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Here’s what the Broadway theater awards season looks like beyond the Tony Awards

Theater Awards
2019 JIMMY AWARDS Post-Show at The Minskoff Theatre in New York City on June 24, 2019.
Photo by Henry McGee/NHSMTA

The time between the announcement of the Tony Award Nominations and the Tony Awards ceremony itself is commonly known in the industry as “awards season,” during which time many other annual theater awards are also unveiled that recognize achievements.

Unlike the Tony Awards, most other theater awards also recognize Off-Broadway productions. Below are annual theater awards that focus on achievements that often go unrecognized in traditional award categories. 

Drama Critics’ Circle Awards: In addition to recognizing a best play and musical, the organization also gives out uncategorized special citations. This year, citations went to veteran actor and director Austin Pendleton (who is currently on Broadway in “The Minutes”) and emerging playwright Sanaz Toossi (“English,” “Wish You Were Here”).

Drama Desk Awards: The group’s competitive nominations (which recognize Broadway and Off-Broadway together) extend to categories such as projection design, wig and hair, solo performance, unique theatrical experience, adaptation, and puppet design. 

Obie Awards: When the Obie Awards (which recognize Off-Broadway and Off-Off-Broadway) return in November, virtual, digital, and audio theatrical work (in addition to in-person productions) from July 2020 to August 2022 will be recognized. 

GLAAD Media Awards: Intended to recognize fair, accurate, and inclusive representations of LGBTQ people and issues in the media, Keenan Scott II’s drama “Thoughts of a Colored Man” and the revival of “Company” tied in the category of Outstanding Broadway Production. The 33rd annual ceremony was held on May 6 at the New York Hilton Hotel, which included a performance by “A Strange Loop” writer Michael R. Jackson.

Theatre World Awards: Six actors and six actresses who made an outstanding debut performance in a Broadway or Off-Broadway production are recognized. This year’s 12 winners include Patrick J. Adams (“Take Me Out”), Sharon D. Clarke (“Caroline, Or Change”), Myles Frost (“MJ the Musical”), and Jacquel Spivey (“A Strange Loop”). The ceremony will be held on June 6 at Broadway’s Circle in the Square Theatre, with all the awards being presented by prior winners.

Jimmy Awards: Also known as the National High School Musical Theatre Awards, 92 teenagers who received regional awards for their performances in high school musicals across the country perform on Broadway (June 27 at the Minskoff Theatre), culminating in awards for best actor and actress. A major highlight of past years has been mega-medleys in which each student, in full costume, sings part of a solo from the musical that he or she originally appeared in back at home

Chita Rivera Awards: Previously known as the Astaire Awards, the Chita Rivera Awards recognize dancers and choreographers who worked on Broadway or Off-Broadway or in film. The Broadway revival of “for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf” received nominations for choreographer Camille A. Brown, performer Tendayi Kuumba, and its entire ensemble. The ceremony will be held on June 20 at NYU Skirball Center, with Joel Grey set to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Equity Foundation Awards: The Actors’ Equity Foundation recognizes veteran actors (Austin Pendleton in “The Minutes,” Betsy Aidem in “Prayer for the French Republic”), promising performances in supporting roles (Justin Cooley in “Kimberly Akimbo,” Kara Young in “Clyde’s”), and performance in a Shakespeare play (Amber Gray in “Macbeth”).

Other theater awards include the Lucille Lortel Awards, Outer Critics Circle Awards, Drama League Awards, Broadway.com Audience Choice Awards, Off Broadway Alliance Awards, Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album.

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