It’s that time of year again and the Boston Theater Critics Association (BTCA) of which I am proud to be President, has just announced more than 60 nominations in over two dozen categories of outstanding actors, directors, designers, choreographers, musicians, and productions for the 39th Elliot Norton Awards! Read the complete list of nominees at ElliotNortonAwards.com. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, no live ceremony will be held; instead, the awardees, including those for visiting productions and performers, will be revealed in a virtual ceremony on Monday, May 23 at 8:00 pm at ElliotNortonAwards.com! Read A complete list of nominees there
This year’s recipient of the Elliot Norton Prize for Sustained Excellence is John Douglas Thompson, a performer with deep roots in New England who has been hailed by many as the leading American Shakespearean actor. He may be best known to local audiences for portraying the boxer Emile Griffith in “Man in the Ring” for the Huntington Theatre Company, for which he won the 2019 Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Large Theater. This past summer he starred as Prospero in the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company’s production of “The Tempest,” for which he is again nominated for a Norton Award. He recently wrapped up his acclaimed portrayal of Shylock in “The Merchant of Venice” by Theatre for a New Audience in New York and at the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, D.C.
Mr. Thompson has also won plaudits for his work in television and movies, most recently for “Mare of Easttown” with Kate Winslet and Julian Fellowes’ “The Gilded Age,” both for HBO.
Special Citations will be awarded to Arlekin Players Theater & Zero Gravity (zero-G) Virtual Theater Lab artistic director Igor Golyak, and actress Darya Denisova, and to Julianne Boyd, outgoing artistic director of Barrington Stage Company.
It’s been two long years since we’ve gathered, but the BTCA can’t wait to applaud the work of this relentless theater community.Theater artists everywhere have been devastated by the effects of the pandemic, but true to form they have persevered, reinvented, and continue to rise to a still unfolding challenge— by showing up however possible with work that is new, relevant, entertaining, and enlightening. During an unprecedented era of global strife, we are thrilled to bestow “The Elliot Norton Awards” to honor and amplify the creative spark that lights our way.
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, Ed Siegel and Jacquinn Sinclair) to honor the outstanding productions, directors, designers and performers whose work audiences have seen on greater Boston stages throughout the season.
This year marks the second time a virtual ceremony has been held, as was the case in 2020, because of the Covid19 pandemic. No awards were presented in 2021, due to the suspension of live performances.
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: Randy Rainbow, Cherry Jones, Faye Dunaway, Lea DeLaria, 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.