The 20th musical arrival in the West End in 12 months, The Sound of Music opened just over two weeks ago (15 November) to critical raves at the London Palladium and it has clearly struck a chord with the public too, securing a total of eight nominations in the Theatregoers’ Choice Awards, including two (Best Actress in a Musical, London Newcomer of the Year) for its star, the “people’s choice Maria” Connie Fisher, winner of TV’s How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?, which is also in the running for Theatre Event of the Year.
Close on The Sound of Music’s heels are two more big-budget revivals, Evita (with seven nominations) and Cabaret (six); Andrew Lloyd Webber’s revival of the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic faces more fierce competition from blockbuster Broadway imports Wicked and Spamalot (with four nominations apiece), Caroline, or Change (five) and Avenue Q (two), which are also all vying for the Superbreak Best New Musical award.
Amongst leading ladies, Connie Fisher will fight for Best Actress in a Musical with Idina Menzel (Wicked), Elena Roger (Evita), Hannah Waddingham (Spamalot), Jenna Russell (Sunday in the Park with George) and Tonya Pinkins (Caroline, or Change).
With so many musicals, the West End’s shortage of plays has been generating headlines recently, but there’s no shortage of nominations for those on offer. Following its double victory at the Evening Standard awards earlier this week, Tom Stoppard’s Rock ‘n’ Roll leads the way in the Theatregoers’ Choice Awards round-up with five nominations, including more best acting nods for Rufus Sewell and Sinead Cusack. And, despite the premature closures of their plays Bent and Summer and Smoke, Alan Cumming and Rosamund Pike also make it onto the Best Actor and Best Actress shortlists.
Rock ‘n’ Roll is matched in nominations by the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, while screenwriter Peter Morgan’s stage debut Frost/Nixon and the Old Vic revival of A Moon for the Misbegotten clock in with four nods apiece.
Moon’s Kevin Spacey – who scooped last year’s Best Actor prize for Richard II at the Old Vic – competes this year with Frost/Nixon’s title stars Michael Sheen and Frank Langella, jointly nominated in a category that also fields David Haig and Iain Glen. Spacey’s Misbegotten co-star Eve Best meanwhile is up against Pike and Cusack as well as Felicity Kendal, Judi Dench and Kathleen Turner for Best Actress honours.
Elsewhere, Nigel Harman and Patrick Swayze battle it out in the same category (Best Takeover in a Role) for the same role (Nathan Detroit, currently played by Swayze) in the same production (Guys & Dolls), and two Strallens, sisters Scarlet and Summer, are both celebrating nominations for their turns in musicals Mary Poppins and The Boy Friend respectively. Amongst other nominees announced today are stars including: Tim Curry, Lesley Garrett, Sheila Hancock, James Dreyfus, Harold Pinter, Michael Gambon, Patrick Stewart, Colm Meaney, Clarke Peters, Alice Eve, Darius Danesh and The League of Gentlemen’s Reece Shearsmith.
The Whatsonstage.com Theatregoers’ Choice Awards are unique in that they are judged by the general public – every year tens of thousands of theatregoers decide the contenders and eventual winners in all 20+ categories. This year, over 2,000 took part in the preliminary nominations phase alone. After today’s launch, final awards voting opens online on Monday (4 December 2006) and continues throughout December and January. Winners will be announced in early February 2007.
Our sponsors & adopted charity
Each year for the awards, Whatsonstage.com adopts an arts-related charity. This year’s launch party is held in support of S.A.F.E. (Sponsored Arts for Education), which was co-founded by Alan Rickman and Ian Holm amongst others. SAFE 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.
Now, the UK’s best-loved celebrity magazine, is media partner for this year’s Theatregoers’ Choice Awards. Other 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; and celebrity hairdresser Stuart Phillips; Shakespeare4Kidz, the national Shakespeare company for children and young people; and Campo Viejo, the number one Spanish wine brand.
THE FULL LIST OF 2006/7 NOMINATIONS
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR:
BEST ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL:
BEST ACTOR IN A MUSICAL:
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL:
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A MUSICAL:
BEST SOLO PERFORMANCE:
BEST ENSEMBLE PERFORMANCE:
BEST TAKEOVER IN A ROLE:
NICK HERN BOOKS BEST NEW PLAY:
BEST NEW COMEDY:
SUPERBREAK BEST NEW MUSICAL:
BEST PLAY REVIVAL:
BEST MUSICAL REVIVAL:
SHAKESPEARE 4 KIDZ BEST SHAKESPEAREAN PRODUCTION:
BEST SET DESIGNER:
STUART PHILLIPS LONDON NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR:
BEST OFF WEST END PRODUCTION:
BEST REGIONAL OR TOURING PRODUCTION:
NOW THEATRE EVENT OF THE YEAR: