The world premiere of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s latest musical, The Woman in White, won more awards than any other single production in the fifth annual Theatregoers’ Choice Awards, voted for by more than 11,000 members of the ticket-buying public.

At a surprise (certainly to the excited audience!) presentation at the curtain call of last night’s performance of The Woman in White at the West End’s Palace Theatre, was on hand to dish out five awards for the production: Best Actress in a Musical for Maria Friedman, Best Supporting Actor in a Musical for Michael Crawford, Best Supporting Actress in a Musical for Angela Christian, Best Set Designer for William Dudley and the London Calling Best Director award for Trevor Nunn (shared jointly for his Best Shakespearean Production of Hamlet at the Old Vic).

Friedman, Christian and Dudley all accepted their awards in person on stage. The award for Crawford, who is currently out of the production on doctor’s orders (See News, 28 Jan 2004), was collected by the show’s producer Sonia Friedman. (Click here to read their acceptance remarks.)

Nunn, who is currently preparing for the premiere of Victoria Wood’s musical Acorn Antiques at the Theatre Royal Haymarket, was unable to attend last night’s prize-giving. However, much to the delight of the cheering theatregoers, the show’s creator and composer Andrew Lloyd Webber appeared on Nunn’s behalf.

On collecting The Woman in White’s fifth and final award of the evening, Lloyd Webber commented: “Well, I think this is proof that the critics aren't always right. We are all really grateful. I have to say it, don't I? This is the only completely original new musical in the West End this season. Musical theatre is an art form in which we need to keep innovating, finding new writers and new talents. I am delighted the show has been recognised in this way.”

- by Terri Paddock

To view the full list of winners & nominees as well as further acceptance
remarks & voting percentages, click here. And look out for more
awards presentations over the coming days & weeks.

Maria Friedman &'s Terri Paddock

Angela Christian

Andrew Lloyd Webber

Angela Christian & Maria Friedman

Designer William Dudley

Producer Sonia Friedman

Back: Dudley, Maria Friedman, Lloyd Webber, Christian. Front: Sonia Friedman