Olivier Awards – predicting the 2023 winners
Nothing like a healthy dose of Easter Friday speculation
To quote Hamilton – "okay, so we're doing this." Most of the season hasn't even been announced, but we thought, screw it, Easter is a time for sitting back, eating chocolate and reading fun features on news sites, so let's engage in speculation! (to quote Hamilton, again).
Marianne Elliott has been a big hit at the Oliviers in the past (particularly for her uproarious revival of Company), so her starry staging of Bartlett's Cock, currently running, is possibly awards catnip. The Old Vic has had a fantastic run of form, so Tinuke Craig's Leeds Playhouse production of August Wilson's Jitney may also be a strong contender. Aside from that, there's Jeremy Herrin's new staging of The Glass Menagerie, as well as Max Webster's (who helmed the five-time Olivier and two-time WOSAward-winning Life of Pi) version of Henry V, which had a sturdy reception when it premiered at the Donmar. We're unsure if Jerusalem is eligible (it might well be considered the same production) but that could always make it in there as well.
Best New Play
Sonia Friedman Productions has the magic touch when it comes to Best New Play with an incredible run of form – before Life of Pi won last Sunday, the company had produced the previous four winners. So the real front-runner has to be To Kill a Mockingbird, which opened to sturdy reviews at the Gielgud Theatre. There is a strong field already assembling to tackle it – the Jodie Comer-led Prima Facie, as well as Jeremy O Harris (a darling at the Tonys)' UK arrival with "Daddy". Then, of course, there is another Friedman show also on the cards – Mike Bartlett's The 47th, currently on show at the Old Vic. More on that later, but we're still hedging our bets on Mockingbird. Something from the National will also get its way onto the nominations list.
Other possibilities: Scandaltown, Mad House, The Father and the Assassin, A Doll's House, pt 2, The Seagull
Best Musical Revival
After what was a massive year for musical revivals (*cough, Cabaret, cough*) 2023's awards look set to be no different. Sonia Friedman, Michael Harrison and the Young Vic are co-producing the so-called sexy Oklahoma!, another Broadway import, which is surely a front-runner at the moment and we'd probably chuck a buck there.
But then you have to take a look at the mega-hit My Fair Lady, which has a limited spell at the London Coliseum with a cast led by rising star Amara Okereke. Then you also have to throw in Disney's Beauty and the Beast and Regent's Park's Lucy Moss-directed Legally Blonde (though the venue has missed out on a nom or two over the last few years, including for Little Shop of Horrors and Carousel) and you're already up to four sturdy contenders, with more certainly to come. Sister Act might well find its way into the fold as well, while Colin Ingram, who steered Back to the Future to whopper success, is also bringing the flashy new production of Grease in this summer. Sadler's Wells will also play host to the new Chichester revival of South Pacific, so we expect that'll be in the mix too.
Best New Musical
It's going to be a hefty season of new musicals, we can already tell. Tony winner Jagged Little Pill will be one of the big Broadway imports with many eyes on the prize, while the long-rumoured Tammy Faye musical, a collaboration between Olivier winner James Graham, Olivier winner Elton John, Olivier winner Rupert Goold and Jake Shears, is a very strong contender when it eventually opens at the Almeida. We also wouldn't disregard Michael Longhurst's (who picked up another Olivier this weekend) UK premiere production of The Band's Visit, which won ten Tony Awards a few years back.
That's before we even get started on the Open Air 101 Dalmatians, which is let by the indomitable Kate Fleetwood. Mrs Doubtfire may well hit London this season and, as for a certain Broadway show that has long been rumoured to be heading our way, say its name three times and it might just make the cut-off date next year. It really will be a packed race, with a few likely raised eyebrows.
Other possibilities: Bonnie and Clyde, the newly announced Mandela, Newsies
According to the names that have currently been announced/performed, we're going to go even further into utter conjecture here: Bertie Carvel's utterly transformative performance in The 47th has already dazzled critics and audiences, so we'd not be surprised if the Olivier Award-winner adds to his tally. Going up against him might be Rafe Spall's non-phlegmatic Atticus Finch from Mockingbird, or Kit Harington's understated yet captivating leading performance in Henry V.
Amy Adams (Glass Menagerie), Jodie Comer (Prima Facie) and Noma Dumezweni (A Doll's House, part 2) are also strong contenders in their own categories, oh and we'll eat our ornate floral hats if (beyond Amara Okereke) Vanessa Redgrave doesn't get a supporting nod for My Fair Lady, though she might face strong competition from Oklahoma!'s Marisha Wallace.