July 27, 2003 by

Elliot Norton

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Categories: Media

William Elliot Norton, the veteran Boston theatre critic, died on July 20. Cause of death was not released. He was 100.
After graduating from Harvard College, Norton spent 48 years reviewing theatre for The Boston Post, The Boston Record American and The Boston Herald American (now The Boston Herald). He published almost 6,000 reviews, earning him the nickname, “The Dean of American Theatre Critics.”
Norton hosted the “Elliot Norton Reviews” talk show for 24 years on the public television station in Boston, and wrote the book, “Broadway Down East,” for the Boston Public Library.
Norton won a special Tony Award for his coverage of theatre and was voted into the Theater Hall of Fame by the American Theater Critics Association. The Elliot Norton Awards were established in 1982 to honor theatre performed in the Boston area.
“Theater was Elliot’s religion, and no production, however awful, could shake his profound faith. He was the exemplary critic, never an adversary, always a friend,” said Robert Brustein, retired artistic director at the American Repertory Theatre.

3 Responses to Elliot Norton

  1. Peggy Landry

    I was privigled to know Mr. Norton for the last 4 years of his life. He was one of the finest people I have ever met. He had a wonderful sense of humor and wit to match. He liked everyone and everyone around loved his company. Mr.Norton took me to the Harvard Club for Sunday Brunch on my birthday in 1998 and it was one of the nicest bithdays I have ever had. That is just one of the very special things he did for me. He was a lovely friend and a true gentleman. He loved his family and his decesed wife. He looked forward to his Florida vacations. With little urging he would tell such marvelous stories. I am so glad I had the chance to spend time with Elliot and get to know him as a personal friend.

  2. Steve Kramer

    Mr. Norton did a review of the first show I ever played piano for. The show was “Showboat” directed by Howard Bay at Brandeis University. This was in the early 80’s. He panned the production and singled me out as well but it was an honor to be mentioned by him. Any chance of getting a copy of that review?
    Thanks,
    Steve Kramer

  3. James P. Satcher

    I have heard wonderful things about Mr. Norton and his reviews. I would love to have access to how to read them now that he has passed.

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