At the Edinburgh Fringe tonight, the winners were announced in the third annual Musical Theatre Matters: UK Awards, the only prize-giving specifically dedicated to the musical genre at the world’s largest arts festival. The awards are sponsored this year by Whatsonstage.com.

Stuart Price and Michael Bruce’s Ed: The Musical, a love story about a man in a coma at C soco, came out top, converting two of its four nominations into wins for Best Book and Most Promising New Musical.

The other big winners were: Cynthia Hopkins’ Accidental Nostalgia at the Traverse (Best Musical Production), Over the Threshold (Best Music for Christopher Hamilton) at George Square and Barbershopera II – In the Mane of the Father at the Pleasance (Best Lyrics for Rob Castell and Tom Sadler).

For the final discretionary awards, the judges departed from the preliminary suggestions put forward by the awards’ team of assessors, and instead presented three prizes to The Great British Soap Opera (George Square), The Rebel Cell (Underbelly) and the previously unshortlisted Been So Long (Traverse).

Venue-wise, the eight awards are divided between five Fringe venues: C Soco, George Square and the Traverse (two apiece), Pleasance (one) and Underbelly (one). From this year’s Fringe programme, a total of 62 musicals were deemed eligible for one or more awards this year. During the first two weeks of the festival, each show was visited twice by a team of assessors. Over the past week, the panel of judges – including Whatsonstage.com editorial director Terri Paddock - paid each show a final visit before making their decisions.

The winners were announced, and awards presented, tonight at 7pm at a gala concert, held in aid of the Musicians Benevolent Fund at the Musical Theatre at George Square in Edinburgh. The concert was presented by Mervyn Stutter and featured performance extracts from the majority of shortlisted productions.

PHOTOS FROM THE AWARDS GALA @ GEORGE SQUARE
W@S_HIGHLIGHTSedinburghawards/W@S_HIGHLIGHTS

The Awards, run by the professional theatre network organisation Musical Theatre Matters, were established in 2007 to champion the next generation of musical theatre producers, writers and shows. While musical theatre is not excluded from many other Edinburgh awards, the artform did not seem to be achieving the plaudits deserved by the creatives. In the first two years, 11 shows were selected for commendations and awards, and many of those pieces have moved on – six have had presentations in London, one is heading to the New York Summer Play Festival, and three have had UK tours.


THE MTM: UK AWARDS SHORTLISTS

Best Book for a New Musical

  • A-Team – The Musical - Gareth Kane
  • Ed: The Musical - Stuart Price
  • Murder Mystery Musical - Alison Cameron & Shaun McKenna

Best Lyrics for a New Musical

  • Barbershopera II - Rob Castell & Tom Sadler

  • Ed: The Musical - Michael Bruce
  • Over the Threshold - Christopher Hamilton

Best Music for a New Musical

  • Bloodbath – The Musical - David Young & Julie Maguire
  • Ed: The Musical - Michael Bruce
  • Over the Threshold - Christopher Hamilton

Most Promising New Musical

  • Ed: The Musical - Stuart Price (book), Michael Bruce (music/lyrics), Lauren Southwick (director) and Stopped Clock (producer)

  • The Great British Soap Opera - Jake Brunger (book/lyrics), Pippa Cleary (music/lyrics), Luke Sheppard (director) & Take Note Theatre (producer)
  • Over the Threshold - Christopher Hamilton (music/book/lyrics), John Brant (director) & Jomo Productions in association with Perfect Pitch (producers)
  • Porn The Musical - Malcolm Galea (music/book/lyrics), Kris Spiteri & Boris Cezek (music), Malcolm Galea (director) and Indiskarf with Latina Pictures (producer)
Best Musical Production
  • Accidental Nostalgia - Cynthia Hopkins with Jim Findlay & Jeff Sugg

  • The Great British Soap Opera - Take Note Theatre
  • The Rebel Cell - SPL
  • Showstopper! The Improvised Musical - Showstopper Productions in association with The Sticking Place & Festival Highlights
Judges’ Discretionary – Three prizes awarded
  • Arthur Darvill - for his music in Been So Long
  • Composer/lyricist Pippa Cleary - for her development with The Great British Soap Opera, building on last year’s success with Jet Set Go!
  • MC Dizraeli – for his performance in The Rebel Cell

For full details about the MTM:UK Awards, including eligibility criteria and the full list of shows being assessed for consideration in 2009, visit the Musical Theatre Matters website.


For full coverage of Edinburgh 2009 - including reviews, interviews blogs, news, features & video – go to Whatsonstage.com/Edinburgh2009