The shortlists for the seventh annual Theatregoers’ Choice Awards, the only major theatre awards wholly voted for by the paying public, are announced today (1 December 2006). This year’s party, held at Café De Paris, also marks’s tenth birthday and as such. At 1.00pm, the shortlists will be published online here at, with voting for the eventual winners opening from Monday, 4 December 2006.

Joining this afternoon’s celebrations are representatives from 2006’s biggest shows, including Cabaret, Caroline or Change, Daddy Cool, Dirty Dancing, Donkeys’ Years, Evita, Footloose, Frost/Nixon, Hay Fever, Porgy & Bess, Rock ‘n’ Roll, See How They Run, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Spamalot, Summer and Smoke, Sunday in the Park with George, The 39 Steps, The Sound of Music, The Voysey Inheritance, Therese Raquin and Wicked as well as television’s How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?.

Amongst those individual artists due to attend the launch party are: Lesley Garrett, Sheila Hancock, Alan Cumming, Michael Sheen, Reece Shearsmith, Olivia Williams, Rhashan Stone, Chris New, Daniel Evans, Jenna Russell, Nigel Planer, Miriam Margolyes, Adam Garcia, Tonya Pinkins, Christopher Sieber, Alexander Hanson, Nigel Planer, Clarke Peters, Nicola Hughes, Cornell John, OT Fagbenle, Dawn Hope, Billy Zane, Kelly Brook, Janet McTeer, David Haig, Ian Gelder, Janie Dee, Chris Carmack, James Dreyfus, Martine McCutcheon, Michelle Collins, Matthew Marsh, Adie Allen, Clive Rowe, Chris Grierson, Laura Michelle Kelly, David Lan, Jeremy Sams, Rosamund Pike, Trevor Nunn, Conleth Hill, Jim Norton, Andrew Garfield, Ray Panthaki, Sally Ann Triplett, Dominic Cooke, Howard Brenton, Nina Raine, David Farley, Dominic Rowan, Martin Sherman, Harriet Thorpe, Rufus Norris, Javier De Frutos, Katrina Lindsay, Sally Dexter, Philip Whitchurch, Anna Francolini, Pippa Bennett-Warner, Perry Millward, Helen Schlesinger, Valda Aviks, Hilton McRae, Charlotte Randle, Michelle Collins, Matt Rawle, Mike McShane, Nadia Coote, Tim Fountain, Amanda Harris, Daniel Mays, Adrian Scarborough, Lisa Dillon, Sean Campion, Susannah Wise, Rory Kinnear, Jay Webb, June Watson, Tom Goodman-Hill, Michael Simkins, Hamish Clarke, Jake Nightingale, Talulah Riley, Sam Buntrock, Alasdair Harvey, Charles Edwards, Rupert Degas, Simon Gregor, Alan Cox, Kim Medcalf, Nick Fletcher, Blake Ritson, Hattie Morahan, Andrew Woodall, Mark Hadfield, Charlotte Emmerson, Steve Thompson, Michelle Gayle, Abi Titmuss, Patsy Palmer, Caprice and How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria? finalists Simona Armstrong, Aoife Mulholland, Leanne Dobinson, Meliz Serman and Laura Sicurello.

In announcing today’s nominations, editorial director Terri Paddock and chief critic Michael Coveney will be joined by guest presenters Richard Schiff (from TV’s The West Wing) and Richard Fleeshman, who will both be making their West End debuts in the new year in Glen Berger’s one-man play Underneath the Lintel and the Sherman Brothers’ musical comedy Over Here respectively.

In addition to the guest presenters, a special concert is being mounted, also celebrating the fact that 2006 is the biggest year for musicals in London in living memory – with more than 20 major musical productions hitting the West End alone.

The concert line-up comprises (See News, 10 Nov 2006): How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria? semi-finalist Abi Finley, now on stage in Tim Rice’s Blondel, reprising her performance of Cabaret’s “Maybe This Time”, one of her showstopper’s from the TV talent competition; Daddy Cool’s Melanie La Barrie, introduced by her fellow cast member and So Solid Crew rapper Harvey, doing “Can’t Stand the Rain”; Sheridan Smith and Paul Keating doing their duet “Suddenly Seymour” from Little Shop of Horrors; Evita’s Lorna Want singing “Another Suitcase in Another Hall”, accompanied by fellow cast members Leila Benn Harris, Jodie Jacobs and Robyn North; and a resounding finale from Spamalot’s Hannah Waddingham singing “Whatever Happened to My Part”. The concert, produced by Stuart Piper, will be staged by Sunday in the Park with George's Tara Wilkinson with Dancing in the Streets' Iain Vince Gatt as musical supervisor.

Our charity & sponsors

The Café de Paris event is held in aid of this year’s adopted charity, S.A.F.E. (Sponsored Arts for Education), which was co-founded by Alan Rickman and Ian Holm amongst others. S.A.F.E. educates and informs African communities about vital health and social issues by using the arts, primarily theatre, to help break the stigma, silence and discrimination surrounding HIV/AIDS. By working with the best young artists, S.A.F.E. also provides much-needed employment for the arts community and recognises the importance of culture to all communities worldwide.

Now, the UK’s best-loved celebrity magazine, is media partner for this year’s Theatregoers’ Choice Awards. Other headline sponsors include: Superbreak, the market leader for short breaks throughout the UK; Nick Hern Books, the UK’s leading independent theatre publishers and performing rights licensors; celebrity hairdresser Stuart Phillips; Shakespeare4Kidz, the national Shakespeare company for children and young people; and Campo Viejo, the number one Spanish wine brand.

This year’s Theatregoers’ Choice Awards covers the year from 1 December 2005. Voting for the eventual winners will take place during December and January with results announced in early February 2007.