Miller and Cumberbatch, who’d been shortlisted separately, beat off competition from Charles Edwards for the Globe’s Much Ado About Nothing and Bertie Carvel for his musical role in the RSC’s Matilda, just transferred to the West End this month.
Best Actor was one of two joint awards presented tonight. Playwright Richard Bean shared the Best Play prize with himself – being recognised for both his climate change piece The Heretic at the Royal Court, and his 1960s-set adaptation of Goldoni farce One Man, Two Guvnors, which premiered at the National and opens this week at the West End’s Adelphi Theatre ahead of a Broadway transfer next year.
Meanwhile, Sheridan Smith, who was nominated for Best Actress last year for Legally Blonde, which won her Best Actress in a Musical honours at both the Whatsonstage.com and Olivier Awards, this year scooped the same prize for her performance as a nearly-widowed countess in Trevor Nunn’s revival of Rattigan’s Flare Path at the Theatre Royal Haymarket. Last week she was given Equity’s Clarence Derwent Award, designed to honour supporting roles, for the same performance.
Smith triumphed over competitors including Kristin Scott Thomas, who returned to the West End this year’s in Harold Pinter’s Betrayal. But the judges wouldn’t let Scott Thomas go home empty-handed either, presenting her with the non-shortlisted Lebedev Special Award.
Other big winners tonight included: Mike Leigh, named Best Director for helming the world premiere of his new play Grief at the National; Tim Minchin and Dennis Kelly’s adaptation of Roald Dahl’s Matilda for the RSC, named Best Musical; and actor Kyle Soller, named Outstanding Newcomer for his performances in The Glass Menagerie and Government Inspector at the Young Vic and The Faith Machine at the Royal Court.
The Court’s third award of the night was for Most Promising Playwright, which went to Penelope Skinner for The Village Bike, premiered in the Royal Court Upstairs. The Most Promising Playwright prize, named in memory of former Standard editor Charles Wintour, carries a £3,000 cheque for the winner, and £1,000 cheques for the other shortlisted authors.
The Evening Standard this year presented three special, non-shortlisted prizes: to outgoing Donmar Warehouse artistic director Michael Grandage, playwright Tom Stoppard and, in a new “Beyond Theatre” field, the Pet Shop Boys ballet The Most Incredible Thing.
The 57th annual Evening Standard Theatre Awards ceremony was a black-tie dinner held at the Savoy Hotel, hosted by Dame Edna Everage (aka Australian comedian Barry Humphries, with presenters including Miranda Hart, Karen Gillan, Anna Chancellor, Dan Stevens, Gemma Arterton, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Stephen Fry, Sam Taylor Wood and Romola Garai, and other celebrity guests such as Tom Hollander, Ruby Wax, Erin O’Connor and Alexandra Shulman, editor ofVogue, which sponsored this year’s awards.
The Evening Standard Awards are the first in the annual awards season. They’re followed by our own Whatsonstage.com Awards, the “theatregoers’ choice”, for which shortlists are announced at our launch party next Friday 2 December 2011 following theatregoer nominations throughout November, the Critics’ Circle and the Laurence Olivier Awards.
The full shortlists in this year’s 57th annual Evening Standard Theatre Awards, which covers openings to the end of October 2010, are below with winners denoted in red bold:
THE NED SHERRIN AWARD FOR BEST MUSICAL
THE CHARLES WINTOUR AWARD FOR MOST PROMISING PLAYWRIGHT
THE MILTON SHULMAN AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING NEWCOMER
N.B. This category is open not only to actors but also to creatives such as directors. No previously longlisted individual is eligible for consideration.
Michael Grandage for making the Donmar Warehouse a star
Beyond Theatre award
The Most Incredible Thing - Pet Shop Boys and Javier de Frutos at Sadler’s Wells
The Lebedev Special Award
Kristin Scott Thomas for her contribution to theatre
The Moscow Art Theatre’s Golden Seagull
Tom Stoppard for his contribution to Russian theatre and the international stage
Best Night Out Award
Wicked (Apollo Victoria)