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Theatregoers' Choice Awards Party Happens Today

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The shortlists for the ninth annual Whatsonstage.com Theatregoers’ Choice Awards, the only major theatre awards wholly voted for by the paying public, are announced today (5 December 2008) in a star-studded lunchtime party held at the Hippodrome, home of La Clique, in the heart of the West End. At 2.00pm, the shortlists will be published online here, with voting for the eventual winners opening later this afternoon.

Joining this afternoon’s celebrations are representatives from 2008’s biggest shows, including Jersey Boys, La Cage aux Folles, Piaf, Zorro, Imagine This, Marguerite, Never Forget, Eurobeat, Come Dancing, The Harder They Come, August: Osage County, Ivanov, Othello, Now or Later, No Man’s Land, Rain Man, Gethsemane, Creditors, The Female of the Species, Six Characters in Search of an Author, Black Watch, The Norman Conquests, The Histories, Fat Pig, The Importance of Being Earnest, Girl with a Pearl Earring and many many more.

Amongst those individual artists due to attend the launch party are: Alexander Hanson, Alexandra Silber, Amy Morton, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Anita Dobson, Bertie Carvel, Beverley Klein, Con O’Neill, Connie Fisher, Daniel Evans, David Bradley, David Calder, David Eldridge, David Lan, Deanna Dunagan, Desmond Barrit, Dominic Dromgoole, Don Black, Elena Roger, Ella Smith, Frances Ruffelle, Gary Cole, Gregory Doran, Hannah Waddingham, Ian H Watkins, Ian McNeice, Janie Dee, Jean Marsh, Jeff Perry, John Shrapnel, Jonathan Munby, Joseph Marcell, Julian Ovenden, Kate Fleetwood, Kate O’Mara, Kelly Brook, Kevin R McNally, Leila Benn Harris, Lesli Margherita, Lex Shrapnel, Lindsay Duncan, Lindsay Duncan, Lisa Dillon, Liz Robertson, Lorraine Bruce, Lyndsey Marshal, Malcolm Sinclair, Mark Gatiss, Matt Rawle, Matthew Bourne, Melly Still, Michael Blakemore, Michael Simkins, Nadine Marshall, Nadira Murray, Natalie Casey, Nick Cavaliere, Nigel Lindsay, Nigel Planer, Nina Soderquist, Noma Dumezweni, Owen Teale, Paula Wilcox, Peter Polycarpou, Polly Stenham, Rachel Tucker, Ray Panthaki, Robert Bathurst, Rolan Bell, Roy Williams, Rupert Goold, Ruth Gemmell, Ruthie Henshall, Sally Ann Triplett, Sam Buntrock, Samantha Bond, Samuel West, Sarah Lark, Sarah Miles, Sophia Ragavelas, Steven Berkoff, Summer Strallen, Suzanne Shaw, Sylvestra Le Touzel, Tim Pigott-Smith, Tom Hiddleston, Tom Piper Tracie Bennett, as well as myriad producers and other leading figures from the world of theatre.

Those stars are in addition to those taking part in the launch itself. Chat show host Graham Norton (who makes his stage debut next month in La Cage aux Folles), Mel Giedroyc (who, after this year’s Eurobeat, returns to the stage in March in New Boy with Nicholas Hoult), Michael Ball (who won this year’s Best Actor in a Musical prize for Hairspray, which he stars in at the Shaftesbury Theatre) and the flamboyant cabaret artistes of La Clique are helping us read the shortlists.

There are also performances from Lesley Garrett (singing “You’ll Never Walk Alone” from Carousel, which opened this week at the Savoy Theatre) and Jersey Boys Ryan Molloy, Stephen Ashfield, Glenn Carter and Philip Bulcock (performing a medley of Four Seasons classics).

Today’s launch party is held in aid of this year’s adopted charity, TheatreMAD (Theatre: Make a Difference). TheatreMAD and the Make A Difference Trust have been founded this year to support those living with HIV, AIDS and other long-term conditions who are facing hardship. Through their programme of Midnight Matinees of hit West End shows, Late Night Cabarets, the World AIDS Day Theatre Bucket Collection Appeal as well as one-off Gala events, they also raise funds to support those in need who have worked in theatre on-stage, front of house and back stage.



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