It’s the week of the Olivier Awards 2019 with Mastercard – and what a list of nominees for it! Celebrating everything from outstanding dance and opera to glorious comedies, plays and musicals, 47 shows from the past year have been included in the list, representing another incredible year in the London theatre calendar.
Unfortunately, unless you possess a time machine, you can no longer see all 47 shows. But fear not: there are still plenty of Olivier Award-nominated shows you can catch on the stage (and, in some cases, the silver screen).
So if this week inspires you at all (or your time machine’s in for its MOT), here are the 10 Olivier Award-nominated shows you can (and should) see while you’ve got the chance:
All About Eve
Noël Coward Theatre until 11 May; NT Live on 11 April
As well as being All About Eve, this cleverly crafted thriller’s 2 nominations were all about the brilliant Gillian Anderson (nominated for Best Actress) and Monica Dolan (up for Best Actress in a Supporting Role).
Restaging the 1950 Oscar-winning film for the stage, All About Eve follows iconic thespian Margo Channing (played by Gillian), seemingly at the peak of her powers. But when her entourage, including long-time friend Karen (Monica), welcome in a new apprentice with a hidden agenda, events take an unsettling turn.
Although tickets are almost sold-out for the acclaimed thriller, you can also witness the drama from the comfort of a nearby cinema – the performance on Thursday 11 April will be broadcast through National Theatre Live.
Come From Away
Phoenix Theatre; currently booking until 14 September
Jetting in from Broadway, this heart-warming musical has Come From Away to be lauded with an awesome 9 Olivier Award nominations, merely weeks after opening in the West End.
As well as being a contender for the prestigious Best New Musical award, Come From Away also received nods for direction, choreography, music, 2 for design, and 3 for performances.
The show is a story of friendship in the wake of crisis. When 38 planes are grounded after 9/11 in the small but spirited community of Gander, Newfoundland, thousands of passengers descend on the town, fraught with tension. But this uneasiness is soon to give way to hope, humanity, friendship and love – and this musical is exactly what the world needs right now.
Home, I’m Darling
Duke of York’s Theatre until 13 April
The irresistible rise of Home, I’m Darling continues. From its first performances at Theatr Clywd last year (nominated for a UK Theatre Award), to its National Theatre and subsequent West End transfer, this razor-sharp conceptual comedy has captured hearts and tickled funny bones across the country. The show has received 5 nominations, including for Best New Comedy and Best Actress (for Katherine Parkinson), and a double nomination for Anna Fleischle (Costume and Set Design).
Home, I’m Darling follows a couple living in the past, as one woman fulfils her dream life as the perfect 1950s housewife. But the course of being a domestic goddess never did run smooth, and things begin to spiral out of control.
The fizzing comedy is set to head out on tour later in the year, but London audiences should head to Home, I’m Darling before it ups its current foundations at the Duke of York’s Theatre.
The King And I
Returning to cinemas 4 April 2019
A grand production for the grand occasion, this version of The King And I claimed 4 Tony Awards while on Broadway – so it’s little surprise to see its arrival at The London Palladium garner an impressive 6 Olivier Award nominations this year, including for Best Musical Revival, Best Actor in a Musical (Ken Watanabe) and Best Actress in a Musical (Kelli O’Hara).
The classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical concluded performances on 29 September of last year. But luckily for us all, it’s making a royal return to the silver screen, being screened in cinemas nationwide on 4 April. We heartily recommend spending a little time ‘Getting To Know’ it!
Find out more about the screenings on the show’s website.
The Lehman Trilogy
Piccadilly Theatre; from 11 May until 3 August
Another smash-hit hailing from the National Theatre, receiving 5 nominations, The Lehman Trilogy is making a West End transfer to the Piccadilly Theatre this May.
Nominated director Sam Mendes’ epic story is up for Best New Play and Best Actor (for leading trio Simon Russell Beale, Adam Godley and Ben Miles), as well as 2 design awards.
The vast and poetic play has enjoyed hit runs across Europe, and tells the story of a family who changed the course of history through their influence on the fiscal world. From 1844 New York to a 2007 financial crisis, The Lehman Brothers’ seminal story is told in three parts on a single evening.
Hampstead Theatre; from 19 March until 20 April
The Phlebotomist is the remarkable debut play by Ella Road, nominated for Outstanding Achievement in Affiliate Theatre for its Downstairs run at the Hampstead Theatre.
And it was so well received, it’s heading back to the venue later this month – but this time playing on its Main Stage. The Phlebotomist is a powerfully provocative vision of a dystopian theatre, where phlebotomy rules all: a single blood test can dictate health, wealth and happiness. How far will people go to conquer the system?
Tickets are available through the Hampstead Theatre website.
Wyndham’s Theatre; until 27 April
Haunting and richly affecting, Theatre Royal Bath’s acclaimed revival of Arthur Miller’s familial drama is well worth paying The Price for: the production received 3 nominations, comprising Best Revival, Best Actor (David Suchet) and Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Adrian Lukis).
This riveting revival follows two warring brothers forced to sift through the detritus of their dilapidated family home. Caught in the middle is veteran appraiser Gregory Solomon (played by Suchet), who aims to secure the best possible price for the possessions – if he can overcome his own demons from the past, that is.
Arts Theatre; currently booking until 5 January 2020
To quote the Queens of Six, “We’re one of a kind, no category” – but they’ve also been nominated across 5 of them! These include Best New Musical, a joint performance nomination for the six-strong cast, and recognition for its Outstanding Achievement in Music.
Initially performed by students at Cambridge University, Six has enjoyed a stratospheric rise to its position as a West End favourite. The show follows the Six wives of Henry VIII, who take to the microphone to rewrite ‘Her-story’ – addressing their historical heartbreak as Tudor Queens through barnstorming 21st century girl power. It’s a one-of-a-kind musical which continues to go from strength to strength.
Gielgud Theatre; from 7 June until 20 July
Tickets were in hot demand for Sweat, the play which received so much critical acclaim at the Donmar Warehouse that it’s moving to the West End’s Gielgud Theatre this summer for a short spell.
Nominated for the Best New Play Award, Sweat transports audiences to 2011 Reading, Pennsylvania – officially one of the poorest cities in the USA, where playwright Lynn Nottage recorded the effects of the collapse of industry on a struggling community. This resulting Pulitzer Prize-winning play is provocative, grounded, witty – and packs a hearty punch.
Tina –The Tina Turner Musical
Aldwych Theatre; currently booking until 21 December
The world premiere of Tina – The Tina Turner Musical has well and truly stormed the West End this past year, receiving 3 Olivier Award nominations for leading duo Adrienne Warren and Kobna Holdbrook-Smith (performing until 13 April) and, of course, Best New Musical.
The show reveals the untold story of a musical icon – a woman who dared to defy the bounds of her age, gender and race to become one of the most successful Rock ‘n’ Roll artists of all time. It’s the perfect show to revel in Simply The Best sounds of a glittering career.
The following shows were open at the time of this article’s publication (7 March 2019), but have subsequently concluded their runs:
Gielgud Theatre until 30 March
Stephen Sondheim’s classic musical comedy Company has been richly reinvented by director Marianne Elliott. Her brilliant gender-bending production has launched the show to 9 Olivier Award nominations this year to accompany its scores of plaudits at the Gielgud Theatre.
As well as nominations for Best Musical Revival, Best Director (for Marianne), Best Actress in a Musical (for leading star Rosalie Craig) and Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Musical (Patti LuPone), Company is up for a catalogue of creative categories.
Company follows Bobbie – just about to turn 35, but not quite able to find the right man. Through legendary songs like Being Alive and Side By Side, the show questions what it means to love, marry and mature. You’ll have to be quick to catch it; the show concludes its run at the Gielgud Theatre at the end of March.
Gently Down The Stream
Park Theatre until 16 March
This passionate new play by Martin Sherman features an Olivier Award-nominated leading performance by Jonathan Hyde (recognised for Outstanding Achievement in Affiliate Theatre).
Jonathan delivers a monumental performance as Beau, a retired American pianist living in London. Beau’s attitude to love has been seasoned by a life of loving men in a world that initially refused to allow it. But he’s about to embrace a new partner, Rufus, as one of the most defining relationships of his life.
Directed by Sean Mathias, Gently Down The Stream celebrates the men and women who led the way for equality, marriage and the right to dream. The show plays at the Park Theatre until 16 March.
First published 7 March 2019; Updated 1 April 2019