Exclusive: Oliviers In Concert preview

Reporter: Charlotte Marshall, first published Mon 25 Jan 2016 14:55

After much-anticipation, The Oliviers In Concert takes place tonight with a star-studded line-up including Michael Ball, Elaine Paige, Clive Rowe, Daniel Evans, John Dagleish, Katie Brayben and Scarlett Strallen. And everyone is invited to witness this once in a lifetime celebration of award-winning musical theatre by listening to the concert in full, live on BBC Radio 3 from 19:30.

To increase the excitement read on to discover exclusive details we’re thrilled, as the Olivier Awards with MasterCard’s official news channel, to be able to reveal including which shows will feature and the Olivier Award-winning actress who will turn host for the evening…

The host

We can exclusively reveal that Lesley Manville, one of the UK’s most respected actors, will oversee proceedings following her 2014 Olivier Award win for her staggering turn in Ghosts at both the Almeida Theatre and in the West End. Manville has form hosting for the Olivier Awards: last year she joined James McAvoy in having the honour of announcing the 2015 nominations.

The shows

A Chorus Line

Olivier Award count: Two (1976 & 2013)

We kick off with arguably the most iconic show to make the line-up. Earning the Best New Musical Olivier Award for its 1976 premiere, people remained as enamoured with its unique staging, legendary choreography and intimate storytelling when it burst back into London in 2013.

Anything Goes

Olivier Award count: One (2003)

Anything Goes won the 2003 award for Outstanding Musical Production, which really tells you all you need to know. Set aboard an ocean liner, the Cole Porter classic is sure to bring a taste of old school class to the Southbank Centre stage tonight.

Beautiful – The Carole King Musical

Olivier Award count: Two (2015)

One of the newest shows to make tonight’s bill, Beautiful is a glorious celebration of Carole King. Brayben, its original Olivier Award-winning star, is performing as part of tonight’s line-up so expect goose bumps when you hear the opening notes from a particularly famous song…

Beauty And The Beast

Olivier Award count: One (1998)

Fans of the classic Disney film and lovers of the score created for the stage by legendary trio Alan Menken, Tim Rice and Howard Ashman alike will be delighted to hear the 1998 Best New Musical Olivier Award winner performed live once again.


Olivier Award count: Four (1988 & 2000)

This show has cropped up regularly on the Olivier Award list, winning both Best New Musical (1988) and Outstanding Musical Production (2000). You’ll have to listen live to see how it will be showcased tonight…


Olivier Award count: Two (1978)

An Andrew Lloyd Webber classic, this show needs no introduction. Elaine Paige, the first lady of musical theatre who appears on tonight’s bill, originated the title role, bringing down the house and winning an Olivier Award for her timeless turn as icon Eva Peron.


Olivier Award count: One (1987)

We were keeping our fingers crossed that more than one Sondheim show would crop up on the bill and we can confirm the line-up certainly does not disappoint.  Nothing says musical theatre like Follies; its tale of former showgirls reuniting at a soon to be demolished Broadway theatre includes some of the stage’s best loved songs.

Guy And Dolls

Olivier Award count: Eight (1982, 1997 & 2006)

This is an exciting show to feature on two counts. One: Clive Rowe, who won an Olivier in 1997 for a role in a production of the classic, is part of tonight’s company so keep your fingers crossed for a rendition of your favourite number from him. Two: Chichester Festival Theatre’s five star hit production of the show is currently playing at the Savoy Theatre and will be eligible for this year’s awards, making this show’s contribution up-to-the-moment relevant.

Jersey Boys

Olivier Award count: One (2009)

Who loves you baby? The Oliviers that’s who. Those boys in red jackets earned 2009’s Best New Musical Award and, with its incredible score of Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons hits, concert director Maria Friedman will have been spoilt for choice as to what song to pick.

Les Misérables

Olivier Award count: Three (1985, 2012 &  2014)

As the world’s longest running musical and with worldwide audiences of more than 70 million people – not to mention original Marius Michael Ball on tonight’s line-up – Les Mis is pure theatrical magic.

Matilda The Musical

Olivier Award count: Seven (2012)

Aside from being just about the most joyous musical on the (West End) block, Matilda The Musical earns a worthy slot on the line-up following its record-breaking Olivier Award wins in 2012. With seven wins in one night, it’s the award’s most successful musical production ever.

Me And My Girl

Olivier Award count: Two (1985)

The Olivier Awards have been celebrating the best of London theatre for 40 years so it’s quite right that this ode to the city’s Cockney culture makes an appearance. The show was last seen in the capital in the 80s so start polishing your pearl buttons now in the hope tonight will be spark a revival!  

Merrily We Roll Along

Olivier Award count: Five (2001 & 2014)

It’s entirely fitting that this Sondheim production will feature tonight. The concert’s director and musical theatre veteran performer Friedman made her astonishing directorial debut with this show in 2012, well and truly revealing a huge talent to the world.


Olivier Award count: Four (1999)

Aside from its Olivier Award credentials, Oklahoma! earns its place in musical theatre history for being the first ever musical by legendary writing duo Rodgers and Hammerstein.

The Phantom Of The Opera

Olivier Award count: Three (1986 & 2002)

Tonight’s company of Olivier Award winners and popular stage performers will be accompanied by the BBC Concert Orchestra; we can’t wait to hear what they bring to a musical that boasts one of the West End’s most dramatic scores.

She Loves Me

Olivier Award count: Five (1995)

While this may be one of the lesser known musicals in tonight’s line-up, you probably know the story even if you think you don’t. Adapted from Miklos Laszlo's play Parfumerie, it inspired rom com classic You've Got Mail so we’re expecting it to bring a touch of romance to proceedings!

Sunday In The Park With George

Olivier Award count: Seven (1991 & 2007)

Sondheim crops up again with this hugely popular piece inspired by a Georges Seurat painting. Evans, who’s appearing tonight, won an Olivier Award for his part in the 2007 revival.

Sunny Afternoon

Olivier Award count: Four (2015)

Joining Beautiful in the modern musical ranks is Hampstead Theatre’s West End hit. Telling the story of The Kinks, original Ray Davies, Olivier Award winner John Dagleish, is part of tonight’s concert line-up so we’re hoping he will be shaking up the Royal Festival Hall with a touch of rock ‘n’ roll.

Sweeney Todd

Olivier Award count: Nine (1980, 1994, 2013)

How fitting to end on the most decorated of all the shows set to be showcased tonight. Sondheim’s deliciously dark piece is a lyrical treat with a score sure to really soar in the hands of the BBC Concert Orchestra.

Listen to the Olivier Awards In Concert live tonight on BBC Radio 3 from 19:30 or catch up on iPlayer where it will be available for the following 30 days