The Outer Critics Circle Awards are presented annually for theatrical achievements both on and Off-Broadway and were begun during the 1949-1950 theater season. The awards are decided upon by theater critics who review for out-of-town newspapers, national publications, and other media outlets outside of New York City. Simon Saltzman, a long-time member of the OCC executive committee and theatre reviewer, serves as president.
The first awards (for 1949-50) were: The Cocktail Party (Play); The Consul (Musical); Sheila Guyse, Performances in Supporting Roles for Lost in the Stars, and Daniel Reed, Performances in Supporting Roles for Come Back, Little Sheba.
The nominees for the 2008-09 season were announced on April 20, 2009, with Billy Elliot the Musical and Shrek the Musical each receiving ten nominations, the most of any show. The winners were announced on May 11, 2009, with an awards dinner on May 21 at Sardi's Restaurant (New York City). The musical Billy Elliot the Musical won seven awards, including Outstanding New Broadway Musical, followed by Shrek the Musical with four. The award for Outstanding Actress in a Musical is a tie between Sutton Foster and Josefina Scaglione. Outstanding New Broadway Play was won by God of Carnage. The John Gassner Award (Presented for an American play, preferably by a new playwright) was won by Gina Gionfriddo for Becky Shaw, and the Special Achievement Award was given to the three actors who share the role of Billy Elliot, David Alvarez, Trent Kowalik, and Kiril Kulish in Billy Elliot the Musical. 
Awards are currently given in the following categories:
The complete list of winners and nominees: