Traditionally, the Theatregoers’ Choice Awards have held only one awards-related annual event, a star-studded industry party to announce shortlists and open final voting. The launch event for the 2008 Awards took place last Friday 7 December at Café de Paris (See WOS TV & Photos, 10 Dec 2007). This will mark the first time that a second event will be held at the conclusion of the awards campaign.
Editorial director Terri Paddock explained: “We don’t want in any way to undermine the importance of our annual nominations party. It’s a big celebration and one that has not only established itself as a key date in the theatrical calendar, but also a celebration that forms a key part of our awards thinking, in that we truly believe it is as much of an honour to be nominated as it is to win.
“However, we have always regretted that, given we and our Awards are all about theatregoers, we haven't been able to include them in our Awards celebrations to date. Not anymore. With the Year on Year Concert, we hope to redress that.”
The 24 February event will incorporate performances from some of this year’s Theatregoers’ Choice Award-nominated shows as well as live trophy presentations to selected winners. Amongst the nominees already signed up to take part are: Ben James-Ellis (pictured - Best Supporting Actor in a Musical for Hairspray), Lara Pulver (Best Actress in a Musical for Parade), Dean Elliott and Matthew Wycliffe from Buddy (Best Musical Revival), The Phantom of the Opera’s Ramin Karimloo (Best Takeover in a Role) and, the two actresses who share the role of Christine in the Andrew Lloyd Webber classic, Robyn North and Leila Benn Harris (also up jointly for Best Takeover in a Role).
Beyond the Awards link, the aim with Year on Year is to give a review of 2007 as well as a preview of what’s coming up in 2008, featuring the best of both the West End and Broadway seasons. Amongst the other stars due to take part in the inaugural concert are: Daniel Boys (James-Ellis’ fellow Any Dream Will Do finalist, who’s now starring in Avenue Q), Frances Ruffelle, Graham Bickley, Debbie Kurup, Paul Baker, Tom Solomon, Aimee Atkinson, acts from this year’s Perfect Pitch showcase of new musicals, and the stars of the new Take That musical Never Forget, which transfers to the West End’s Savoy Theatre in May 2008. The performers will also be joined by an array of special guest presenters.
Year on Year is held in aid of this year’s adopted charity, Mousetrap Theatre Projects. The concert is directed and devised by Russell Labey, with musical supervision by Iain Vince Gatt, lighting by Mike Robertson and staging by Lizzi Gee. It’s produced by Stuart Piper and Jason Haigh-Ellery. Ticket prices range from £10 to £35 and can be purchased by calling 0870 890 1107 or by clicking here to book online. (We will also soon be announcing a special discount for members of the Whatsonstage.com Theatregoers’ Club.)
Voting in this year’s Theatregoers’ Choice Awards continues until 10 February 2008, with winners announced in mid-February, prior to the Year on Year Concert. For the full list of 2008 nominations and to vote, click here.