Sheridan Smith (pictured) will host the inaugural Whatsonstage.com Year on Year Concert & Awards Show , along with original History Boy and Gavin & Stacy creator and star James Corden, at the West End’s Lyric Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue at 7.30pm this Sunday 24 February (See News, 31 Jan 2008).

This is the first time that a public event to celebrate the announcement of the winners has been staged in the Awards’ eight-year history, and a large number of 2008 winners will be on hand to collect trophies in person. Amongst the Awards due to be presented live on Sunday are: Best New Musical, Best Actor in a Musical, Best Actress in a Musical, Best Supporting Actor in a Musical, Best Supporting Actress in a Musical, Best New Comedy, Best New Play, Best Supporting Actress in a Play, Best Play Revival, Theatre Event of the Year, Best Off-West End Production, Best Shakespearean Production, London Newcomer of the Year, Best Regional Production and Best Set Designer.

Sheridan Smith is best known to television viewers for her leading roles in Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps and The Royle Family. Her other screen credits include Love Soup, Eyes Down, Grown Ups and Gavin & Stacey. On stage, she won over critics and audiences as Audrey in the Menier Chocolate Factory's production of Little Shop of Horrors, for which she’s been nominated for Best Actress in a Musical in both the Theatregoers’ Choice and Laurence Olivier Awards.

Leanne Jones, the former call centre worker who last month received the Critics’ Circle award for most promising newcomer for her performance as Tracy Turnblad in smash-hit musical Hairspray, will join her Hairsprayco-star (and Any Dream Will Do finalist) Ben James-Ellis by performing at the Year on Year Concert. Hairspray leads the nominations in both the Whatsonstage.com Theatregoers’ Choice and the Olivier Awards – proving both the toast of public and critical opinion.

Also confirmed to take part are, direct from Kander and Ebb’s Curtains on Broadway, American Jill Paice, who has just been cast as Scarlett O’Hara in Trevor Nunn’s Gone With the Wind, and former Steps star Ian H Watkins, who, along with Frances Ruffelle, will preview material from William Finn’s Make Me a Song, the Off-Broadway revue which has its West End premiere in March.

Attendees will also have the chance to see the first London performances from two other upcoming West End openings - Into the Hoods (opening at the Novello in March), the hip-hop dance take on Sondheim classic Into the Woods, and Never Forget, the Take That-inspired musical (opening at the Savoy in May) – as well as sneak peeks at New York hits Spring Awakening, The Little Mermaid, Light in the Piazza, Curtains and the new Ahrens and Flaherty musical The Glorious Ones (performed by Graham Bickley, who was previously Olivier and Whatsonstage.com-nominated for Ahrens and Flaherty’s Ragtime).

Amongst the other musical stars on the concert bill are: Parade’s Bertie Carvel and Lara Pulver (also both Whatsonstage.com and Olivier nominees), Any Dream Will Do’s Daniel Boys, Aimie Atkinson (the leading lady in the upcoming premiere of Gipsy Kings’ musical Zorro), Nicole Faraday, Paul Baker, Leila Benn Harris, Sharon D Clarke, Ramin Karimloo, Debbie Kurup, Melanie La Barrie, Robyn North, Jon Robyns, Shona White, Oliver Tompsett, Matthew Wycliffe and Dean Elliott.

The Year on Year Concert & Awards Show is produced by Stuart Piper and Jason Haigh-Ellery and held in aid of Whatsonstage.com’s adopted charity for 2008, Mousetrap Theatre Projects, which gives disadvantaged young people affordable access to the best of London’s live theatre. The event is devised and directed by Russell Labey, with staging by Andrew Wright, musical supervision by Iain Vince-Gatt and lighting by Mike Robertson.

A record-breaking 25,000 people have voted in 2008 Whatsonstage.com Theatregoers’ Choice Awards. Winners are announced this Friday 22 February, prior to Sunday’s event.


Tickets for the Whatsonstage.com Year on Year Concert & Awards Show have virtually sold out, except for a handful of Balcony seats priced at £10. Call 0870 890 1107 to book.