2013 Whatsonstage.com Awards Concert takes place on 17 Feb at Palace Theatre
It's the first time the Concert has been staged at the Palace - former home of the Whatsonstage.com offices - having been held at the smaller Prince of Wales Theatre for the past four years.
The 1400-seat Palace is one of the West End's most prominent and historic theatres. Commissioned by Richard D'Oyly Carte, producer of the Gilbert and Sullivan operettas, the Grade II*-listed theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue opened in 1891 as Royal English Opera House. Its name was later changed to the Palace Theatre of Varieties before it became the Palace Theatre in 1911.
Currently home to Singin' in the Rain, its former occupants include Priscilla Queen of the Desert the Musical, Spamalot, The Woman in White, Les Miserables (for 19 years from 1985) and the premiere of Jesus Christ Superstar (from 1972 to 1980) - the stadium revival of which could be among this year's contenders.
The Palace was bought by Nimax in April this year from Andrew Lloyd Webber, becoming the largest of Nimax's group of six West End venues.
Whatsonstage.com's managing and editorial director Terri Paddock said: "We are thrilled to bring the Whatsonstage.com Awards to the Palace Theatre in 2013. We first held the Awards concert ceremony in front of an excited audience of theatregoer voters at a Nimax Theatre down the road, the 900-seat Lyric Theatre, in 2008.
"Five years later, it seems apt to return to Shaftesbury Avenue in another beautiful theatre recently acquired by Nimax, the Palace. And with 1,400 seats, we look forward to welcoming more theatregoers than ever to the live event. It’s also a homecoming of sorts for Whatsonstage.com – our own offices were on the fifth floor at the Palace until earlier this year. We can’t wait to work with theatre manager Anna Charles and all the team there on a tremendous event.
"I’d also like to thank Cameron Mackintosh and everyone at Delfont Mackintosh for having hosted the Awards so successfully at the Prince of Wales theatre for the past four years."
About the Whatsonstage.com Awards Concert
The Whatsonstage.com Awards, now entering their 13th year, are the only major theatre prize-giving voted for entirely by the theatregoing public. Nominations open each year in November, with nominees being announced at a star-studded Launch Party in December.
Voting the runs until the end of January with the public jury - over 70,000 took part last year - deciding the winners in over 25 categories.
The first Awards Concert and ceremony was introduced for the 2008 Awards and was held at the 960-seat Lyric Theatre, where it was co-hosted by James Corden and Sheridan Smith and winners collecting trophies included Daniel Radcliffe (who famously shared an onstage snog with Corden), Michael Ball, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Sir Peter Hall.
The Concert moved to the 1,100-seat Prince of Wales for the 2009 Awards and has been a sell-out there every year since. It was hosted by Corden and Smith for a second time in 2009, by Christopher Biggins and Mel Giedroyc in 2010, and by Biggins, Sheridan Smith and Miranda Hart in 2011.
West End stars who have performed at Awards Concerts at the Prince of Wales include Alfie Boe, Sally Ann Triplett, Ryan Molloy, Jodie Prenger, Hannah Waddingham, Leanne Jones, Jill Halfpenny, Hadley Fraser, Ramin Karimloo, Rosemary Ashe, Nancy Sullivan, Samantha Barks, Sarah Lark, Kim Criswell, Siobhan McCarthy, Julie Atherton, Suranne Jones, Elena Roger, Sean Palmer, Clare Foster, Dean Chisnall, Brian May and Kerry Ellis.
The Concert is directed and devised by Russell Labey and produced by Stuart Piper and Jason Haigh-Ellery on behalf of Whatsonstage.com.