The Outer Critics Circle, an organization of writers covering New York theatre for out-of-town newspapers, national publications, and other media, has announced that it has added two new categories to its annual theatre awards—Outstanding Sound Design and Outstanding Orchestrations—to be presented for the first time in 2017.
“I am very happy to hear that The Outer Critics Circle has chosen to validate the vital, versatile, and valuable contributions that sound design brings to theatre,” says legendary sound designer Abe Jacob, who has worked in theatre sound for five decades.
“I was pleased to read the news this morning from The Outer Critics Circle,” notes sound designer Nevin Steinberg, who was nominated for a Tony Award in 2013 for Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella, and won a Drama Desk Award in 2015 for Hamilton. “These important categories are a very welcome addition to the awards season.”
Sound awards have been controversial in the theatre world for years, as they were not a Tony category at all until the 2007-2008 season, then they were eliminated again in 2014-2015, much to the dismay of the design community. The Drama Desk Awards considered eliminating their award for Outstanding Orchestrations in 2012, but met with opposition. Since 2010, the Drama Desk has had two sound design awards, one for a play and one for a musical.
Outer Critics Circle president Simon Saltzman has said that these new awards are being added to “recognize and celebrate high quality work in these fields which contribute to the success of so many productions.”
Nominations for the 2017 Outer Critics Circle Awards, comprising shows from the 2017 Broadway and off-Broadway seasons, will be announced Tuesday, April 25 in the Oak Room at the Algonquin Hotel. Winners will be announced on Monday, May 8, with an annual Gala Awards Dinner on Thursday, May 25 at Sardi's Restaurant.