The Variety Club's Best Stage Actor and Best Stage Actress were combined into one category for this year's 51st annual awards - Outstanding Performance in a Stage Play - although there were still two winners. John Hurt and Penelope Wilton shared the prize for their performances in Brian Friel's Chekov-inspired two-hander AfterPlay.
Producer Bill Kenwright was also honoured with the Bernard Delfont Award for Outstanding Contribution to Showbusiness in recognition of his 30 years presenting plays and musicals in the West End. The impresario is current represented in London by the return of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Olivier Award-winning RSC season of Jacobean plays and long-running musical Blood Brothers. On Broadway later this year, he'll mount productions of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Fallen Angels, both previously seen here.
The Showbusiness Awards - which all cover film, radio, television and popular music - were held on Friday 21 February at the Dorchester hotel in London and televised yesterday (Sunday 23 February) on BBC1. The event, hosted by Meera Syal and sponsored by OK! magazine, was attended by 400 showbusiness personalities including Brenda Blethyn, Brian Blessed, Michael Caine, Ricky Gervais, Tamzin Outhwaite, Jonathan Ross, Jenny Seagrove, Martin Shaw and Russ Kane.
- by Terri Paddock