Goold, Spring Awakening and Maggie Smith win final awards

Reporter: Matthew Amer, first published Sun 21 Mar 2010 22:29

The last of the coveted Laurence Olivier Awards have been presented to Rupert Goold, who takes home Best Director, and Spring Awakening, which was awarded Best New Musical, continuing its success at this year’s awards. Concluding the awards, the 2010 Laurence Olivier Special Award has been presented to legendary British actress Dame Maggie Smith.

Having already taken home the Evening Standard Theatre Award and Critics’ Circle Award for Best Director for Enron, Goold rounds up the 2010 awards season with an Olivier win for his work on the celebrated play.

Written by Lucy Prebble, Enron premiered at the Royal Court last summer, before transferring into the West End to the Noël Coward theatre in January 2010. Casting a light on one of the world’s largest financial scandals, the production has been widely acclaimed for Goold’s staging which uses projections and videos.

Artistic Director of Headlong Theatre and Associate Director at the Royal Shakespeare Company, this marks a second Laurence Olivier Awards win for the British director after he took home the accolade in 2008 for Macbeth.

Presented by Best Actor nominee Jude Law, Goold beat Michael Grandage (Hamlet), Lindsay Posner (A View From The Bridge), Ian Rickson (Jerusalem) and Bijan Sheibani (Our Class) in this hotly contested category.

Marking a hugely successful night for musical Spring Awakening, having already taken home Best Actor in a Musical or Entertainment (Aneurin Barnard), Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical or Entertainment (Iwan Rheon) and Best Sound Design, the production has collected Best New Musical, winning four out of its seven nominations.

First seen on Broadway, Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater’s musical adaptation of Frank Wedekind’s 1891 play, Spring Awakening was staged at the Lyric Hammersmith in January 2009 before transferring to the Novello theatre in March 2009. Highly acclaimed for its mainly teenage cast and score that boasted angry rock and indie ballads, the edgy musical about sexual awakening attracted a younger audience into the theatre. Sadly, the musical posted early closing notices and finished its run in May due to poor ticket sales.

Bringing the evening to a close, last year’s Best Actress winner Margaret Tyzack presented Smith with the Special Award. Since making her stage debut in 1952, the veteran actress has appeared in over 50 stage productions in the UK and US.

Beginning her career at the Oxford Playhouse, one of her most notable stage roles came in 1960 when she played Desdemona opposite Laurence Olivier in Othello at the National Theatre. The later film adaptation won her her first Academy Award nomination and was the beginning of her illustrious reputation on both stage and film.

Having been part of the Old Vic Theatre Company and the National Theatre Company, Smith’s stage credits include Miss Julie, The Country Wife, Hay Fever, Much Ado About Nothing, Hedda Gabler, Private Lives, Three Tall Women, The Importance Of Being Earnest and, most recently, The Lady From Dubuque at the Theatre Royal Haymarket in 2007.

Smith’s career has seen her win two Academy Awards for The Pride Of Miss Brodie in 1960 and California Suite in 1979, and a Tony Award in 1990 for Lettice And Lovage, as well as collecting a handful of BAFTAs. Having been nominated twice for a Laurence Olivier Award for A Delicate Balance in 1998 and in 2000 for her performance in The Lady In The Van at the Queen’s theatre, this is the first time the actress takes home one of the coveted awards.