Olivier Award winners Nigel Harman and David Bedella will take leading roles in this year’s S&S Award Gala at St James Theatre on Sunday 23 November.
It has also ben announced that The S&S Award is linking up with Leicester Curve to be the ‘host venue’ for the winning show’s developmental programme. Curve, under new artistic director Nikolai Foster, has declared its intention to be ‘the British home of new musical theatre writing’.
The S&S Award is an annual celebration of new musical theatre and is given to the best new unproduced musical of the year as judged by a panel of distinguished producers, actors, directors and musicians.
A cast of West End performers will present extracts from the winning show, Stay Awake, Jake by Tim Gilvin, and from two highly-commended shows, Jabberwocky by Rebecca Applin and Susannah Pearse, and Van Winkle – a folk musical by Caroline Wigmore.
The evening, noted for attracting a celebrity theatre audience, will be hosted by David Bedella, and will culminate in the presentation of The S&S Award 2014 by Nigel Harman.
Norman Bowman, who will play the title role in Stay Awake Jake, has recently returned from New York, where he appeared in Kenneth Branagh’s epic production of Macbeth. He also appeared in Michael Grandage’s Henry V at the Noel Coward Theatre. His musical theatre credits include Finding Neverland (Leicester Curve), Mack Sennet in Mack & Mabel (Southwark Playhouse), End of the Rainbow (UK tour) and Parade (Donmar).
Julie Atherton originated the role of Kate Monster/Lucy the Slut in Avenue Q and made her West End debut in the lead role of Sophie in Mamma Mia! Her extensive leading roles in musicals include Sister Act, Thérèse Raquin and The Hired Man.
The West End company of performers also includes: Sabrina Aloueche (Les Misérables, We Will Rock You), Sarah Earnshaw (Spamalot, Wicked), Sandy Grigelis (Carnaby Street, West End Heroes), Jennifer Hepburn (Taboo, Les Misérables), Hannah Jarrett-Scott (Midsummer Songs, Girl Meets Boy), Aidan Kelly (National’s Treasure Island, Once), Katrina Kleve (Once, Smokey Joe’s Cafe), Matt Rutherford (Love Beyond, The Hired Man), Victoria Serra (Love Story, Mamma Mia!), Jos Slovick (Once, The Snow Queen), Vicki Lee Taylor (Urinetown, A Chorus Line), and Matt Wycliffe (The Commitments, Jersey Boys). Artists are subject to availability.
Plus special guest star for the evening will be singer/songwriter Gwyneth Herbert.
Nigel Harman won the Best Supporting Actor Oliver Award and the Theatregoers’ Choice Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Musical as Lord Farquaad in Shrek in the West End. He has just directed the first UK Shrek tour. His other West End starring roles include Simon in I Can’t Sing! (London Palladium), Sky Masterson in Michael Grandage’s revival of Guys and Dolls (Piccadilly), Pip in Three Days of Rain (Apollo), Eddie in Mamma Mia! (Prince Edward), and Cousin Kevin in Tommy (Shaftesbury). On TV he became a household name as Dennis Rickman in EastEnders and recently guest starred in Downton Abbey.
David Bedella has just finished a sold-out season playing the title role in Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd at Twickenham Theatre. The actor and singer was a triple award winner for creating the role of the warm-up man Jonathan Weiruss/Satan in Jerry Springer the Opera. He appeared in the role at the National Theatre, in the West End, the Sydney Opera House and in New York in a concert version at Carnegie Hall. On television David most notably played Dr Carlos Fashola in Holby City. His other West End starring roles include Frank n Furter in The Rocky Horror Show, Billy Flynn in Chicago, and Hedwig in Hedwig and the Angry Inch. He starred as Arnold in Torch Song Trilogy and Wilson Mizner in Sondheim’s Road Show, both at the Menier Chocolate Factory. In the past year he played Man 1 in the acclaimed production of Sondheim’s Putting It Together at St James Theatre and Kevin in Into the Heights at Southwark Playhouse.
The S&S Award Gala is directed by Simon Greiff, with musical direction by Richard Bates.It is produced by SimG Productions in association with Mercury Musical Developments.
The S&S Award Gala is a unique opportunity to be in at the beginning of brand new British musicals performed by the West End’s finest.