The full list of nominations for our 2004 Whatsonstage.com Theatregoers' Choice Awards, sponsored by Samuel French Ltd, were announced today, 28 November 2003, at a star-studded celebratory event held at the West End's Dominion Theatre (home of We Will Rock You), and attended by a mix of industry figures, performers (see below) and theatregoers.

In this, our fourth annual public-voted awards, over 1,000 theatregoers took part in determining the shortlisted contenders across 23 awards categories including Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director, Best New Musical, Best New Play as well as less conventional categories like Best Ensemble Performance, Best Overall Fringe Production, Best Regional Production and the Planet Hollywood Theatre Event of the Year.

Amongst some of this year's headline nominations:

  • Under new artistic director Nicholas Hytner, the National Theatre proves it is on a virtually unassailable high, dominating with a record-breaking 40 nominations (!), including one for Theatre Event of the Year for its hugely popular Travelex £10 season.

    In many performance and production categories, half of the six nominees hail from NT productions. The NT's cult hit-turned-musical-blockbuster Jerry Springer - The Opera chalks up six nominations alone - in Best Actor in a Musical, co-stars David Bedella and Springer doppelganger Michael Brandon are pitted against one another. Another NT musical, previous director Trevor Nunn's swansong production of Anything Goes, just pips Jerry with a total of seven nominations, amongst them Best Actress and Actor in a Musical (for Sally Ann Triplett and John Barrowman) and Best Supporting Performance in a Musical, in which Simon Day competes with original co-star Denis Quilley, who passed away last month.

  • The National's closest rival in the shortlist race is the Royal Court with seven nominations (five of them for Terry Johnson's Hitchcock Blonde) and, despite the absence yet of a permanent London home, the Royal Shakespeare Company with six nominations, not least a Theatre Event of the Year nod for its acclaimed Jacobean season at the Gielgud.

    Elsewhere, the Donmar Warehouse and Young Vic each receive five nominations apiece, as does Shakespeare's Globe which has created a battle of the sexes in the Best Ensemble Performance category, both its acclaimed all-male and its all-female companies being nominated.

  • Amongst the other big head-to-heads, this year's pair of Three Sisters square up for Best Actress (Kristin Scott Thomas versus Eve Best) and Best Play Revival; and in the race for Best Director, it's a real family affair with Peter Hall, who celebrates 50 years in the business this year, running against his son Edward Hall. (Talent clearly runs in the family. Daughter Lucy Hall is also up for Best Set Designer.)

    Edward Hall's two productions - the Propeller company staging of A Midsummer Night's Dream and Edmond, starring Kenneth Branagh - both garner four nominations apiece, not least a Best Actor bid for Branagh, who competes with other big screen names like Ralph Fiennes (The Talking Cure, Brand), Michael Sheen (Caligula) and Tom Hollander (The Hotel in Amsterdam).

  • Several big names often accustomed to generating their own headlines for other reasons are recognised for their stage success, including: Cutting It's Amanda Holden, Stars in Their Eyes presenter Matthew Kelly, former Big Breakfast presenter Denise Van Outen, EastEnders bad boy Alex Ferns, Dempsey and Makepeace's Michael Brandon, Bond girl Rosamund Pike, Calendar Girl Celia Imrie, Soldier Soldier Jerome Flynn, Oscar winner Jim Broadbent, comedian Russ Abbot, everyone's favourite Friend Matthew Perry, Birds of a Feather's Lesley Joseph, Brit in Hollywood Minnie Driver, S Club pop star Jon Lee and, perhaps most intriguingly, former MP Gyles Brandreth.


    Amongst those stage stars who attended today's launch event were Alex Ferns, Amanda Holden, Andrew C Wadsworth, Anna Carteret, Anna Francolini, Benjamin Lake, Caroline Blakiston, Cathy Tyson, Celia Imrie, Conleth Hill, Dale Rapley, David Bedella, Desmond Barrit, Diana Kent, Dianne Pilkington, Essie Davis, Graham Bickley, Hattie Morahan, Helen Baker, Hugo Speer, Janie Dee, Jasper Britton, Jerome Flynn, Joanne Moseley, John Barrowman, Julie Alanah Brighten, Madeleine Potter, Mark Ravenhill, Michael McKell, Nicola Hughes, Paterson Joseph, Richard Shelton, Richard Thomas, Roy Williams, Sally Ann Triplett, Sarah Ball, Stephen Triffitt, Susan Tracy, Susannah Harker, Tim Howar, Tracie Bennett, Trevor Jary, Valda Aviks, Vivienne Carlyle, William Hootkins, Edward Hall’s all-male Propeller company and this year's Evening Standard Best Actor award winner Michael Sheen.

    Voting for the final winners of the 2004 Whatsonstage.com Theatregoers' Choice Awards commences from Monday 1 December 2003 and continues through December and January with winners announced in February 2004. Each week over the next two months, a different awards field will be highlighted on the site.


    THE FULL LIST OF 2004 NOMINATIONS

    BEST ACTRESS:

  • Diana Quick - After Mrs Rochester, Shared Experience at the Lyric Hammersmith & Duke of York's
  • Eileen Atkins - Honour at the NT Cottesloe
  • Eve Best - Three Sisters & Mourning Becomes Electra at the NT Lyttelton
  • Janet McTeer - The Duchess of Malfi at the NT Lyttelton & The Taming of the Shrew at Shakespeare's Globe
  • Janie Dee - Betrayal at the Duchess
  • Kristin Scott Thomas - Three Sisters at the Playhouse

    BEST ACTOR:

  • Conleth Hill - Democracy at the NT Cottesloe
  • Kenneth Branagh - Edmond at the NT Olivier
  • Matthew Kelly - Of Mice & Men, Birmingham Rep at the Savoy
  • Michael Sheen - Caligula at the Donmar Warehouse
  • Ralph Fiennes - Brand, RSC at the Theatre Royal Haymarket & The Talking Cure at the NT Cottesloe
  • Tom Hollander - The Hotel in Amsterdam at the Donmar Warehouse

    BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:

  • Claire Price - Brand, RSC at the Theatre Royal Haymarket
  • Jodhi May - The Talking Cure at the NT Cottesloe
  • Kate Burton - Three Sisters at the Playhouse
  • Madeleine Potter - After Mrs Rochester, Shared Experience at the Lyric Hammersmith & Duke of York's
  • Margaret Tyzack - Auntie & Me at Wyndham's & His Girl Friday at the NT Olivier
  • Nicola Walker - Edmond at the NT Olivier

    BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR:

  • Alex Ferns - I.D. at the Almeida
  • Dominic Rowan - The Talking Cure at the NT Cottesloe
  • Jim Broadbent - The Pillowman at the NT Cottesloe
  • Hank Azaria - Sexual Perversity in Chicago at the Comedy
  • Warren Mitchell - The Price at the Tricycle & Apollo
  • William Hootkins - Hitchcock Blonde at the Royal Court & Lyric

    BEST ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL:

  • Alison Jiear - Jerry Springer - The Opera at the NT Lyttelton & Cambridge
  • Amanda Holden - Thoroughly Modern Millie at the Shaftesbury
  • Anna Francolini - The Ballad of Little Jo at the Bridewell
  • Maria Friedman - Ragtime at the Piccadilly
  • Sally Ann Triplett - Anything Goes at the NT Olivier & Theatre Royal, Drury Lane
  • Vivienne Carlyle - Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the New London

    BEST ACTOR IN A MUSICAL:

  • Adam Cooper - On Your Toes, Leicester Haymarket at the Royal Festival Hall
  • David Bedella - Jerry Springer - The Opera at the NT Lyttelton & Cambridge
  • Graham Bickley - Ragtime at the Piccadilly
  • John Barrowman - Anything Goes at the NT Olivier & Theatre Royal, Drury Lane
  • Michael Brandon - Jerry Springer - The Opera at the NT Lyttelton & Cambridge
  • Tim Howar - Tonight's the Night at the Victoria Palace

    BEST SUPPORTING PERFORMANCE IN A MUSICAL:

  • Clive Rowe & Ruby Turner - Simply Heavenly at the Young Vic
  • Denis Quilley - Anything Goes at the NT Olivier
  • Maureen Lipman - Thoroughly Modern Millie at the Shaftesbury
  • Michael McKell - Tonight's the Night at the Victoria Palace
  • Simon Day - Anything Goes at the NT Olivier & Theatre Royal, Drury Lane
  • Trevor Jary - Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the New London

    BEST SOLO PERFORMANCE:

  • Celia Imrie - Unsuspecting Susan at the King's Head
  • Denise Van Outen - Tell Me on a Sunday at the Gielgud
  • Felicity Kendal - Happy Days at the Arts
  • Jerome Flynn - Jus' Like That at the Garrick
  • Lesley Joseph - Singular Women at the King's Head
  • Tom Courtenay - Pretending to Be Me, West Yorkshire Playhouse at the Comedy

    BEST ENSEMBLE PERFORMANCE:

  • A Midsummer Night's Dream - Propeller, Watermill at the Comedy
  • Romeo & Juliet - Theatre Vosturport, at the Young Vic
  • RSC Jacobean season company - at the Gielgud
  • Scenes from the Big Picture - at the NT Cottesloe
  • The Female company, Summer of Regime Change - at Shakespeare's Globe
  • The Male company, Summer of Regime Change - at Shakespeare's Globe

    BEST TAKEOVER IN A ROLE:

  • Jon Lee - Les Miserables at the Palace
  • Julie Alanah Brighten - Tell Me on a Sunday at the Gielgud
  • Laura Michelle Kelly - My Fair Lady at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane
  • Russ Abbot - My Fair Lady at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane & Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at the London Palladium
  • Ruthie Henshall - Chicago at the Adelphi
  • Susannah Harker - Three Sisters at the Playhouse

    BEST NEW PLAY:

  • After Mrs Rochester by Polly Teale - Shared Experience at the Lyric Hammersmith & Duke of York's
  • Democracy by Michael Frayn - at the NT Cottesloe
  • Fallout by Roy Williams - at the Royal Court
  • Hitchcock Blonde by Terry Johnson - at the Royal Court
  • Scenes from the Big Picture by Owen McCafferty - at the NT Cottesloe
  • The Pillowman by Martin McDonagh - at the NT Cottesloe

    BEST NEW COMEDY:

  • A Laughing Matter by April de Angelis - Out of Joint at the NT Lyttelton
  • Auntie & Me by Morris Panych - at Wyndham's
  • His Girl Friday, adapted by John Guare from The Front Page & the Columbia Pictures film - at the NT Lyttelton
  • See U Next Tuesday by Francis Veber, adapted by Ronald Harwood - at the Albery
  • The Bomb-itty of Errors by Jordan Allen-Dutton, GQ, Erik Weiner, Jason Catalano & J.A.Q., developed by Andrew Goldberg - at the Arts
  • US and Them by Tamsin Oglesby - at the Hampstead

    BEST NEW MUSICAL:

  • Jerry Springer - The Opera by Richard Thomas & Stewart Lee - at the NT Lyttelton & Cambridge
  • Ragtime by Stephen Flaherty, Lynn Ahrens & Terrence McNally - at the Piccadilly
  • The Ballad of Little Jo by Mike Reid & Sara Schlesinger - at the Bridewell
  • The Rat Pack - Live from Las Vegas by Mitch Sebastian with additional script contributions by Roy Smiles - at the Theatre Royal Haymarket & Strand
  • Thoroughly Modern Millie by Jeanine Tesori & Dick Scanlan - at the Shaftesbury
  • Zipp! by Gyles Brandreth & Steven Dexter - at the Duchess

    BEST PLAY REVIVAL:

  • Edmond - at the NT Olivier
  • Jumpers - at the NT Lyttelton & the Piccadilly
  • The Dance of Death - at the Lyric
  • The Price - at the Tricycle & Apollo
  • Three Sisters - at the NT Lyttelton
  • Three Sisters - at the Playhouse

    BEST MUSICAL REVIVAL:

  • Anything Goes - at the NT Olivier & Theatre Royal, Drury Lane
  • Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat - at the New London
  • On Your Toes - Leicester Haymarket at the Royal Festival Hall
  • Pacific Overtures - at the Donmar Warehouse
  • Simply Heavenly - at the Young Vic
  • Tell Me on a Sunday - at the Gielgud

    BEST SHAKESPEAREAN PRODUCTION:

  • A Midsummer Night's Dream - Propeller, Watermill at the Comedy
  • Coriolanus - RSC at the Old Vic
  • Henry V - at the NT Olivier
  • Pericles - at the Lyric Hammersmith
  • Richard II - at Shakespeare's Globe
  • The Taming of the Shrew - at Shakespeare's Globe

    BEST DIRECTOR:

  • Edward Hall - Propeller's A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Comedy & Edmond at the NT Olivier
  • Michael Blakemore - Three Sisters at the Playhouse & Democracy at the NT Cottesloe
  • Michael Grandage - The Vortex, Caligula & After Miss Julie at the Donmar Warehouse & The Tempest, Sheffield Crucible at the Old Vic
  • Peter Gill - Scenes from the Big Picture at the NT Cottesloe
  • Peter Hall - Betrayal at the Duchess & Happy Days at the Arts
  • Trevor Nunn - Anything Goes, Love's Labour's Lost at the NT Olivier & The Lady from the Sea at the Almeida

    BEST SET DESIGNER:

  • Bob Crowley - Mourning Becomes Electra at the NT Lyttelton
  • Franco Zeffirelli - Absolutely! (perhaps) at Wyndham's
    John Gunter - Anything Goes & Love's Labour's Lost at the NT Olivier
  • Lucy Hall - Happy Days at the Arts
  • Ultz - Fallout at the Royal Court
  • William Dudley - Hitchcock Blonde at the Royal Court

    BEST CHOREOGRAPHER:

  • Adam Cooper - On Your Toes, Leicester Haymarket at the Royal Festival Hall
  • Barbara Robertson - Pacific Overtures at the Donmar Warehouse
  • Craig Revel Horwood - Calamity Jane at the Shaftesbury
  • Jenny Arnold - Jerry Springer - The Opera at the NT Lyttelton & Cambridge
  • Rob Ashford - Thoroughly Modern Millie at the Shaftesbury
  • Stephen Mear - Anything Goes at the NT Olivier & Theatre Royal Drury Lane

    BEST OVERALL FRINGE PRODUCTION:

  • The Lisbon Traviata - at the King's Head
  • The Ballad of Little Jo - at the Bridewell
  • Simply Heavenly - at the Young Vic
  • Hobson's Choice - at the Young Vic
  • Justifying War - at the Tricycle
  • Come Out, Eli - at the Arcola

    BEST REGIONAL OR TOURING PRODUCTION:

  • A Midsummer Night's Dream - Propeller at the Watermill West Berkshire Playhouse & on tour
  • A View from the Bridge & The Madness of King George - at Birmingham Rep & West Yorkshire Playhouse
  • Hobson's Choice - at the Royal Exchange, Manchester
  • The Deep Blue Sea - Theatre Royal Bath on tour
  • The Permanent Way - Out of Joint on tour
  • The Taming of the Shrew & The Tamer Tamed - RSC at the Royal Shakespeare & Swan Theatres, Stratford

    LONDON NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR:

  • Benjamin Lake - Jerry Springer - The Opera at the NT Lyttelton & Cambridge
  • Gyles Brandreth - Zipp! at the Duchess
  • Joanne Moseley - Of Mice & Men, Birmingham Rep at the Savoy
  • Lisa Dillon - The Master Builder at the Albery
  • Rosamund Pike - Hitchcock Blonde at the Royal Court
  • Tom Hardy - In Arabia, We'd All Be Kings at the Hampstead & Blood at the Royal Court

    THE PLANET HOLLYWOOD THEATRE EVENT OF THE YEAR:

  • Franco Zeffirelli's return to the West End with Absolutely! (perhaps)
  • Matthew Perry & Minnie Driver in the West End in Sexual Perversity in Chicago
  • Opening of the new Almeida & Hampstead Theatres
  • The Travelex £10 season at the National Olivier
  • The RSC Jacobean season at the Gielgud
  • The sudden closures of Michael Barrymore & Money to Burn

    Special mentions:

  • The controversy around XXX at Riverside Studios
  • Seeing the real Jerry Springer on stage with Michael Brandon & an army of clones for the West End premiere of Jerry Springer - The Opera