Honorees for the 70th Anniversary Outer Critics Circle Awards of 2020

In a video feed this afternoon featuring presentations by past award recipients Lin-Manuel Miranda, Patti LuPone, Bryan Cranston, Kristin Chenoweth, and Patrick Stewart, The Outer Critics Circle (OCC) – the official organization of writers on New York theater for out-of-town newspapers and national publications – announced its honorees for the 2019-2020 Broadway and Off-Broadway season. Because of the early suspension of this year’s performances on March 12, due to the coronavirus crisis, the OCC, for its milestone 70th anniversary, chose to recognize a list of honorees in all of its categories, in lieu of selecting traditional nominees and voting on one winner in each, to celebrate the widespread excellence of New York theater.

Up to five honorees have been named in each of its technical categories, and up to six honorees in acting categories. In addition, four artists, each presented with a cash prize, have received the annual John Gassner Award for 2020, commemorating works by new American playwrights. The OCC is also making a donation to The Actors’ Fund in support of its emergency relief efforts.

The full list of honorees is:

OUTSTANDING NEW BROADWAY PLAY: Grand Horizons (written by Bess Wohl); The Height of the Storm (written by Florian Zeller, translated by Christopher Hampton); The Inheritance (written by Matthew Lopez); Linda Vista (written by Tracy Letts); The Sound Inside (written by Adam Rapp)

OUTSTANDING NEW BROADWAY MUSICAL: Jagged Little Pill (music by Alanis Morissette and Glen Ballard, lyrics by Alanis Morissette, book by Diablo Cody); Moulin Rouge! (book by John Logan, based on the 2001 Twentieth Century Fox Motion Picture written by Baz Luhrmann and Craig Pearce); Tina: The Tina Turner Musical (book by Katori Hall, with Frank Ketelaar and Kees Prins)

OUTSTANDING NEW OFF-BROADWAY PLAY: Cambodian Rock Band (written by Lauren Yee); Greater Clements (written by Samuel D. Hunter); Halfway Bitches Go Straight to Heaven (written by Stephen Adly Guirgis); Make Believe (written by Bess Wohl); Seared (written by Theresa Rebeck)

OUTSTANDING NEW OFF-BROADWAY MUSICAL: Darling Grenadine ((book, music, and lyrics by Daniel Zaitchik); Octet (book, music, and lyrics by Dave Malloy); The Secret Life of Bees (book by Lynn Nottage, music by Duncan Sheik, lyrics by Susan Birkenhead, based on the novel by Sue Monk Kidd); Soft Power (book and lyrics by David Henry Hwang, music and additional lyrics by Jeanine Tesori); A Strange Loop (book, music, and lyrics by Michael R. Jackson)

OUTSTANDING REVIVAL OF A PLAY (Broadway or Off-Broadway): Betrayal (written by Harold Pinter); Fires in the Mirror (written by Anna Deavere Smith); For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf (written by Ntozake Shange); Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune (written by Terrence McNally); A Soldier’s Play (written by Charles Fuller)

OUTSTANDING REVIVAL OF A MUSICAL (Broadway or Off-Broadway): Little Shop of Horrors (book and lyrics by Howard Ashman, music by Alan Menken); The Unsinkable Molly Brown (music and lyrics by Meredith Willson, book and new lyrics by Dick Scanlan, based on the original book by Richard Morris, music adapted by Michael Rafter); West Side Story (music by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, book by Arthur Laurents, based on a conception by Jerome Robbins)

THE JOHN GASSNER AWARD (Presented for an American play, preferably by a new playwright): Catya McMullen for Georgia Mertching Is Dead; Will Arbery for Heroes of the Fourth Turning; Alexis Scheer for Our Dear Dead Drug Lord; and Eboni Booth for Paris

OUTSTANDING BOOK OF A MUSICAL (Broadway or Off-Broadway): Diablo Cody, Jagged Little Pill; David Henry Hwang, Soft Power; Michael R. Jackson, A Strange Loop; Lynn Nottage, The Secret Life of Bees; Mark Saltzman, Romeo and Bernadette

OUTSTANDING NEW SCORE (Broadway or Off-Broadway): Susan Birkenhead and Duncan Sheik, The Secret Life of Bees; Ross Golan, The Wrong Man; Michael R. Jackson, A Strange Loop; Dave Malloy, Octet; Jeanine Tesori and David Henry Hwang, Soft Power

OUTSTANDING DIRECTOR OF A PLAY: David Cromer, The Sound Inside; Stephen Daldry, The Inheritance; Kenny Leon, A Soldier’s Play; Jamie Lloyd, Betrayal; John Ortiz, Halfway Bitches Go Straight to Heaven

OUTSTANDING DIRECTOR OF A MUSICAL: Stephen Brackett, A Strange Loop; Michael Mayer, Little Shop of Horrors; Diane Paulus, Jagged Little Pill; Alex Timbers, Moulin Rouge!; Ivo van Hove, West Side Story

OUTSTANDING CHOREOGRAPHER: Sidi Larbi Cherakoui, Jagged Little Pill; Raja Feather Kelly, A Strange Loop; Sonya Tayeh, Moulin Rouge!; Anthony Van Laast, Tina: The Tina Turner Musical; Travis Wall, The Wrong Man

OUTSTANDING ORCHESTRATIONS: Tom Kitt, Jagged Little Pill; Alex Lacamoire, The Wrong Man; Justin Levine, with Matt Stine, Katie Kresek, and Charlie Rosen, Moulin Rouge!; Christopher Nightingale, A Christmas Carol; Duncan Sheik and John Clancy, The Secret Life of Bees

OUTSTANDING ACTOR IN A PLAY: Ian Barford, Linda Vista; Edmund Donovan, Greater Clements; Raúl Esparza, Seared; Tom Hiddleston, Betrayal; Will Hochman, The Sound Inside; Jonathan Pryce, The Height of the Storm

Eileen Atkins and Jonathan Pryce in The Height of the Storm. Photo by Joan Marcus.

OUTSTANDING ACTRESS IN A PLAY: Eileen Atkins, The Height of the Storm; Judith Ivey, Greater Clements; Joaquina Kalukango, Slave Play; April Matthis, Toni Stone; Mary-Louise Parker, The Sound Inside; Portia, Stew

OUTSTANDING FEATURED ACTOR IN A PLAY: David Alan Grier, A Soldier’s Play; John Benjamin Hickey, The Inheritance; Paul Hilton, The Inheritance; Samuel H. Levine, The Inheritance; John-Andrew Morrison, Blues for an Alabama Sky; Chris Perfetti, Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow

OUTSTANDING FEATURED ACTRESS IN A PLAY: Liza Colón-Zayas, Halfway Bitches Go Straight to Heaven; Montego Glover, All the Natalie Portmans; Marsha Mason, Little Gem; Krysta Rodriguez, Seared; Lois Smith, The Inheritance; Jennifer Van Dyck, The Confession of Lily Dare

OUTSTANDING SOLO PERFORMANCE: David Cale, We’re Only Alive for a Short Amount of Time; Laura Linney, My Name Is Lucy Barton; Aedin Moloney, Yes! Reflections of Molly Bloom; Deirdre O’Connell, Dana H.; Michael Benjamin Washington, Fires in the Mirror

OUTSTANDING ACTOR IN A MUSICAL: Jonathan Groff, Little Shop of Horrors; Joshua Henry, The Wrong Man; Adam Kantor, Darling Grenadine; Larry Owens, A Strange Loop; Isaac Powell, West Side Story; Aaron Tveit, Moulin Rouge!

OUTSTANDING ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL: Beth Malone, The Unsinkable Molly Brown; Janelle McDermoth, We’re Gonna Die; Karen Olivo, Moulin Rouge!; Shereen Pimentel, West Side Story; Elizabeth Stanley, Jagged Little Pill; Adrienne Warren, Tina: The Tina Turner Musical

OUTSTANDING FEATURED ACTOR IN A MUSICAL: Christian Borle, Little Shop of Horrors; Danny Burstein, Moulin Rouge!; Gus Halper, Sing Street; Jay Armstrong Johnson, Scotland, PA; Francis Jue, Soft Power; Daniel J. Watts, Tina: The Tina Turner Musical

OUTSTANDING FEATURED ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL: Eisa Davis, The Secret Life of Bees; Kathryn Gallagher, Jagged Little Pill; LaChanze, The Secret Life of Bees; Judy McLane, Romeo & Bernadette; Lauren Patten, Jagged Little Pill; Saycon Sengbloh, The Secret Life of Bees

OUTSTANDING SCENIC DESIGN (Play or Musical): Rob Howell, A Christmas Carol; Tim Mackabee, Seared; Derek McLane, Moulin Rouge!; Clint Ramos, Grand Horizons; Anthony Ward, The Height of the Storm

OUTSTANDING COSTUME DESIGN (Play or Musical): Vanessa Leuck, Emojiland; Jeff Mahshie, Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice; Mark Thompson, Tina: The Tina Turner Musical; Rachel Townsend & Jessica Jahn, The Confession of Lily Dare; Catherine Zuber, Moulin Rouge!

OUTSTANDING LIGHTING DESIGN (Play or Musical): Isabella Byrd, Heroes of the Fourth Turning; Heather Gilbert, The Sound Inside; Justin Townsend, Moulin Rouge!; Hugh Vanstone, A Christmas Carol; Hugh Vanstone, The Height of the Storm

OUTSTANDING PROJECTION DESIGN (Play or Musical): Luke Halls, West Side Story; Brad Peterson, Broadway Bounty Hunter; Lisa Renkel and Possible Productions, Emojiland; Aaron Rhyne, The Sound Inside; Hannah Wasileski, Fires in the Mirror

OUTSTANDING SOUND DESIGN (Play or Musical): Simon Baker, A Christmas Carol; Mikhail Fiksel, Dana H.; Peter Hylenski, Moulin Rouge!; Lee Kinney and Sanae Yamada, Is This A Room; Daniel Kluger, The Sound Inside.

Congratulations to all of the Outer Critics Circle 2020 honorees and thanks to the OCC for its recognition of the excellence in New York theater and its support of The Actors Fund.


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