So last night the creme of British theatre walked the red carpet up to the Royal Opera House for an evening of theatrical anecdotes, lots of applause and general patting of ones back as the Mastercard Olivier Awards honoured actors and production staff who have made the West End another outstanding 12 months. .
Here is a run down of who won what – focussing on the winning shows that you can still catch at the theatre:
Best Actress in a Play went to Denis Gough for her starring role in People, Places and Things which transferred from the National to the Wyndhams theatre and is running there until 4th June. It’s a stark play about the choices we make when things go drastically wrong in our lives and when we believe it’s not us that’s going mad but everyone around us.
Best Actor in a Musical was Matt Henry for his cross-dressing role of Lola in new musical Kinky Boots at the Adelphi theatre. Adapted from the 2005 film by Girls Just Wanna Have Fun songtress Cyndi Lauper, the show also picked up awards for Best New Musical and Best Costume. Kinky Boots is booking to 24th September 2016
Best Supporting Actor in a Musical went to David Badella in the hit show In the Heights at the uniquely built Kings Cross theatre. Badella plays the role of Kevin the patriarch of a family taxi business trying to stay afloat in the recession hit district of New York -Washington Heights – during a stifling summer of heat, music and dance. The musical also won two other awards – for Best Choreographer (Drew McOnie) and the Autograph Sound Award for Outstanding Achievement in Music. In The Heights is booking to 31st October 2016.
Best New Comedy was Nell Gwynn at the Apollo theatre starring Gemma Arterton as the flirtatious actress who captured the heart of King Charles II. Nell Gwynn runs to end of the month closing on 30th April.
Magic Radio Audience Award, voted for by listeners of the London station, went to The Phantom of the Opera. This timeless musical, by Andrew Lloyd Webber, is still going strong 30 years on from its opening night. Ben Forster, who made his name in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s spectacular 2013 arena tour of Jesus Christ Superstar and more recently was seen in Christmas musical Elf, has now taken over the role of The Phantom and I know personally that this is a role Ben has coveted from a very young age. Actually, at 34 years old, he is one the youngest actors to take on the iconic masked phantom. The Phantom of the Opera is currently booking to 1st October 2016.
There were also awards for “every night’s a first night” improvised musical Showstoppers and the National theatre’s production of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Other winners on the night for shows that are, unfortunately, no longer playing in the West End were as follows :
Best Actor : Kenneth Cranham – The Father
Best Actress in a Musical : Imelda Staunton – Gypsy
Best Supporting Actor : Mark Gatiss – Three Days in the County
Best Supporting Actress : Dame Judi Dench – A Winter’s Tale
Best Supporting Actress in a Musical : Lara Pulver – Gypsy
Best New Play : Hangmen by Martin McDonagh