Rock 'n' Roll came out tops in the 52nd annual Evening Standard Theatre Awards, announced this afternoon at a star-studded ceremony hosted by Ned Sherrin at the Savoy Hotel (See News, 27 Nov 2006). Tom Stoppard’s drama about rock music and the Czech Republic won Best New Play and Best Actor for its star Rufus Sewell.

Though it beat off competition in both categories from Frost/Nixon, Peter Morgan’s playwriting debut, opened this month at the Gielgud following its sell-out at the Donmar Warehouse, was nonetheless recognised with the inaugural Editor’s Award, set up “to honour an outstanding contribution to the West End”.

In a year resplendent with big-budget West End musicals, it was a lower-budget offering from the National, the UK premiere of Caroline, or Change, that scooped the prize for Best Musical, triumphing over Evita, Spamalot and Sunday in the Park with George, all in the West End. However, the last, a transfer from the Menier Chocolate Factory, still had reason to celebrate as it won its second Best Design prize (after the Critics’ Circle in February) for David Farley and Timothy Bird’s computer-generated set animations.

Adding to the National’s haul today, the NT Lyttelton production of Pillars of the Community won associate director Marianne Elliott Best Director while Andrew Garfield - who appeared in The Overwhelming (Out of Joint and Burn/Chatroom/Citizenship in the NT Cottesloe as well as Beautiful Thing at the Sound – was named Outstanding Newcomer. Director Nina Raine, meanwhile, won Most Promising Playwright for Rabbit, which she also directed, first at the Old Red Lion and then at the West End’s Trafalgar Studio 2.

- by Terri Paddock

The full list of Evening Standard 2006 nominations, with winners in bold, is as follows:

BEST PLAY - The Seafarer by Conor McPherson, Rock 'n' Roll by Tom Stoppard, Frost/Nixon by Peter Morgan.

BEST ACTOR - Kevin Spacey for A Moon for the Misbegotten, Bill Irwin for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Rufus Sewell for Rock ‘n’ Roll and Michael Sheen for Frost/Nixon.

BEST ACTRESS - Sinead Cusack for Rock ‘n’ Roll, Frances O'Connor for Tom and Viv, Kathleen Turner for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?.

BEST DIRECTOR - Marianne Elliott for Pillars of the Community, Michael Grandage for The Wild Duck, Evita and Frost/Nixon, Anthony Page for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?.

BEST DESIGNER - David Farley and Timothy Bird for Sunday in the Park with George, Borkur Jonsson for Metamorphosis and Christopher Oram for Evita.

BEST MUSICAL - Caroline, Or Change, Evita, Spamalot, Sunday in the Park with George.

OUTSTANDING NEWCOMER - Andrew Garfield for Beautiful Thing, Burn, Chatroom, Citizenship and The Overwhelming, Chris New for Bent, Elena Roger for Evita, Punchdrunk Theatre (for Faust).

Charles Wintour Award for MOST PROMISING PLAYWRIGHT - Nina Raine for Rabbit

SPECIAL AWARD - Tricycle Theatre

EDITORS’ AWARD - Frost/Nixon by Peter Morgan

DON’T FORGET!! You can help draw up the nominations in the Theatregoers’ Choice Awards. Shortlists will be announced at our own awards event this Friday 1 December 2006 at Café de Paris.

To nominate your favourite performances & productions
& visit the awards microsite, click here!