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Kelly, Dench and Jerry honoured at Olivier Awards

Reporter: , first published Mon 23 Feb 2004 13:10

Matthew Kelly was awarded the Best Actor Olivier last night, in a ceremony that also saw Eileen Atkins win Best Actress and Jerry Springer - The Opera named Best New Musical. The Society Of London Theatre's Special Award was presented to Judi Dench for her "outstanding contribution to British theatre".

Matthew Kelly was delighted by his Best Actor win: "I hope it draws a line under the year: we all shared the journey and the experience together and this is the best possible outcome for me and all the people who shared it with me. But I hope I got this because I'm a fabulous actor!" Judi Dench was overwhelmed by her special award: "It feels completely fantastic. When Kevin Spacey came on and sang I've Got A Crush On You, I'm glad you didn't have a photograph of me." Also, Dame Judi hinted that she may appear on stage with Kevin Spacey at the Old Vic, although not, she says, as his mother.

Best New Musical creators Stewart Lee and Richard Thomas responded: "All the other categories we were up for tonight were subjective," said Lee, "but I do genuinely think that this was the Best New Musical and I'd have been furious if we hadn't been given the prize for it." The judges clearly agreed, although they might disagree with Richard Thomas' plans: "I will happily waer my award as a hat in the future." A warning, Richard, that award is incredibly heavy. Jerry Springer cast member David Bedella was thrilled by his award: "This means the world to me. I came over from America not knowing if I'd ever work in this country and to come this far is amazing."

Best Director award winner Michael Grandage said: “I feel very excited indeed. It’s been a wonderful first year at the Donmar and this is a particularly gorgeous moment to cap it.”

Here are the results of the 2004 Olivier Awards, in the order in which they were announced last night in a ceremony hosted by Clive Anderson at the Hilton on Park Lane, you can click here for the full list of nominees and winners, or relive our live gong-by-gong coverage here.

William Dudley for Hitchcock Blonde at the Royal Court Downstairs & The Lyric
William Dudley’s design for Hitchcock Blonde incorporated videos, an on-stage swimming pool and (appropriately enough for the subject) a shower. His previous productions include designs for The Coast Of Utopia, Honour and Blue/Orange (all at the National Theatre) and this is his seventh Olivier Award, which makes him the most lauded theatrical designer of recent times: he also won Best Designer last year - for The Coast Of Utopia.

PACIFIC OVERTURES designed by Hugh Vanstone at the Donmar Warehouse
Hugh Vanstone has worked as a lighting designer for plays, musicals and opera for the past ten years. He has worked on a wide range of productions including Tell Me On A Sunday (Gielgud), The Breath Of Life (Haymarket), The Lady From The Sea (Almeida), The Blue Room and the Front Page (both Donmar Warehouse). He won the Olivier Award in 2001 for his work on The Cherry Orchard (National Cottesloe and Olivier) and The Graduate (Gielgud) and in 199 for The Unexpected Man (RSC at the Duchess) and The Blue Room (Donmar Warehouse).

English National Opera’s THE TROJANS (Parts I and II) at the London Coliseum

As the revamped Coliseum approaches its official reopening, The English National Opera has received a further boost by winning the Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Opera Production for its production of The Trojans, Berlioz’s two part chronicle of the fall of Troy. The operas were directed by Richard Jones and choreographed by Philippe Giraudeau. The performances were scheduled to coincide with the bi-centenary of Berlioz’s birth.

Cristina Gallardo-Domas for The Royal Opera’s MADAMA BUTTERFLY at the Royal Opera House
Chiliean soprano Cristina Gallardo-Domas has won the 2004 Olivier Award for Oustanding Achievement In Opera, for her performance in The Royal Opera’s production of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly. Directed by Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier and conducted by Antonio Pappano, this was the first production in ten years of Puccini’s classic at the Royal Opera House.

MOURNING BECOMES ELECTRA by Eugene O’Neill at the Lyttelton
Eugene O’Neill’s Mourning Becomes Electra has won the award for Best Revival. The play, which runs for a blockbusting 4 hours 15 minutes, has an all-star cast including Helen Mirren, Paul McGann and Eve Best. First published in 1931, the play explores the destructive forces of jealousy and desire. A victorious war-hero returns home after the American civil war to his adulterous wife, who poisons him and takes a younger lover; their daughter, Lavinia, decides to avenge her father’s death.

POWER designed by Christopher Oram at the Cottesloe
Christopher Oram trained at the Wimbledon School of Art and has subsequently worked many times with Donmar Warehouse artistic director Michael Grandage, both in Sheffield (Richard III, Edward II, As You Like It, What The Butler Saw) and at the Donmar (Privates On Parade, Merrily We Roll Along, Passion Play and Good). Nick Dear’s new play Power, at the National Cottesloe, charted the rise and fall of Nicolas Fouquet, chief financier to Louis XIV and Oram’s costumes matched the style and flamboyance of the era.

Duckie’s C’EST BARBICAN! devised and written by Mark Whitelaw, Ursula Martinez, Christopher Green, Marisa Carnesky, Francesca Baglione and Simon Vincenzi, scored by Ian Hill at The Pit
Duckie have become one of only a handful of cabaret acts to win a Laurence Olivier Award, winning the Best Entertainment Award for C’est Barbican at (rather unsurprisingly) the Barbican in late 2003. The kitsch spectacular introduced the novel concept of audiences picking and choosing their individual acts (which range from vaudeville to ventriloquism via voyeurism) and having the performers trot out to each individual table.

The Chorus of Jerry Springer The Opera
(all 22 of them) have won the Olivier Award for Best Performance In A Supporting Role In A Musical. The Chorus play rednecks in the audience of the Jerry Springer show. The winners are: Delroy Atkinson, Robert Bengtsson, Steve Bradford, Gary Bryden, Natasha Cox, Hadrian Delacey, Nathan Dowling, Jonathan Glew, Rachel Johnson, Tania Mathurin, Ryan Molloy, Jo Napthine, Alastair Parker, Jenessa Qua, Brian Saccente, Gabriella Santinelli, Gayle Telfer Stevens, Lucy Vandi, Elen Mon Wayne, Annabelle Williams and Lynne Wilmot. Phew!

Matthew Kelly for OF MICE AND MEN at the Savoy
Matthew Kelly has won the Olivier Award for Best Actor. The popular TV presenter has bounced back from numerous controversies to pick up the award for his first West End role as Lennie in Of Mice And Men which is currently showing at the Old Vic after a successful run at The Savoy. Kelly is best known for jovially fronting television programmes such as You Bet! and Stars In Their Eyes but also has a string of critically acclaimed stage performances behind him.

Karen Bruce for PACIFIC OVERTURES at the Donmar Warehouse
Karen Bruce has worked as an assistant on Grease (Dominion Theatre) and as choreographer on Sheffield Crucible’s critically acclaimed productions of A Chorus Line and Sweet Charity. Her choreography for Pacific Overtures was made especially unusual by the demands of the Donmar’s small stage, Sondheim’s score which mixes Eastern and Western influences and the production’s style, which drew on traditional Japanese theatre.

JERRY SPRINGER – THE OPERA designed by Mike Walker at the Lyttelton and Cambridge
Mike Walker’s sound design for Jerry Springer ensured that the audience was able to capture every word of the show’s large cast. “There are no real introductions to sections,” he explained, “so you have to know absolutely what is about to be sung or played, especially the incidental lines spoken by Jerry. It provides many additional words to the sung vocabulary of the West End stage, and it is important that we deliver them clearly to the audience!"

PACIFIC OVERTURES music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, book by John Weidman, additional material by Hugh Wheeler at the Donmar Warehouse
Pacific Overtures continues the long line of successful Sondheim productions at the Donmar Warehouse, which have included Company, Into The Woods and Merrily We Roll Along, as well as Assassins, which was the production with which Sam Mendes opened the theatre. Written with John Weidman, Sondheim’s musical follows the first arrival of Americans in Japan and the difficult process of building diplomatic relations between the two countries. Gary Griffin’s production was originally seen at the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre.

Kevin Spacey presented THE SOCIETY'S SPECIAL AWARD to Judi Dench for her outstanding contribution to British theatre.
Dame Judi Dench hardly needs any introduction from us, but, in case you've been on the moon recently, her recent stage appearances have included The Breath Of Life (Haymarket) and All's Well That Ends Well (RSC at the Gielgud), not to mention a string of remarkable performances at the National Theatre and Royal Shakespeare Company in plays old and new.

PACIFIC OVERTURES music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, book by John Weidman, additional material by Hugh Wheeler at the Donmar Warehouse
Pacific Overtures continues the long line of successful Sondheim productions at the Donmar Warehouse, which have included Company, Into The Woods and Merrily We Roll Along, as well as Assassins, which was the production with which Sam Mendes opened the theatre. Written with John Weidman, Sondheim’s musical follows the first arrival of Americans in Japan and the difficult process of building diplomatic relations between the two countries. Gary Griffin’s production was originally seen at the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre.

Debbie Tucker Green for BORN BAD at Hampstead Theatre
Debbie Tucker Green’s second play, Born Bad, was described by the Independent as an “unflinching account of abuse”. Jenny Topper, the former artistic director of the Hampstead described her as having “the three essential elements of a new voice: she is concerned with ideas, she is concerned with form, and she has the courage to stay true to her intuition and let her own linguistic invention come through.” It follows her debut, Dirty Butterfly, which was seen at the Soho Theatre one year ago.

The Young Vic for an audacious season under the artistic direction of David Lan
The Young Vic had an extraordinarily successful 2003, with a bold series of productions including Red Demon, Simply Heavenly, Peribanez, an updated version of Hobson’s Choice, Peter Brook’s Le Costume, a spectacular Icelandic production of Romeo And Juliet and Trevor Nunn directing David Almond’s Skellig.

David Bedella for JERRY SPRINGER – THE OPERA at the Lyttelton and Cambridge
David also played Satan in the production of Jerry Springer – The Opera seen at the Edinburgh Festival in 2002. He has extensive US theatre credits, including playing Frank-N-Furter in The Rocky Horror Show opposite Meatloaf, and also appeared in Sweet Charity at the Crucible Theatre Sheffield.

Maria Friedman for RAGTIME at the Piccadilly
Set at the beginning of the twentieth century, Ragtime tells the story of three very different families as they become intertwined and unfold across the colourful era. Friedman is a renowned and versatile musical performer, having previously appeared in Passion, Lady In The Dark, Sunday In The Park With George, The Witches Of Eastwick and Chicago. Ragtime was nominated for eight Olivier Awards in all.

Broken Fall, a George Piper Dances commission in association with The Royal Ballet at the Royal Opera House
, has won the Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Dance Production. The production was choreographed by Russell Maliphant and featured Sylvie Guillem and the Ballet Boyz (Michael Nunn and William Trevitt).

Thomas Edur and Agnes Oaks for their performances in English National Ballet’s 2 HUMAN at Sadler’s Wells
The dancers Thomas Edur and Agnes Oaks picked up the award for Outstanding Achievement in Dance for their performances in English National Ballet’s 2 Human at Sadler’s Wells. Choreographed by Wayne McGregor, the duet is performed to Bach’s Partita No 2 for violin. The classical dancers, who joined the English National Ballet in 1990, are recast as punk icons experiencing the rocky road of love. The two dancers first met as schoolchildren in Estonia and later married, and have played many romantic leads together, such as Romeo and Juliet and the Prince and Princess in Sleeping Beauty.

Warren Mitchell for THE PRICE at the Apollo
Warren Mitchell is best known for his role as Alf Garnett in Til Death Do Us Part, (“I’ve been playing him on and off for the last 25 years”). His acting career began when he met Richard Burton in the RAF during World War II and in recent years he has had a string of critically acclaimed performances – in The Caretaker and Death Of A Salesman at the National Theatre and in Art at the Wyndham’s.

Eileen Atkins for HONOUR at the Cottesloe
Eileen Atkins has starred on stage with Laurence Olivier and Alec Guinness and has also achieved success as a writer, penning the screenplay of Mrs Dalloway with Vanessa Redgrave. She previously won an Olivier Award for Best Actress in 1999 for The Unexpected Man (RSC at the Pit and the Duchess), Best Performance In A Supporting Role in 1988 for Cymbeline, The Winter’s Tale and Mountain Language (National Theatre). Her other West End appearances include Edward Albee’s A Delicate Balance (with Maggie Smith) and her films include Gosford Park, The Hours and Cold Mountain.

Michael Grandage for CALIGULA at the Donmar Warehouse
Michael Grandage took over from Sam Mendes last year as artistic director of the Donmar Warehouse. He now manages two roles – he is also associate director at the Sheffield Crucible where notable productions have included Joseph Fiennes as Edward II and Kenneth Branagh as Richard II. His debut year at the Donmar also included a critically acclaimed production of Noel Coward’s The Vortex and Patrick Marber’s updating of Strindberg, After Miss Julie. Michael Grandage is currently rehearsing a production of Suddenly Last Summer (to star Diana Rigg and Victoria Hamilton) for Sheffield Theatres, followed by a UK tour.

THE PILLOWMAN by Martin McDonagh at the Cottesloe
The Pillowman is the second of Martin McDonagh’s plays to be presented at the National and follows the playwright’s win last year of the Olivier Award for Best New Comedy for The Lieutenant Of Inishmore (RSC at the Pit and the Garrick). The Pillowman tells the story of a storyteller and how his dark fables get him into trouble with the police who accuse him of a series of grisly murders. The Pillowman is currently at the National Cottesloe, in a production starring Jim Broadbent, David Tennant, Adam Godley and Nigel Lindsay, until 17 April.

JERRY SPRINGER – THE OPERA music by Richard Thomas, book and lyrics by Stewart Lee & Richard Thomas at the Lyttelton and Cambridge
Jerry Springer - The Opera was one of the theatrical sensations of 2003 when it opened at the National Lyttelton. Richard Thomas and Stewart Lee’s groundbreaking show mixed high opera, blues and big band music with outrageous storylines. It transferred last autumn to the Cambridge Theatre, where audiences have relished the prospect of rednecks swearing to operatic music. “To be fair I've toured with Richard [Thomas, composer] doing comedy," Stewart Lee told us last year, "and he's the most foul-mouthed person I've ever met. His casual level of swearing is just astonishing.”

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