The Boston Theater Critics Association of which I am proud to be president announced THE 39th ELLIOT NORTON AWARDS to honor the outstanding work by actors, directors, designers, ensembles and productions audiences have seen on greater Boston stages throughout the season. The awards which are usually presented live in a downtown theater, were announced in a virtual ceremony livestreamed Monday night May 23 8PM at

30 awards were given in all including The Elliot Norton Prize for sustained Excellence to John Douglas Thompson, a performer with deep roots in New England who has been hailed as the nation’s leading Shakespearean actor. Special Citations were awarded to Arlekin Players Theatre & Zero Gravity (zero-G) Virtual Theater Lab, led by artistic director Igor Golyak and to actress Darya Denisova and to JulianneBoyd, co-founder and outgoing artistic director of Barrington Stage Company.

The Boston Theater Critics Association is comprised of 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. 

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 and the world’s history when the arts have been hard hit and are struggling 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.

In the middle of the most tumultuous and disturbing era I can ever remember, our intrepid theater artists have done what we count on artists everywhere to do: reach into themselves and use their creative power to shed light on the human condition, inspire our compassion and joy, and anchor us in the truth. We are so proud to honor their outstanding work in a truly remarkable theater season!

For a full list of awardees and nominees and to watch the presentation visit