At a ceremony yesterday at the Prince of Wales Theatre hosted by Trevor Dion Nicholas and Vikki Stone, the winners of the 18th Annual WhatsOnStage Awards were announced – the only major theatre awards decided entirely by the theatregoers themselves.
With Hamilton having revised its opening night date making it ineligible for this year’s awards, the field was wide open. Leading the pack with four wins was 42nd Street currently running at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane – taking Best Musical Revival, Best Choreography, Best Set Design and Best Costume Design – from a total of eight nominations. Closely behind with three wins was Everybody’s Talking About Jamie – Dan Gillespie Sells and Tom MacRae’s homegrown British hit which began its life at Sheffield Theatres, before a much-deserved West End transfer. It received Best New Musical, Best Actor in a Musical for John McCrea, and Best Supporting Actress in a Musical for Lucie Shorthouse. In the musical categories, out of eight nominations, Bat Out of Hell landed one win for Best Lighting Design.
Matching Jamie’s three wins, and leading in the play categories, was The Ferryman – Jez Butterworth’s five star critically acclaimed play which opened at the Royal Court before running at the Gielgud Theatre, ahead of a recently announced Broadway run. Butterworth wins the Award for Best New Play, with Sam Mendes taking Best Direction, and Fra Fee winning Best Supporting Actor in a Play.
In the acting categories, Broadchurch co-stars Olivia Colman and David Tennant triumphed as Best Actress in a Play and Best Actor in a Play for their respective roles in Mosquitoes at the National Theatre, and Don Juan in Soho at the Wyndham’s Theatre. This is a first WhatsOnStage Award win for Colman, but a third for Tennant who has taken home the Best Actor in a Play category twice before for Hamlet and Richard II, with a further nomination for Much Ado About Nothing.
Tennant said today “The WhatsOnStage Awards are a wonderful evening celebrating everything that’s good about London theatre and I’m so chuffed to be winning this for Don Juan in Soho, thank you all so much. It was an amazing experience working with the incredible Patrick Marber, the peerless Adrian Scarborough and a fantastic cast of brilliant, talented, enthusiastic, wonderful people so thank you to all of them. It was a real privilege getting to do a play about Soho in Soho and especially over a summer when London sadly suffered terrible attacks, the play itself began to feel like a real celebration of London. And indeed one of the crown jewels of London which is theatreland and the WhatsOnStage Awards are such a glorious celebration of that, so thank you all for voting and thank you all for getting involved.
Best Actress in a Musical was won by Carrie Hope Fletcher for her performance in the touring production of The Addams Family; with Ross Noble winning Best Supporting Actor in a Musical for Young Frankenstein. Musicals also triumphed in the Best Off-West End category with Hair; the touring production of Sunset Boulevard winning Best Regional Production; andLes Misérables winning Best Original Cast Recording.
The Almeida Theatre’s production of Hamlet led by Andrew Scott won Best Play Revival, with Juliet Stevenson winning Best Supporting Actress in a Play for her performance as Gertrude.
Sonia Friedman won the Equity Award for Services to Theatre, with SFP Productions taking eight wins across the evening in another successful year for the company. As well as awards for The Ferryman, Don Juan in Soho and Hamlet, they were also represented by the West End phenomenon Harry Potter and the Cursed Child which won Best Show Poster and Best West End Show.
WhatsOnStage’s Chief Operating Officer Sita McIntosh said today, “2017 was such a strong year for theatre, and it’s wonderful to see such a broad cross section of work recognised in this year’s awards – many of the nominees were running neck and neck during the voting process due to the strength of talent represented. It’s also great to see new work being recognised across the categories with both Everybody’s Talking About Jamie and The Ferryman winning multiple awards.”