Awards were announced for more than two dozen outstanding actors, directors, designers, ensembles and productions by The Boston Theater Critics Association (BTCA) at The 38th Annual Elliot Norton Awards. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, no live ceremony was held; instead, the awardees were revealed in a virtual ceremony livestreamed on ElliotNortonawards.com.

The Elliot Norton Prize for Sustained Excellence was awarded posthumously to Johnny Lee Davenport, a towering actor on Boston area stages large and small.                A Special Citation was awarded to Shear Madness, the popular audience-participation murder mystery that recently ended a 40-year run at the Charles Playhouse.

Two awards were also given in memory of two actors who passed away this season: Outstanding Actor, Midsize Theater in memory of Gabriel Kuttner, and Outstanding Ensemble, Midsize Theater in memory of Margarita Damaris Martinez.

This year, in place of a scholarship the BTCA made a donation of $2,500 to the Theatre Community Benevolent Fund, which provides financial relief to artists in crisis in Greater Boston.

Joyce Kulhawik, president of the Boston Theater Critics Association, stated, “We never hesitated a second about doing this show virtually! Nothing, not even a global pandemic, could have prevented us from celebrating our brilliant theater community and honoring the outstanding work of the past season. In fact, I am invigorated by the opportunity to expand this community’s reach, and reinvent the communal experience that is theater. I can’t wait to see what these creative artists come up with, and no matter what the “new normal” looks like, we will be there for them!”

The Elliot Norton Awards are presented annually by The Boston Theater Critics Association (Don Aucoin, Jared Bowen, Terry Byrne, Carolyn Clay, Christopher Ehlers, Iris Fanger, Nancy Grossman, Joyce Kulhawik, Kilian Melloy, Bob Nesti and Ed Siegel) to honor the outstanding productions, directors, designers and performers that audiences have seen on greater Boston stages throughout the season.

The Elliot Norton awards are named for the eminent Boston Theater critic Elliot Norton, who remained an active supporter of drama, both locally and nationally, until his death in 2003 at the age of 100. The Boston Theater community carries on his legacy and can be proud of its remarkable growth at a time in our nation’s history when the arts continue the struggle to survive.

Special and honored guests at the awards in past years comprise a Who’s Who of distinguished artists whose work has appeared on Boston’s stages, including: Melinda Lopez, Randy Rainbow, Cherry Jones, Lea DeLaria, Mary Louise Wilson, Olympia Dukakis, Chita Rivera, Tommy Tune, Al Pacino, Edward Albee, Brian Dennehy, August Wilson, Julie Harris, Sir Ian McKellen, Lynn Redgrave and Jason Robards Jr.

For more details on the 38th Annual Elliot Norton Awards, including a full list of awardees and nominees, visit https://www.elliotnortonawards.com


Boston Theater Critics Association 38th Annual Elliot Norton Awards

Elliot Norton Prize for Sustained Excellence

Johnny Lee Davenport

Special Citation

“Shear Madness” which opened in Boston and just ended its 40-year run as one of the longest-running non-musical plays in the world

Outstanding Musical Production

“Parade,” Moonbox Productions

Outstanding Production, Large Theater

“The Purists,” Huntington Theatre Company

Outstanding Production, Midsize Theate

“Cloud 9,” The Nora at Central Square Theater

Outstanding Production, Small or Fringe Company

“The Stone,” Arlekin Players Theatre

Outstanding Solo Performance

Billy Meleady, “the smuggler,” Boston Playwrights’ Theatre

Outstanding Direction, Large Theater

Rachel Chavkin, “Moby-Dick,” American Repertory Theater

Outstanding Direction, Midsize Theater

Lee Mikeska Gardner, “Cloud 9,” The Nora at Central Square Theater

Outstanding Direction, Small or Fringe Theater

Igor Golyak, “The Stone,” Arlekin Players Theatre

Outstanding Musical Performance by an Actor

Aaron Patterson, “Parade,” Moonbox Productions

Outstanding Musical Performance by an Actress

Katrina Z Pavao, “Little Shop of Horrors,” Lyric Stage Company of Boston

Outstanding Actor, Large Theater

Eric Berryman, “Detroit Red,” ArtsEmerson

Outstanding Actor, Midsize Theater (In Memory of Gabriel Kuttner)

Kadahj Bennett, “Pass Over,” SpeakEasy Stage Company and The Front Porch Arts Collective

Outstanding Actor, Small or Fringe Theater

Nael Nacer, “The Return,” Israeli Stage

Outstanding Actress, Large Theater

Analisa Velez, “The Purists,” Huntington Theatre Company

Outstanding Actress, Midsize Theater

Paula Plum, “The Children,” SpeakEasy Stage Company

Outstanding Actress, Small or Fringe Theater

Darya Denisova, “The Stone,” Arlekin Players Theatre

Outstanding Ensemble, Large Theater

“Sweat,” Huntington Theatre Company

Outstanding Ensemble, Midsize Theater (In Memory of Margarita Damaris Martinez)

“black odyssey boston,” Underground Railway at Central Square Theater and The Front Porch Arts Collective

Outstanding Ensemble, Small or Fringe Theater

“The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart,” Apollinaire Theatre Company

Outstanding New Script

“Detroit Red” by Will Power, ArtsEmerson

Outstanding Design, Large Theater

“Moby-Dick,” American Repertory Theater

Scenic design by Mimi Lien; costume design by Brenda Abbandandolo; lighting design by Bradley King; sound design by Hidenori Nakajo; puppet design by Eric F. Avery; wig, hair and make-up design by Rachel Padula-Shufelt

Outstanding Design, Midsize Theater

“Vanity Fair,” Underground Railway at Central Square Theater

Scenic design by David R. Gammons; costume design by Leslie Held; lighting design by Jeff Adelberg; sound design by David Wilson; properties coordinated by Ciara McAloon

Outstanding Design, Small or Fringe Theater

“The Seagull,” Arlekin Players Theatre

Scenic design by Nikolay Simonov; costume design by Nastya Bugaeva; lighting design by Jeff Adelberg

Outstanding Musical Direction

Catherine Stornetta, “Parade,” Moonbox Productions

Outstanding Choreography

Ilyse Robbins, “Swan Lake in Blue,” Greater Boston Stage Company

Outstanding Visiting Production, Non-Musical

“Indecent,” Huntington Theatre Company

Outstanding Visiting Production, Musical

“American Utopia,” Ambassador Theatre Group

Outstanding Visiting Musical Performance

Ben Levi Ross, “Dear Evan Hansen,” Broadway In Boston

Outstanding Visiting Musical Ensemble

“Six,” American Repertory Theater (Adrianna Hicks, Andrea Macasaet, Abby Mueller, Brittney Mack, Courtney Mack and Anna Uzele)