New gender-neutral categories announced for Off-Broadway’s Lucille Lortel Awards

The Lucille Lortel Awards, honoring outstanding achievements Off-Broadway (productions in Manhattan venues with 100-499 seats), has announced that its awards for acting will no longer be defined by gender. The actor and actress categories for both musicals and plays will instead move to Outstanding Lead Performer in a Musical, Outstanding Supporting Performer in a Musical, Outstanding Lead Performer in a Play, and Outstanding Supporting Performer in a Play.

In addition to the revised gender-neutral categories, the newly created category of Outstanding Ensemble will be presented for the first time at the live and in-person 37th Annual Lortel Awards on Sunday, May 1, 2022, at 7:00 pm. This season’s eligibility cut-off date is March 31, 2022, with nominations to be announced in early April 2022.

Created by the Off-Broadway League in 1985, with additional support provided by TDF (a non-profit service organization known for its TKTS Discount Ticket Booths and dedicated to bringing the power of the performing arts to everyone), the awards are determined by a Voting Committee comprised of representatives from the Off-Broadway League, Actors’ Equity Association, Stage Directors & Choreographers Society, United Scenic Artists, and the Lucille Lortel Theatre, in addition to theater journalists, academics, and other Off-Broadway professionals.

Awards may be given in the following categories: Play; Musical; Solo Show; Revival; Alternative Theatrical Experience; Director; Choreographer; Lead Performer in a Play and Musical; Featured Performer in a Play and Musical; Ensemble; Scenic, Costume, Lighting, Sound, and Projection Design. The following honorary awards may also be given: Lifetime Achievement Award; Body of Work (awarded to an institution); Edith Oliver Service to Off-Broadway Award; and induction onto the Playwrights’ Sidewalk in front of the historic Lucille Lortel Theatre at 121 Christopher Street, NYC.

According to Casey York, President of the Off-Broadway League, “Off-Broadway has always sought to be a shining example of diversity and inclusivity. As the world around us – and specifically in New York City’s theater scene – continues to evolve, it’s important for Off-Broadway to lead the way in acknowledging and celebrating artistic excellence in a more inclusive way. We want to truly recognize the many talented performers in our community.”

George Forbes, Executive Director of the Lucille Lortel Theatre, noted, “We are dedicated to seeing and acknowledging all the members of our Off-Broadway family as we continue to learn and grow and look towards the future of the Lucille Lortel Awards.”


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