The West End production of the Broadway blockbuster - which opened on 30 October 2007 (previews from 11 October) at the Shaftesbury Theatre, where it’s still running – had already swept the Best Musical prizes at the last round of Whatsonstage.com, Evening Standard, Critics’ Circle and Laurence Olivier Awards.
The other main theatre accolade at the Variety Club Awards, Best Stage Performance, was presented to Kenneth Branagh for his title role in Michael Grandage’s Donmar West End production of Chekhov’s Ivanov at Wyndham’s Theatre.
In addition to theatre, the Showbusiness Awards cover film, radio, television and popular music. Other winners last night included Hayley Westenra, Alan Carr, Al Pacino, Noel Edmunds and Michael Caine. The ceremony will be broadcast on Sky One on 30 November 2008.
Double act Mitchell and Webb – aka David Mitchell and Robert Webb, who, independently, made his West End debut this year in Neil LaBute’s Fat Pig - scooped the Variety Club Comedy Award.
Colin Morgan, who was nominated for Newcomer of the Year in the last Whatsonstage.com Awards for his 2007 stage debut in Vernon God Little, was named Outstanding New Talent at the Variety Club Awards following his television success in Merlin. And James McAvoy, who returns to the stage in the new year in the West End revival of Three Days of Rain, won the Variety Club Film Award.
The awards season continues with our own ninth annual Whatsonstage.com Theatregoers’ Choice Awards, the only major theatre prize-giving to be decided by the public, the nominations phase of which is taking place online now. Throughout November, theatregoers can nominate their favourite performances and productions for Awards consideration across all 25 categories.
The full Awards shortlists will be announced on Friday 5 December 2008 at a star-studded lunchtime ceremony, where guest presenters and performers helping us to announce the shortlists will include Lesley Garrett, Michael Ball, Mel Giedroyc, Graham Norton and the Jersey Boys. Voting will then open online to decide the eventual winners, with results announced in February ahead of our second Awards Show & Concert at a West End theatre on Sunday 15 February 2009.