theater: A Series of Simulacra"
Gary Wilmes — "Red Light Winter"
Dana Ivey — "Mrs. Warren's Profession"
Christine Ebersole — "Grey Gardens"
Euan Morton — "Measure for Pleasure"
Lois Smith — "The Trip to Bountiful"
Edwin Lee Gibson — "The Seven"
Sherie Rene Scott — "Landscape of the Body"
Julie White — "The Little Dog Laughed"
Peter Francis James — "Stuff Happens"
Byron Jennings — "Stuff Happens"
Marin Ireland — "Cyclone"
Michael Cumpsty — "Hamlet"
Reed Birney — Sustained Excellence of Performance
Meg MacCary — "What Then"

DIRECTION
Daniel Sullivan — for his direction Stuff Happens
John Clancy — for Sustained Excellence of Direction

PLAYWRITING
Rolin Jones — "Intelligent Design of Jenny Chow"
Martin McDonagh — "The Lieutenant Of Inishmore"

DESIGN
Anita Yavich — Sustained Excellence of Costume Design
Allen Moyer — Sustained Excellence of Set Design
NTUSA — Design of "Abacus Black Strikes Now"

SPECIAL CITATIONS
Nikkole Salter
"In the Continuum"

Danai Gurira
"In the Continuum"

Robert O'Hara
"In the Continuum"

Adam Rapp
"Red Light Winter"

Jane Moss, Jon Nakagawa, Ricky Ian Gordon and Doug Varone
"Orpheus and Euridyce"

Hunter Bell, Jeff Bowen & Michael Berresse
"[title of show]"

THE ROSS WETZSTEON MEMORIAL AWARD ($2,000 Grant)
Ross Wetzsteon Memorial Award — Soho Repertory Theater

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT
Eric Bentley

EMERGING THEATER GRANTS
Edge Theater Company ($3,000)
Red Bull Theater ($3,000)
Billie Holiday Theatre ($3,000)

EMERGING PLAYWRIGHT GRANTS
Rinne Groff ($1,000)
Neena Beber ($1,000)