April 29, 2023, marks another year of the OBies — a celebratory awards ceremony hosted by BU On Broadway, the “premiere musical theater organization” at Boston University.
The OBies is a night of catered food, fancy outfits and, of course, an award show. It’s a chance to “look back on the year and all four shows that we’ve done,” said Josh Nyland, the vice president of BUOB and a senior in the College of Communication.
“We kind of just tried to honor all of this work that so many people in our membership have put into these productions,” Nyland said.
The OBies are a reflective time for members of BU on Broadway and especially a sentimental night for graduating seniors.
A highly anticipated part of the night is the OBituaries, or “senior roasts,” according to Nyland.
“Their friends come up and they have a prepared little comedy bit,” he said.
This special send-off to seniors is one that many look forward to, as it’s a lighthearted yet sentimental moment of the awards.
“I know some of my friends throughout the year whenever something embarrassing or something funny happened, they’re like, ‘I’m gonna make a note of that,’” he said.
Emmy Sawch, a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences and the vice president of membership, said the awards are a lighthearted celebration of memories made during shows.
“To me, it’s a final time for everyone to be in the same room together and enjoy each other’s presence,” Sawch said.
Sawch said theater relationships are “really weird.” While they’re hard to describe to those who are not a part of the theater community, there’s something special about them.
“You’re forced to get so close to these people, and most of the time it ends up being a wonderful thing,” Sawch said.
At last year’s OBies, CAS sophomore Lily Hall was a recipient of the Best Set Decoration award last year at the OBies. As a member of the tech crew, Hall has faced her fair share of exhaustion.
“We would all just lie on the floor after the show, like on the stage and be like, ‘Oh my God, it’s over. We did that,’” Hall said. “That just became a thing. We would just start lying on the floor everywhere, and I thought that was super funny.”
As someone involved in tech, Hall isn’t involved with the show and the rest of the cast until its last final weeks of rehearsal. Being a part of the OBies tradition is a way to feel valued, even as a freshman, she said.
“That feels really nice to be acknowledged and that people noticed my work and that I’m already like a valued member of the community,” Hall said.
Sawch said the OB experience stretches outside of theater. She said she has seen people take lessons from their experiences “into the outside world” as they apply to jobs that don’t have to do with theater.
“It’s a lot to put on the show and to be all student-run, and I’m very proud of what OB has done,” Sawch said.
The “team-oriented” and “great leadership” culture in OB has left a lasting impression on graduating seniors while also creating a welcoming environment for anyone who decides to join.
“It’s really just a way to honor all of that work and reflect on your personal growth that you got from being in this organization,” Nyland said. “[It’s about] celebrating yourself and celebrating all the people that you got to meet along the way.”