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Everything We Know About the 2023 Outer Critics Circle Awards This Year

With award season in full swing, let’s prepare for a big name in Theatre prestige! The 72nd Annual Outer Critics Circle Awards nominations were revealed on April 26, with New York, New York and Some Like It Hot receiving the most nods for musicals of the season. For plays, Downstate and Leopoldstadt both received six nominations each. This year, theatre fans can look forward to the same level of prestige and pomp along with new and exciting changes.

The 2023 Outer Critics Circle Awards will take place May 25, 2023. 

What is the Outer Critics Circle?

In terms of theatre accolades, the Tony is most likely the award most people are familiar with. The Outer Critics Circle was founded during the 1949-50 Broadway Season by theatre journalist John Gassner. Today, the OCC is affiliated with over 90 newspapers, magazines, broadcast stations, and online news organizations.  What makes the OCC special is that these affiliates are not only stationed in New York City. In fact, some of them are not even stationed in the United States!

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The OCC is run by out-of-town writers of New York theatre. This year, the eligibility cut-off date for nominators to attend a show in the 2022-2023 season was Sunday, April 23. The nominations were  then announced April 26th.

Outer Critics Circle Awards 2023 Nominations 

There is quite the variety to productions being honored this year with nods from the OCC board. New York, New York received 12 nominations, followed by Some Like it Hot with 10, and rounding out with Shucked and 7 noms. The most recognized plays being Downstate and Leopoldstadt.

This year’s nominations only included new productions of Cost of Living, Kimberly Akimbo, Ain’t No Mo’, Between Riverside and Crazy, and Kinky Boots, all of which had previously played major runs in New York. Check out the full official list here!


Outer Critics Circle Board Removes Gender Specifications From Acting Categories

Nominations have been released, but this year the OCC awards have made a change to the acting categories. Earlier this year, the board of the Outer Critics Circle voted to remove gender specifications from acting categories. This is actually not a new phenomena, as last year, the Lucille Lortel awards switched to gender neutral categories. Now, most categories will be separated by whether they were Broadway or Off Broadway productions.

The OCC President, David Gordon, spoke on the matter directly as well. “As the theater community continues to rebuild following the pandemic, the Outer Critics Circle must evolve, too.”

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 This is a great step towards inclusivity and equality not only for men and women. It’s also important actors who fall outside and beyond the gender binary to be recognized for their skill without being misgendered.

B. H. Barry To Be Honored with Special Achievement Award

This year, the OCC will honor  B. H. Barry with a Special Achievement Award. It will be a celebration of his expansive six-decade career. Most recently, he worked on the Camelot Revival at Lincoln Center Theater this season.

Barry’s contributions to theatre are hard to overstate. For those unfamiliar, this English fight director and choreographer  has worked in theatre, film, television, opera and ballet. Over his 60 year career, he has been awarded a Drama Desk and an Obie Award for Sustained and Consistent Excellence in Stage Combat. He also received a Lifetime Achievement Tony. In fact, he’s the only fight director to receive a Tony. Over his lifetime, he has choreographed fights for over 40 shows on Broadway. Outside of theatre, he choreographed fight scenes  on Doctor Who, The Addams Family, and even advised on animated characters fighting in Disney’s Mulan.  It’s clear that Barry has more than earned this recognition.

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