After postponing the 70th annual Outer Critics Circle Awards due to the coronavirus outbreak, the OCC has announced it will now announce honorees May 11 and take on a new format this year. In lieu of selecting traditional nominees with one winner from each category, the 2020 Outer Critics Circle Awards will celebrate up to five honorees in each of its 26 categories.
The 2020 awards will also celebrate four honorees for the annual John Gassner Award, commemorating works by new American playwrights. Each recipient of the Gassner Award will be awarded a monetary prize.
The OCC will also make a donation to The Actors Fund for emergency relief efforts, with more details on the May 11 announcement to come.
“The Outer Critics Circle has thought long and hard about a way to honor the nearly 200 productions that opened this year, while also respecting those shows that were canceled, postponed, or forced to close shortly after opening," says OCC President David Gordon. "This format allows us to celebrate the truncated theatre season, and our 70th anniversary, by creating a sense of communal joy at a time when we all need it most."
With an eligibility cutoff of March 6, nearly 150 Off-Broadway productions will be considered for the honors, in addition to a number of eligible Broadway productions.
The Outer Critics Circle is an association with members affiliated with more than 90 newspapers, magazines, radio and television stations, internet, and theatre publications in America and abroad. The organization comprises writers covering New York theatre for out-of-town newspapers, national publications, and other media beyond Broadway.
The announcement of the 2020 OCC nominations was initially scheduled for April 20, with winners to be celebrated at a gala awards dinner May 21.
The nominating committee for the 2019–2020 season is made up of Gordon, Simon Saltzman, Patrick Hoffman, Joseph Cervelli, Harry Haun, Cynthia Allen, Richard Ridge, David Roberts, and Janice Simpson.