Daniel Radcliffe, taking a break from filming the latest Harry Potter, surprised the audience of theatregoers when he turned up at the event to collect the award for Dewynters London Newcomer of the Year for his stage debut in last year’s hit revival of Equus, which transfers to Broadway this summer. But no one was more surprised than the actor himself when, as he approached the microphone to give his acceptance speech, Awards co-host James Corden passionately – and to wild applause – locked lips with him. Before he said his thank-yous, Radcliffe confessed to having a “Madonna and Britney Spears” flashback.
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Radcliffe was joined on stage by Equus author Peter Shaffer and producer Daffyd Rogers as the production won two more awards: Best Play Revival and AKA Theatre Event of the Year for the steamy pre-publicity photographs of a naked Radcliffe beside a white horse.
Other stage legends - Andrew Lloyd Webber, Sir Peter Hall and Dame Diana Rigg - also collected awards along with Rupert Goold, Samuel Adamson, Simon Bent, The Magic Flute’s Pauline Malefane and Mandisi Dyantsis and I Love You Because producer and director Josephine Buchan and Robert McWhir. Members of Edward Hall’s all-male Shakespeare company - Tony Bell, Chris Miles, Simon Scardifield and Tam Williams got host James Corden back by suddenly jumping on him and kissing him all over as they exited the stage.
The trophy presentations concluded with what Corden and co-host Sheridan Smith dubbed “the Hairspray section” of the evening: the hit Broadway import won a record-breaking seven Awards this year. Stars Michael Ball (who, while sat in a front stalls box during the show, had been regularly wooed from the stage by Corden), Leanne Jones, Ben James-Ellis and Tracie Bennett collected their prizes for Best Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor and Supporting Actress in a Musical respectively, associate choreographer Danny Austin accepted Best Director and Choreographer on behalf of Jack O’Brien and Jerry Mitchell and Stage Entertainment’s Adam Spiegel, joined by the show’s Broadway producer Tom Viertel, collected the final award for Best New Musical.
Other stars in attendance at last night’s inaugural event included: Kevin Spacey, Lee Mead, Tom Hollander, Preeya Kalidas, Lucy Briers, Shaun Escoffery, Josie Walker, Tamara Harvey, Beverley Klein, David Lan, Daniel Mays, Jonathan Munby, Elliot Cowan, Jill Paice, Summer Strallen, Paul Ritter, James Loye, Roy Williams and Matthew White.
The evening featured performances by: Sharon D Clarke, Melanie La Barrie, Leanne Jones, Ben James-Ellis, Lara Pulver, Bertie Carvel, Daniel Boys, Leila Benn Harris, Robyn North, Debbie Kurup, Matt Cross, Oliver Tompsett, Kristopher Milnes, Russell Walker, Nicole Faraday, Shona White, Matthew Wycliffe, Dean Elliott, Greg Last, Nick Sayce, Paul Baker, Aimie Atkinson, Sarah French Ellis, Graham Bickley, Tom Solomon and Jon Robyns as well as the cast of Into the Hoods and Take That musical Never Forget (including Dean Chisnall, Craig Els, Tim Dreisen, Eaton James, Stephane Anelli and Sophia Ragavelas).
The concert was held in aid of Whatsonstage.com’s adopted charity for 2008, Mousetrap Theatre Projects, which was founded by Sir Stephen Waley-Cohen to give disadvantaged young people affordable access to the best of London’s live theatre. Every year, Mousetrap takes over 7,500 to the theatre. Mousetrap has just celebrated its tenth anniversary.
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