The results of the annual Whatsonstage.com Awards were revealed last night with the West End transfer of Chichester Festival Theatre’s Sweeney Todd coming away the big winner of the night, collecting awards in five categories.
The popular production won Best Musical Revival and saw co-stars Michael Ball and Imelda Staunton take home the coveted Best Actor and Best Actress in a Musical prizes for their respective roles as the Demon Barber of Fleet Street and the blood thirsty Mrs Lovett, while the show’s director Jonathan Church was awarded the Best Director gong and Mark Henderson was celebrated with the Best Lighting Designer award.
The Whatsonstage Awards, the only theatre awards to be voted for entirely by the public, were held at the Palace theatre in a ceremony presented by Mel Giedroyc and Rufus Hound. The evening saw Sheridan Smith perform to the gathered guests and continue her recent flurry of awards success, collecting the Best Actress in a Play Award for her critically acclaimed performance in the Old Vic theatre’s Hedda Gabler. In the equally hotly contested Best Actor in a Play category, The Judas Kiss star Rupert Everett beat off competition to collect the prize.
Stephen Fry described himself as “simply astonished” to be awarded the Best Supporting Actor in a Play for his performance as Malvolio in the West End transfer of Shakespeare’s Globe’s Twelfth Night. The actor and TV presenter gave a moving acceptance speech, saying: “17 years ago, I left this country in disgrace having run out of a play and I thought I might never return to the stage again. But thanks to the Globe, to Tim Carroll the director, the author William Shakespeare and to the wonderful Sonia Friedman [the show’s producer], and most of all, to the audiences at the Globe and the Apollo, I have been back onstage in a wonderful play and had the privilege of playing with one of the best casts that has ever been assembled.”
Fry’s award was not the only reason for Shakespeare’s Globe to celebrate with Twelfth Night awarded Best Shakespearean Production and, coupled with Richard III, the double bill picked up The IMAIL Best Ensemble Performance.
Other big winners in the play categories included Simon Stephens, who collected the Best New Play Award for his adaptation of popular novel The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time. The Ladykillers took home Best New Comedy while Natalie Casey was awarded Best Supporting Actress in a Play for her performance in Abigail’s Party.
In the musical categories, The Bodyguard beat off competition to take home Best New Musical, while the high profile arena tour of Jesus Christ Superstar was celebrated in the Best Supporting Actor and Actress in a Musical categories, awarded to Melanie C and Tim Minchin respectively. The London Newcomer of the Year also offered a nod to the wealth of musical talent in the West End, with singer Will Young triumphing for his role as the Emcee in last year’s revival of Cabaret.
Other winners of the night included Idina Menzel (Best Solo Performance), West End star Ramin Karimloo, who was celebrated for his role in Les Misérables, which also took home the night’s Best West End Show award, and the Olympics Opening Ceremony which was awarded Theatre Event of the Year for director Danny Boyle’s incredible staging.
The next date in Theatreland’s award calendar is the most prestigious ceremony of all, the Olivier Awards with MasterCard, which will take place on 28 April at the Royal Opera House. Theatregoers have until 18 March to have their say as to who takes home the coveted BBC Radio 2 Audience Award by voting here.
Full list of winners:
The DIGITAL THEATRE Best Actress in a Play
Sheridan Smith - Hedda Gabler at the Old Vic theatre
The DIGITAL THEATRE Best Actor in a Play
Rupert Everett – The Judas Kiss at the Hampstead theatre
Best Supporting Actress in a Play
Natalie Casey – Abigail’s Party at the Menier Chocolate Factory & the Wyndham’s theatre
Best Supporting Actor in a Play
Stephen Fry – Twelfth Night at Shakespeare’s Globe & the Apollo theatre
The STAR Best Actress in a Musical
Imelda Staunton – Sweeney Todd at the Adelphi theatre
The THEATRE TOKENS Best Actor in a Musical
Michael Ball – Sweeney Todd at the Adelphi theatre
Best Supporting Actress in a Musical
Melanie C – Jesus Christ Superstar at the O2
The W&P LONGREACH Best Supporting Actor in a Musical
Tim Minchin – Jesus Christ Superstar at the O2
The JO HUTCHISON INTERNATIONAL Best Solo Performance
Idina Menzel – Idina Menzel at the Apollo theatre
The IMAIL Best Ensemble Performance
Richard III & Twelfth Night – at Shakespeare’s Globe & the Apollo theatre
Best Takeover in a Role
Ramin Karimloo – Les Misérables at the Queen’s theatre
Best New Play
The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time by Simon Stephens – at the National Theatre, Cottesloe
The TIME OUT Best New Comedy
The Ladykillers by Graham Linehan – at the Gielgud theatre
Best New Musical
The Bodyguard by Alex Dinelaris – at the Adelphi theatre
Best Play Revival
Abigail’s Party – at the Menier Chocolate Factory & Wyndham’s theatre
The RADISSON BLU EDWARDIAN Best Musical Revival
Sweeney Todd – at the Adelphi theatre
Best Shakespearean Production
Twelfth Night – at Shakespeare’s Globe & the Apollo theatre
The TOTALLY THEATRE PRODUCTIONS Best Director
Jonathan Kent – Sweeney Todd at the Adelphi theatre
The FEAST Best Set Designer
Tom Scutt – The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe at Kensington Gardens & Constellations at the Royal Court Upstairs & Duke of York’s theatre
The WHITE LIGHT Best Lighting Designer
Mark Henderson – Sweeney Todd at the Adelphi theatre
The made Best Choreographer
Andrew Wright – Singin’ In The Rain at the Palace theatre
The AUTOGRAPH Best Original Music
Sweet Smell of Success – Marvin Hamlisch at the Arcola theatre
The DEWYNTERS London Newcomer of the Year
Will Young (actor) – Cabaret at the Savoy theatre
The BOOM ENTS Best Off-West End Production
Taboo – at the Brixton Club House
The TICKETS.COM Best Regional Production
American Idiot – on tour
The EQUITY Best West End Show
Les Misérables – at the Queen’s theatre
The AKA Theatre Event of the Year
Danny Boyle’s Olympics Opening Ceremony