Outer Critics Circle president David Gordon (Photo credit: Barry Gordin)

The Outer Critics Circle (OCC) has announced that the 72nd annual Outer Critics Circle Awards will take place on May 25 at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. Nominations will be announced on May 16.

The OCC includes writers from national publications and out-of-town newspapers that cover New York theater. The awards honor the 2022-2023 Broadway and Off-Broadway season; the cut-off date for nominators to see contending shows is April 23. 

This year, the OCC board of directors has ruled to remove the gender specifications from acting categories. The categories will also newly separate Broadway and Off-Broadway performers. 

“As the theater community continues to rebuild following the pandemic, the Outer Critics Circle must evolve, too,” said OCC president David Gordon in a statement. “These changes will help us recognize the many talented actors both on and Off-Broadway so we can reach the full potential of our mission, which is to celebrate the artistic excellence of New York’s theater scene with integrity and inclusivity.” 

The performance categories will be as follows: Outstanding Lead Performer in a Broadway Musical, Outstanding Featured Performer in a Broadway Musical, Outstanding Lead Performer in a Broadway Play, Outstanding Featured Performer in a Broadway Play; Outstanding Lead Performer in an Off-Broadway Musical, Outstanding Featured Performer in an Off-Broadway Musical, Outstanding Lead Performer in an Off-Broadway Play, Outstanding Featured Performer in an Off-Broadway Play, Outstanding Solo Performance.

The OCC has not announced a number of maximum potential nominees per category. 

Theater journalist John Gassner first founded the OCC during the 1949-1950 theater season. Today, the organization is led by Gordon. The board of directors includes Richard Ridge, Joseph Cervelli, Patrick Hoffman, David Roberts, Harry Haun, Cynthia Allen, Janice Simpson and Doug Strassler.