Tony Award-winning actor Brian Dennehy was the guest of honor. According to the Boston Herald, Dennehy, star of Broadway's current Long Day's Journey Into Night, said an encouraging review from Norton, the longtime Herald scribe who is 100 years old, helped him early in his career.
Among award winners were The Abbey Theatre's Medea and its bloody star, Fiona Shaw, who would later appear on Broadway in the 2002-03 season. The "new script" recognized for excellence was Ronan Noone's The Blowin of Baile Gall, for Boston Playwrights Theatre. Noone is author of the award winning The Lepers of Baile Baiste, which premiered at the Sugan Theatre Company in fall 2002. Baile Gall is part of his "Connemara trilogy," and was billed this way by BPT: "The small town of Baile Gall seems to turn a welcoming face to newcomers or 'blow-ins' but under the surface another face shows itself, with tragic repercussions."
Winner of the 2003 Elliot Norton awards included:
Norton Prize for Sustained Excellence: Jeremiah Kissel, "an actor of phenomenal versatility, who for more than two decades has enriched our stages with unforgettable characterizations."
Outstanding Production by a Small Visiting Company: Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theatre's A New War
Outstanding Production by a Large Resident Company: American Repertory Theatre's Highway Ulysses
Outstanding Production by a Small Resident Company: Nora Theatre Company's Betrayal
Outstanding Production by a Local Fringe Company: The Theatre Cooperative's Spinning Into Butter
Outstanding Musical Production: SpeakEasy Stage Company's Bat Boy
Outstanding Solo Performance: Annette Miller, Shakespeare & Company's Golda's Balcony
Outstanding New Script: The Blowin of Baile Gall by Ronan Noone, Boston Playwrights Theatre
Outstanding Director, Large Company: Anne Bogart, La Dispute, American Repertory Theatre
Outstanding Director, Small Company: Paul Daigneault, Passion and Bat Boy, SpeakEasy Stage Company
Outstanding Set Design, Large Company: David P. Gordon, The Blue Demon, Huntington Theatre Company
Outstanding Set Design, Small Company: Richard Chambers, The Blowin of Baile Gall, Boston Playwrights Theatre
Outstanding Actress, Large Company: Fiona Shaw, Medea
Outstanding Actress, Small Company: Laura Latreille, The Shape of Things, SpeakEasy Stage Company
Outstanding Actress, Fringe Company: Naeemah A. White-Peppers, Bee-Luther-Hatchee and Chain, Zeitgeist Stage Company
Outstanding Actor, Large Company: Arliss Howard, Uncle Vanya, American Repertory Theatre
Outstanding Actor, Small Company: Bill Meleady, Howie the Rookie and The Lepers of Baile Baiste (Sugan Theatre Company) and The Blowin of Baile Gall (Boston Playwrights Theatre).
The Norton Awards are chosen by the Boston Theater Critics Association, whose members include Carolyn Clay, Iris Fanger, Jon Lehman, Bill Marx, Ed Siegel, Caldwell Titcomb and Terry Byrne.