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Raunchy Puppet Comedy 'Hand to God' Named Best New Play by Off Broadway Alliance, 'Fun Home' Best New Musical

By Jon Sobel j.sobel@classicalite.com on May 27, 2014 01:22 PM EDT

Unafraid to give the risqué its due, the Off Broadway Alliance has just named as Best New Play Hand to God, Robert Askins's raunchy comedy about religious re-education featuring a puppet that may be possessed by the Devil. The musical Fun Home, based on Alison Bechdel's graphic memoir and already a recipient of Obie and Outer Critics Circle Awards, won Best New Musical.

Perry Street Theatricals' Saint Joan took Best Revival and La Soirée was recognized as Best Unique Theatrical Experience. Hall of Fame Awards went to Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ruth Maleczech and Nicholas Martin.

The Off Broadway Alliance is dedicated to, among other goals, making live theater more accessible to new audiences. It sponsors the well-known 20at20 events which enable theatergoers to buy $20 tickets to many Off-Broadway shows 20 minutes before curtain. It also provides mentorship and guidance for new producers, and created the Off Broadway Economic Impact Report showing that shows produced in theaters with fewer than 500 seats bring hundreds of millions of dollars to the New York City economy annually. The Off Broadway Alliance will present its 2014 awards on Tuesday, June 17.

Hand to God made its Off-Broadway debut this year in an MCC Theater production at The Lucille Lortel. As I wrote about the earlier sold-out Ensemble Studio Theatre production in 2012, "Tyrone [the puppet] lives on Jason's left hand and is such a snarlingly entertaining character that when, at one point, Jason manages to pull Tyrone off and throw him to the floor, I found myself glancing nervously at the lifeless puppet anticipating that he'd spring back to life all on his own."

The play itself has already sprung back, and I'd wager – hand to God – it'll do so again.

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TagsHand to God, Off-Broadway, Off Broadway Alliance, fun home, Puppet, puppetry