The organization was founded in 1935 at the Algonquin Hotel by a group that included Brooks Atkinson, Walter Winchell, and Robert Benchley. Adam Feldman of Time Out New York has been President of the organization since 2005; Joe Dziemianowicz of the New York Daily News is currently Vice President, and Zachary Stewart of TheaterMania serves as Treasurer.
New York Drama Critics' Circle Award
The New York Drama Critics' Circle meets twice a year. At the end of each theater season, it votes on the annual New York Drama Critics' Circle Awards, the second oldest theater award in the United States (after the Pulitzer Prize). The main award is for Best Play. If the winner of that award is American, the Circle then votes on whether to give an award for Best Foreign Play as well; if the Best Play winner is of foreign origin, the Circle may give out an award for Best American Play. The awards are later presented in a small ceremony. Since 1945, the Circle has also given out awards for Best Musical. Special Citations may also be awarded for actors, companies or work of special merit. The award for Best Play includes a cash prize of $2,500, and a cash award of $1,000 is given to the playwright who receives the award for Best American or Foreign Play. The awards for 2016 were announced on May 5, 2016.
Although Brooks Atkinson of the New York Times was the first President of the NYDCC, Times critics are no longer permitted to be members of the Drama Critics' Circle. In 1989, the newspaper's executive editor decreed that their critics could no longer participate in any awards. Times critics served as nonvoting members of the Drama Critics' Circle until 1997, when the newspaper reversed its policy and allowed its critics to resume voting for the awards. In 2003, however, permission was again revoked, based on a new Times policy and the Times critics were forced to withdraw from the Circle.
Theatre awards and citation winners
Best Foreign Play
Best American Play
- 1970: The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds – Paul Zindel
- 1971: The House of Blue Leaves – John Guare
- 1973: The Hot l Baltimore – Lanford Wilson
- 1974: Short Eyes – Miguel Piñero
- 1975: The Taking of Miss Janie – Ed Bullins
- 1976: Streamers – David Rabe
- 1977: American Buffalo – David Mamet
- 1981: Crimes of the Heart – Beth Henley
- 1982: A Soldier's Play – Charles Fuller
- 1984: Glengarry Glen Ross – David Mamet
- 1992: Two Trains Running – August Wilson
- 1995: Love! Valour! Compassion! – Terrence McNally
- 1998: Pride's Crossing – Tina Howe
- 2001: Proof – David Auburn
- 2007: Radio Golf – August Wilson
- 2014: All the Way – Robert Schenkkan
- 2019: What the Constitution Means to Me – Heidi Schreck
Special awards and citations
- 1952: Don Juan in Hell – George Bernard Shaw
- 1963: Beyond the Fringe – Alan Bennett, Peter Cook, Jonathan Miller and Dudley Moore
- 1964: The Trojan Women – Euripides
- 1966: Mark Twain Tonight – Hal Holbrook
- 1971: Sticks and Bones by David Rabe and Old Times by Harold Pinter
- 1980: Peter Brook's Le Centre International de Créations Théâtricales at La Mama
- 1981: Lena Horne for Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music and New York Shakespeare Festival's The Pirates of Penzance
- 1983: Young Playwrights Festival
- 1984: Samuel Beckett for the body of his work
- 1986: The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe – Lily Tomlin and Jane Wagner
- 1989: Largely New York – Bill Irwin
- 1992: Eileen Atkins – A Room of One's Own
- 1994: Anna Deavere Smith – Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992
- 1994: Signature Theatre Company's Horton Foote season
- 1997: Chicago revival — Encores!
- 1998: Cabaret – Roundabout Theatre Company
- 1999: David Hare
- 2002: Elaine Stritch – Elaine Stritch at Liberty
- 2004: Barbara Cook
- 2006: John Doyle, Sarah Travis – Sweeney Todd and Christine Ebersole – Grey Gardens
- 2007: Journey's End – Broadway revival
- 2009: Angela Lansbury; Matthew Warchus and the cast of The Norman Conquests; Gerard Alessandrini for Forbidden Broadway
- 2010: Lincoln Center Festival; Viola Davis; Annie Baker
- 2011: The Normal Heart; Mark Rylance for La Bête and Jerusalem; and the direction, design and puppetry of War Horse
- 2012: Signature Theatre Company; Mike Nichols
- 2013: Soho Rep; New York City Center's Encores!; John Lee Beatty
- 2014: The Shakespeare's Globe productions of Twelfth Night and Richard III; Richard Nelson and the company of the Apple Family Plays
- 2015: Ars Nova and Bob Crowley
- 2016: Oskar Eustis; Lois Smith; Ivo van Hove and Jan Versweyveld
- 2017: Taylor Mac for A 24-Decade History of Popular Music, Ruben Santiago-Hudson and the cast of Jitney, and Paula Vogel for career achievement as a playwright and mentor
- 2018: Park Avenue Armory for adventurous theatrical programming; Transport Group; the staging, design and illusions of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
- 2019: Irish Repertory Theatre; Page 73; National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene's revival of Fiddler on the Roof (Fidler Afn Dakh)
- Tony Awards
- Drama Desk Awards
- Obie Awards
- Laurence Olivier Awards
- London Critics' Circle Theatre Awards
- Jones, Kenneth. Passing Strange and August: Osage County Win 2007–08 NY Drama Critics Circle Award", playbill.com, May 12, 2008. Retrieved May 26, 2018.
- Hetrick, Adam. "NY Drama Critics' Circle Awards Matilda and Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike With Top Honors" playbill.com, May 3, 2013. Retrieved May 26, 2018.
- "Current Membership" dramacritics.org. Retrieved May 26, 2018.
- Gans, Andrew. " 'Good People', 'Book of Mormon', 'Jerusalem' Named Winners of New York Drama Critics' Circle Awards" playbill.com, May 9, 2011. Retrieved May 26, 2018.
- Feldman, Adam. "The Humans and Shuffle Along take top honors from the New York Drama Critics' Circle" Time Out New York, May 5, 2016. Retrieved May 26, 2018.
- Simonson, Robert. "Times' Brantley and Weber Exit New York Drama Critics Circle" playbill.com, February 7, 2003. Retrieved May 26, 2018.
- Jones, Kenneth. "Andrew Garfield, John Guare, Lin-Manuel Miranda Present NY Drama Critics' Circle Awards May 14" playbill.com, May 14, 2012. Retrieved May 26, 2018.
- Gans,Andrew. "New York Drama Critics' Circle Names 'Orphans' Home Cycle' Best Play" playbill.com, April 30, 2010. Retrieved May 26, 2018.
- Feldman, Adam. "No award this year for Best Musical" twitter.com, May 3, 2018. Retrieved May 26, 2018.
- "Performing Arts Awards: New York Drama Critics' Circle Awards". Infoplease.com. 2008. Retrieved May 26, 2018.
- Kenneth Jones (May 11, 2006). "NY Drama Critics' Circle Awards Go to History Boys, Drowsy Chaperone, Sweeney Todd and Ebersole". Playbill. Retrieved May 26, 2018.
- "New York Drama Critics' Circle Awards Go to Utopia, Spring, Golf and Journey's End". Broadway.com. May 7, 2007. Retrieved May 26, 2018.
- Andrew Gans (May 4, 2009). "Ruined, Billy Elliot and Black Watch Win New York Drama Critics' Circle Awards". Playbill. Retrieved May 26, 2018.