The Donmar’s closest rival in the theatrical tally is the Young Vic. Its production of Kurt Weill’s Street Scene, which ran for only a handful of performances, swept aside West End competition from La Cage Aux Folles and Marguerite (not to mention this year’s Broadway blockbuster Jersey Boys, which didn’t even make the shortlists) to win Best Musical.
The Young Vic’s recent American discovery, Tarell Alvin McCraney, 28-year-old author of In the Red and Brown Water and The Brothers Size, both staged at the Young Vic, was presented with the coveted Charles Wintour Award for Most Promising Playwright, one of the only times the prize – which comes with a cheque for £10,000 – has been given to a non-British writer. His fellow shortlisted contenders, Britons Bola Agbaje and Anumpama Chandresekhar, received £2,500 apiece.
The National Theatre, which has so often led the Evening Standard awards race, this year took home only one gong: Best Play for Lee Hall’s The Pitmen Painters, which originated at the Live Theatre, Newcastle.
Elsewhere, there were only two category wins for West End productions: Outstanding Newcomer for Fat Pig’s Ella Smith and Best Design for Brief Encounter’s Neil Murray. Two non-shortlisted trophies – the Editor’s Award and a one-off Special Award – were presented to, respectively, the Royal Shakespeare Company for the transfer of its epic eight-play Histories to the Roundhouse and Old Vic artistic director Kevin Spacey.
The Standard Awards - the first prize-giving of the awards season, ahead of the Critics’ Circle, the Laurence Olivier and Whatsonstage.com’s own audience-voted Theatregoers’ Choice Awards (click here to submit your nominations), all of which are announced in the new year – are decided by a panel of critics from the Mail on Sunday (Georgina Brown), Observer (Susannah Clapp), Times (Benedict Nightingale) and Daily Telegraph (Charles Spencer) as well as the Standard itself (Nicholas de Jongh), chaired by Evening Standard editor Veronica Wadley.
- by Terri Paddock
The full shortlists of contenders – with winners denoted in bold - in this year’s 54th annual Evening Standard Theatre Awards, which covers openings up until the end of October 2008, are:
THE NED SHERRIN AWARD FOR BEST MUSICAL
THE SYDNEY EDWARDS AWARD FOR BEST DIRECTOR
THE MILTON SHULMAN AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING NEWCOMER
THE CHARLES WINTOUR AWARD FOR MOST PROMISING PLAYWRIGHT