Olivier, Tony and BAFTA Award-winner Lindsay and hugely popular comedian Hound were recently announced to star, along with Katherine Kingsley, in the forthcoming UK premiere of Broadway screen-to-stage musical comedy Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. The production, directed by Jerry Mitchell, launches from Manchester Opera House next February before transferring to the West End's Savoy Theatre on 10 March 2014, when it will become eligible for the 2015 WhatsOnStage Awards.
In the meantime, Lindsay and Hound - who star as comedy duo Lawrence Jameson and Freddy Benson, played by Michael Caine and Steve Martin in the 1988 film – will be on hand Friday to help announce some of the key musical nominations in the 2014 WhatsOnStage Awards.
Amongst the big musicals eligible for the audience-voted awards this year are fellow Broadway imports The Book of Mormon and Once, as well as the world premieres of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Tori Amos' The Light Princess, Tim Rice's From Here to Eternity and Roddy Doyle's The Commitments.
Top l-r: Nigel Harman, Natalie Casey, Malcolm Sinclair, John Bird. Bottom: Cynthia Erivo, Richard Fleeshman, Jenna Russell, Eden Espinosa
Other guest presenters helping announce the 2014 WhatsOnStage Awards shortlists on Friday are: previous WhatsOnStage Award winners Nigel Harman and Natalie Casey, Equity president Malcolm Sinclair and, speaking on behalf of Official Charity, The Big Issue Foundation, Big Issue founder John Bird. There will also be performances by Cynthia Erivo (The Color Purple, I Can't Sing), Urinetown's Richard Fleeshman and Jenna Russell, and Broadway star Eden Espinosa singing a special Rodgers and Hammerstein tribute.
Get ready to laugh – and bake – at Awards Concert
Comedian Rufus Hound isn't stopping with the Launch Party, either. On Sunday 23 February, on a night off from the tour of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Hound will hightail it back to the West End to reunite with The Great British Bake-off star Mel Giedroyc to co-host the WhatsOnStage Awards Ceremony and Concert at the Prince of Wales Theatre.
Hound and Giedroyc teamed up for the first time, and to side-splitting comid effect, at this past year's WhatsOnStage Awards at the Palace Theatre, where they handed out trophies to stars including Danny Boyle, Michael Ball, Imelda Staunton,
Terri Paddock, WhatsOnStage managing and editorial director, said: "We are delighted to have Rufus and Mel back on board overseeing Awards Concert proceedings. And we're particularly thankful to Rufus for doing top-and-tail ‘double duty' at both the Launch and the Concert.
"In 2013, Rufus co-hosted the Concert just before making his West End play debut (in One Man, Two Guvnors), and in 2014, he'll co-host just before making his West End musical debut (in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels). What great synchronicity!"
Voting for the final winners goes live on awards.whatsonstage.com on Friday afternoon and continues until 31 January 2014. Winners are announced, and trophies presented, on Sunday 23 February 2014 at the WhatsOnStage Awards Ceremony and Concert at the West End's Prince of Wales Theatre.
Official Charity of the WhatsOnStage Awards
Both the Launch Party and the Awards Ceremony and Concert – for which tickets are now on sale! - are held in aid of our adopted charity, The Big Issue Foundation, the organisation which helps The Big Issue magazine's homeless vendors take their next steps off the street.
For the price of a pair of theatre tickets, you could buy a year's worth of Big Issues or donate just £10 a month to the charity, to make a real difference in a homeless person's life. To find out more, visit the Official Charity page on the Awards website. Or, to make a monthly or one-off donation now, visit www.bigissue.org.uk .
Get involved, get invited
The Launch Party is an industry-only, by-invitation event. However, a limited number of members of the public can attend by becoming Individual Supporters. Private sponsorship packages - priced £550 VAT - include two invites to the Launch Party at Cafe de Paris as well as VIP tickets and post-show party passes to the Awards Ceremony and Concert at a major West End theatre next February. For more information and to purchase a Theatregoer Sponsorship by Thursday 4 December, click here.
THANKS TO ALL OUR SPONSORS: