The Elliot Norton Awards were created to honor the distinguished theater critic upon his retirement as well as to laud artists who have made outstanding contributions to theater in Boston and beyond. The ceremony informally known as THE NORTIES includes awards to area writers, directors, designers, and performers, selected and presented by members of the Boston Theater Critics Association at an annual gala ceremony in May. Eligibility for consideration each season begins on April 1 and ends March 31 of the following year.
The evening is capped by the presentation of the Elliot Norton Prize for Sustained Excellence, which pays special tribute to the recipient’s body of work rather than to contributions during a given year. We have also been privileged to welcome annual Guests of Honor who have included August Wilson, Jason Robards Jr., Tommy Tune, Elaine Stritch, Irene Worth, Edward Albee, Brian Dennehy, Chita Rivera, Olympia Dukakis, and Al Pacino.
Mr. Norton wrote about theater in New England for Boston newspapers covering more than 6000 productions over 48 years. For 24 years he also hosted “Elliot Norton Reviews” on WGBH-TV, inviting the authors and stars he wrote about to be his guests. Over his impressive career, Mr. Norton received numerous honors including a special Tony Award, the George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism, and the George Foster Peabody Award for “Elliot Norton Reviews.” He was the author of “Broadway Down East,” a lively history of the theater in Boston. In 1988 he was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame. He participated in the selection of Elliot Norton awardees well into his 90s. He died in 2003 at the age of 100.