The winners of the 71st annual Outer Critics Circle Awards for outstanding achievements both on Broadway and Off-Broadway for the 2021-22 season were announced today (Tuesday, May 17). Originally begun during the 1949–1950 season, the awards are decided upon by theater critics who review for out-of-town newspapers, national and digital publications, and other media outlets outside of NYC. In an addition to the winners in 27 competitive categories, including the John Gassner Award (recognizing an American play, preferably by a new playwright), Special Achievement Awards and Outer Critics Circle Commendations have also been announced for this year.
Leading the 2021-22 OCC Awards are Broadway’s The Lehman Trilogy with six wins, including Outstanding New Broadway Play, followed by Kimberly Akimbo with four awards, including Outstanding New Off-Broadway Musical.
The winners and special recipients for the 2021-22 Outer Critics Circle Awards are:
Outstanding New Broadway Play: The Lehman Trilogy
Outstanding New Broadway Musical: Six
Outstanding New Off-Broadway Play: Prayer for the French Republic
Outstanding New Off-Broadway Musical: Kimberly Akimbo
Outstanding Revival of a Play: Take Me Out
Outstanding Revival of a Musical: Company
Outstanding Actor in a Play: Simon Russell Beale, The Lehman Trilogy
Outstanding Actress in a Play: LaChanze, Trouble in Mind
Outstanding Actor in a Musical: Jaquel Spivey, A Strange Loop
Outstanding Actress in a Musical: Victoria Clark, Kimberly Akimbo
Outstanding Featured Actor in a Play: Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Take Me Out
Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play: Uzo Aduba, Clyde’s
Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical: Matt Doyle, Company
Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical: Patti LuPone, Company
Outstanding Solo Performance: Kristina Wong, Kristina Wong, Sweatshop Overlord
Outstanding Direction of a Play: Sam Mendes, The Lehman Trilogy
Outstanding Direction of a Musical: Jessica Stone, Kimberly Akimbo
Outstanding Choreography: Christopher Wheeldon and Rich + Tone Talauega, MJ the Musical
Outstanding Book of a Musical: David Lindsay-Abaire, Kimberly Akimbo
Outstanding New Score: Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss, Six
Outstanding Orchestrations: Jason Howland, Paradise Square
Outstanding Scenic Design: Adam Rigg, The Skin of Our Teeth
Outstanding Costume Design: Gabriella Slade, Six
Outstanding Lighting Design: Jon Clark, The Lehman Trilogy
Outstanding Projection Design: Luke Halls, The Lehman Trilogy
Outstanding Sound Design: Nick Powell and Dominic Bilkey, The Lehman Trilogy
John Gassner Award: English by Sanaz Toossi
Special Achievement Awards: Johanna Day, David Morse, Mary-Louise Parker, and Ruben Santiago-Hudson for reprising their outstanding performances in How I Learned to Drive and Lackawanna Blues two decades later. All had been eligible in previous seasons.
Outer Critics Circle Commendations: The Standbys, Understudies, and Swings of the theatrical community who step up to perform, often on hours’ notice, to keep their shows running; and The Covid Safety Supervisors, Managers, and Compliance Officers who put themselves in harm’s way eight times a week to keep the curtains up.
Congratulations to all the winners. The award recipients will be honored in a special live event on Thursday, May 26, at the Bruno Walter Auditorium at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center.