Sheridan Smith, who has just opened to raves in the smash-hit Broadway musical import Legally Blonde, will host the Whatsonstage.com Awards Concert for a third year in a row. The ceremony, at which the winners in this year’s tenth annual “theatregoers’ choice” accolades will be announced, is held in aid of this year’s adopted charity Theatre Royal Haymarket Masterclass at 7pm on Sunday 14 February 2010 at the West End’s Prince of Wales Theatre. The 2010 Whatsonstage.com Awards cover the best of the 2009 theatregoing year.

To hilarious effect, Smith co-hosted, with James Corden, the first-ever Winners’ Concert at the 960-seat Lyric Theatre in 2008 and returned for last year’s first event at the 1100-seat Prince of Wales; both, sell-out evenings. She’s previously been nominated in the Whatsonstage.com Awards, the only major annual theatre accolades wholly decided by the audience, for Best Actress in a Musical for Little Shop of Horrors and will surely be a contender in the 2011 Awards for her acclaimed title performance as Elle Woods in Legally Blonde, which has just had its UK premiere at the Savoy Theatre.

Amongst the other big names who’ll be joining Smith on-stage for the evening’s entertainment will be 2010 nominees Jodie Prenger (singing from Oliver!), Hannah Waddingham (singing from A Little Night Music) and Spring Awakening’s Charlotte Wakefield and – in celebration of the Awards’ milestone birthday - past winners Ryan Molloy (who for Jersey Boys), Leanne Jones (Hairspray) and Sally Ann Triplett (Anything Goes).

There will be performances from other 2010 nominated productions Priscilla Queen of the Desert, a top contender for Best New Musical, and Les Miserables (featuring current Eponine, Nancy Sullivan), which is shortlisted for the new tenth anniversary category of Best West End Show (open to all current productions, including long-runners) and this year celebrates its own big birthday of 25 years in the West End.


Pictured top: Les Miserable, Sheridan Smith in Legally Blonde, Leanne Jones, formerly in Hairspray;
Middle: Priscilla Queen of the Desert, The Fantasticks; Bottom: Jodie Prenger in Oliver!,
Ryan Molloy in Jersey Boys, Hannah Waddingham in A Little Night Music.

The evening will also include a preview of the new West End production of Off-Broadway phenomenon The Fantasticks (opening at the Duchess Theatre in June) and another transatlantic sneak peek at some of the shows that made waves in last year’s Broadway season. That’s all in addition to live trophy presentations to and speeches from winners of the 2010 Whatsonstage.com Awards.

Amongst the additional nominees so far rsvped to attend the event on 14 February are: Alistair McGowan, Amanda Drew, Carol Macready, Clive Carter, Daniel Crossley, David Dawson, Fiona Shaw, Gabriel Vick, Ian McKellen, Jane Horrocks, Jez Butterworth, Julian Ovenden, Lesley Garrett, Lesley Sharp, Mackenzie Crook, Mark Rylance, Miriam Margolyes, Oliver Thornton, Patina Miller, Patrick Stewart, Peter McKintosh and Rupert Goold.

Ahead of the Concert and announcement of results – which, in order to maintain an element of surprise ahead of the ceremony have been hidden since the beginning of the month – voting continues until 31 January 2010. CLICK HERE TO VOTE NOW! More than 36,000 people have so far voted – a new record (See News, 18 Jan 2010) - but many categories still remain far too close to call. Amongst the tightest races are: Best New Musical, Best Actress in a Play, Best Director, Best Ensemble Performance, Best Off-West End Production and Best Regional Production.

The Concert is directed and devised by Russell Labey (who also wrote and directed Best New Comedy nominee New Boy), with musical supervision by Iain Vince Gatt, lighting by Mike Robertson (nominated for On the Waterfront), sound by Ben Harrison and choreography by Andrew Wright. It’s produced by Stuart Piper and Jason Haigh-Ellery on behalf of Whatsonstage.com.

As with last month’s Launch Party at Cafe de Paris, the Awards Concert is held in aid of this year’s adopted charity, Theatre Royal Haymarket Masterclass, which gives young people the chance to learn from and be inspired by leading artists (See News, 29 Sep 2009). Set up by the Theatre Royal Haymarket in 1998, the hugely successful Masterclass programme has now welcomed over 40,000 people aged 17-30. Events are given free of charge and occur at least one Friday a month throughout the year, focusing on all aspects of theatre from acting and directing to writing and producing.

Whatsonstage.com Awards Concert tickets, which range from £20-£42.50, are now on sale and can be booked by phone on 0844 482 5133 or online at www.whatsonstage.com/concert.


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