The Book Of Mormon dominated the musical categories at the 38th Olivier Awards with MasterCard, winning four prizes including Best New Musical and Best Actor in a Musical for Gavin Creel (that’s four wins from six nominations). Les Misérables won the much-coveted BBC Radio 2 Audience Award for the second time.
The ceremony at London’s Royal Opera House – hosted by Stephen Mangan and Gemma Arterton – featured 14 live performances including Abba’s Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus reuniting as part of a rousing show finale to celebrate 15 years of Mamma Mia!
There were also special performances from Broadway star and two-time Tony Award-winning actress Bernadette Peters (singing ‘Losing My Mind’ from Stephen Sondheim’s Follies), opera performer Joseph Calleja, and live excerpts from all the nominated productions in both the MasterCard Best New Musical and BBC Radio 2 Audience Award categories.
Along with Best New Musical and Best Actor in a Musical, The Book of Mormon also won for Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical (Stephen Ashfield) and Best Theatre Choreographer (Casey Nicholaw). Mormon co-producer Anne Garefino said: “If we ever wondered if London would embrace us, we can stop wondering now.”
Zrinka Cvitešić won Best Actress in a Musical for Once at the Phoenix Theatre, which was also awarded the brand new Autograph Sound Award for Outstanding Achievement in Music won by Martin Lowe for composition and arrangements and Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová for music and lyrics.
The seven-times nominated Charlie and the Chocolate Factory also had a productive night with Mark Thompson awarded Best Costume Design and Paul Pyant and Jon Driscoll sharing the White Light Award for Best Lighting Design with Best New Play Chimerica. Two numbers from Charlie also opened the show and allowed audiences an opportunity to see the new Willy Wonka, as played by Alex Jennings, for the first time.
The Menier Chocolate Factory production of Merrily We Roll Along, also nominated in seven categories, was named Best Musical Revival for its critically acclaimed run at the Harold Pinter Theatre. Merrily director Maria Friedman commented: “I have found something I absolutely love to do, and that’s tell stories. It’s extraordinary to be here on my first outing as a director.”
Gareth Owen also accepted the Best Sound award for his work on Merrily (again, a joint win with Chimerica).
It was, however, a disappointing night for the Young Vic production of Kander and Ebb’s The Scottsboro Boys which was nominated in six categories but came away empty handed.
The Special Award winners for outstanding achievement were theatre impresario Michael White and the National Theatre’s Nicholas Hytner and Nick Starr who received their award in recognition of their decade in charge of the South Bank venue.
On the night the live BBC Concert Orchestra was conducted by David Charles Abell, with orchestrations and original music by Larry Blank, and further orchestrations by Mark Cumberland.
The evening’s show also included a live link to a free public Olivier Awards celebration on the ITV stage in Covent Garden Piazza hosted by Myleene Klass and West End leading man Michael Xavier where hundreds of theatre-lovers enjoyed West End performances and a live big screen relay of the ceremony. On the night these included Wicked actress Willemijn Verkaik giving a rendition of ‘Defying Gravity’ from the roof of the Piazza and a performance of ‘One Day More’ by the current London cast of Les Misérables.
Highlights from the awards are available on ITV Player.
The MUSICAL THEATRE winners of the Olivier Awards 2014 with Mastercard are:
BEST ACTOR IN A MUSICAL:
Gavin Creel for The Book Of Mormon (Prince of Wales Theatre)
BEST ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL:
Zrinka Cvitešić for Once (Phoenix Theatre)
BEST PERFORMANCE IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A MUSICAL:
Stephen Ashfield for The Book Of Mormon (Prince of Wales Theatre)
MASTERCARD BEST NEW MUSICAL:
The Book Of Mormon (Prince of Wales Theatre)
BEST MUSICAL REVIVAL:
Merrily We Roll Along (Harold Pinter Theatre)
BBC RADIO 2 AUDIENCE AWARD:
Les Misérables (Queen’s Theatre)
BEST THEATRE CHOREOGRAPHER:
Casey Nicholaw for The Book of Mormon (Prince of Wales Theatre)
AUTOGRAPH SOUND AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN MUSIC:
Once – Martin Lowe for composition & arrangements, Glen Hansard & Markéta Irglová for music & lyrics
WHITE LIGHT AWARD FOR BEST LIGHTING DESIGN:
Paul Pyant for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Theatre Royal Drury Lane)
BEST SOUND DESIGN:
Gareth Owen for Merrily We Roll Along (Harold Pinter Theatre)
BEST COSTUME DESIGN
Mark Thompson for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Theatre Royal Drury Lane)
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