Macbeth, War Horse & Face Lead Standard ShortlistsDate: 7 November 2007
Chichester Festival’s “Macbeth of a lifetime” leads the field in this year’s Evening Standard Theatre Award shortlists, published today, with a total of three nominations. The National Theatre’s adaptation of Michael Morpurgo’s children’s novel War Horse and Royal Court playwright Polly Stenham’s debut That Face also received multiple nominations, two apiece.
For That Face, Polly Stenham has been nominated for the Most Promising Playwright prize, which carries with it a cheque for £25,000. Her play, which ran earlier this year at the Royal Court Jerwood Theatre Upstairs and which has already won the TMA Award for Best New Play (See News, 22 Oct 2007), has also earned actor Matt Smith (now in the West End opposite Christian Slater in Swimming with Sharks) a nod for Outstanding Newcomer.
War Horse receives nominations for both Best Director (jointly for Marianne Elliott and Tom Morris) and Best Design (Rae Smith and the Handspring Puppet Company). Its nods contribute to six overall for the National.
War Horse competes in both of its categories with Macbeth, now transferred to the West End’s Gielgud Theatre, and its director Rupert Goold and designer Anthony Ward. The Shakespearean production’s third nomination goes to star Patrick Stewart who, having already triumphed at last month’s TMA Awards, is up for a second Best Actor trophy for his title performance.
Other big names in the performance contests include Charles Dance, Robert Lindsay and Mark Rylance for Best Actor, and Anne-Marie Duff, Billie Piper, Penelope Wilton and one-word monikered New Yorker Portia for Best Actress. Commenting on the calibre of performers considered for these categories, Evening Standard critic and judge Nicholas de Jongh said: "In the 14 or 15 years on the panel, this is the best year for acting I can remember."
In the Best Musical category, just-opened Broadway blockbuster import Hairspray goes head-to-head with Sheffield Crucible’s revival of Fiddler on the Roof, now at the Savoy, and the Donmar Warehouse’s London premiere of Parade.
The first prize-giving of the awards season – ahead of the Critics’ Circle, the Laurence Olivier and Whatsonstage.com’s own Theatregoers’ Choice Awards, all of which are announced in the new year – the Evening Standard Awards are announced in a ceremony hosted by Richard Wilson at the Savoy on 27 November 2007.
This year, for the first time, the newspaper also published its awards longlists, comprising every individual and production submitted by the judges as awards-worthy (See News, 1 Nov 2007). The Standard Awards are decided by a panel of critics from the Mail on Sunday (Georgina Brown), Observer (Susannah Clapp), Times (Benedict Nightingale) and Daily Telegraph (Charles Spencer) as well as the Standard itself (Nicholas de Jongh).
- by Terri Paddock
The full shortlists in this year’s 53rd annual Evening Standard Theatre Awards, which covers openings up until the end of October 2007, are:
THE SYDNEY EDWARDS AWARD FOR BEST DIRECTOR
THE NED SHERRIN AWARD FOR BEST MUSICAL
THE CHARLES WINTOUR AWARD FOR MOST PROMISING PLAYWRIGHT
THE MILTON SHULMAN AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING NEWCOMER