A pair of dancing Hungarian sisters led to a trio of Obie Awards for sometime Austinites Katie Pearl and Lisa D'Amour and their friend and collaborator Kathy Randels.

Nita and Zita and Obie

A pair of dancing Hungarian sisters led to a trio of Obie Awards for sometime Austinites Katie Pearl and Lisa D'Amour and their friend and collaborator Kathy Randels this week. On Monday, May 19, at the 48th annual Obie ceremony, the three received Special Citations for Nita and Zita, their cabaret about Flora and Piroska Gellert, which they brought to Austin in February just prior to its New York run. Randels, D'Amour, and Pearl co-created the piece in New Orleans, where the Gellerts settled after years of touring as a successful dance act in vaudeville and where they became two of that city's legendary characters, "gypsy ladies" who made fanciful costumes and turned their home into a work of art. They premiered the show in New Orleans last June with D'Amour directing Pearl and Randels as Flora and Piroska, dancing, singing, and telling their life story in Eastern European accents as thick as borscht. The show played only one weekend at the HERE Arts Center in New York, but clearly that was enough for the Obie judges to see it and be charmed. The Obie Awards, presented annually by The Village Voice, specifically recognize theatrical work off-Broadway. The number of awards given each year is flexible; 29 special citations were handed out this year, honoring artists for five shows, plus two individuals and one institution for their contributions. Pearl and D'Amour were present when presenters Juliana Francis and John Ortiz announced their names. (Randels has gone to Europe to tour with the DAH Teatar dance troupe.) In an e-mail, D'Amour said that "this award is really a testament to the grassroots, passionate approach to theatremaking in Austin. ... It has taught me so, so much." Coverage of the awards may be found at (P.S. Nita and Zita was also nominated for a 2003 Austin Critics Table Award in the category of Touring Show, Theatre.)

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Articulations
The Harry Ransom Center has acquired all the professional and personal materials of profoundly influential acting teacher Stella Adler

Robert Faires, April 30, 2004

It's the end of an era for the city of Austin's Art in Public Places Program as Martha Peters, administrator of the program for 11 of its 18 years, departs to direct a public art program in Fort Worth.

Robert Faires, July 18, 2003


Obie Awards, Katie Pearl, Lisa D'Amour, Kathy Randels, Nita and Zita, Flora Gellert, Piroska Gellert, Austin Critics Table Award

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle