Adrian Lester and Rory Kinnear were last night crowned joint winners in the Best Actor category at the 59th Evening Standard Theatre Awards after judges decided it was impossible to decide between the two Othello stars.
Following in the footsteps of Jonny Lee Miller and Benedict Cumberbatch, who famously shared the same award at both the Evening Standard and Olivier Awards with MasterCard following their role in another National Theatre production, Frankenstein, Kinnear and Lester triumphed in the coveted category over fellow nominee Chiwetel Ejiofor, who was nominated for the Young Vic’s A Season In The Congo.
Helen Mirren followed her Olivier Award-winning success earlier this year, adding another Best Actress trophy to her collection for her performance as reigning monarch Queen Elizabeth II in Peter Morgan’s The Audience.
In the other acting categories of Sunday’s glittering ceremony, London stage newcomers Seth Numrich, who starred opposite Kim Cattrall in the Old Vic’s Sweet Bird Of Youth, and The Light Princess’ leading lady Rosalie Craig were awarded Outstanding Newcomer and Best Musical Performance respectively. Stage and screen star David Walliams earned the Award for Comedy for his critically acclaimed performance as Bottom in Michael Grandage’s recent West End production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, while former Olivier Award nominee Cush Jumbo earned the Emerging Talent Award for her self-penned one-woman show Josephine And I.
In this year’s hotly contested and much debated Best Musical category, Maria Friedman’s five star production of Stephen Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along triumphed over Tori Amos’ long-anticipated The Light Princess and high-profile American export The Book Of Mormon.
One of this year’s most high-profile plays, Lucy Kirkwood’s Chimerica, walked away with the Best Play Award, while actor-turned-playwright Rachel De-lahay was awarded Most Promising Playwright for her Royal Court exploration into what it means to call somewhere home, Routes.
In the Best Director category, former National Theatre Director Richard Eyre fought off competition from Lyndsey Turner, current NT Director Nicholas Hytner and incoming Director Rufus Norris to take home the prize for the Almeida’s current hit Ghosts.
The evening of prizes, which also included a triple award nod to Bob Crowley, who took home the Best Design accolade for the NT’s People, The Audience and Once, included a trio of special awards presented to people to mark their exceptional contributions to British theatre.
Hollywood actor and Old Vic Artistic Director Kevin Spacey earned this year’s Editor’s Award, while Andrew Lloyd Webber was awarded the Lebedev Special Award for his contribution to musical theatre. In perhaps the most glamorously titled award of the evening, Dame Maggie Smith was awarded the London Evening Standard Theatre Icon Award for her work on the world stage.
The win, which follows her recent appearance in the National Theatre’s star-studded 50th birthday celebrations, was met with disbelief by the Olivier Award winner and Downton Abbey star, accepting her award with the modest statement: “I’m very sad because I haven’t done anything in theatre to justify this. I wish I had. Doing something on stage at the National the other night was extraordinary and I’d love to do more.”
The ceremony, which was held at the Savoy Hotel and hosted by Homeland star Damian Lewis, was attended by a glittering guest list drawn from the worlds of entertainment and politics, with guests and presenters gathered to enjoy the evening of prize-giving including actors Jude Law, Hayley Atwell and Tom Hiddleston, and politicians Boris Johnson and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.
The event marks the start of an awards season that will culminate on 13 April 2011 with the Olivier Awards with MasterCard, the most prestigious theatre ceremony in the awards calendar.
Full list of 2013’s Evening Standard Theatre Award winners:
Best Actor (Joint)
Rory Kinnear for Othello at the National Theatre Olivier
Adrian Lester for Othello at the National Theatre Olivier
Natasha Richardson Award for Best Actress
Helen Mirren for The Audience at the Gielgud
Chimerica for Lucy Kirkwood at the Almeida & Harold Pinter
Ned Sherrin Award for Best Musical
Merrily We Roll Along at the Menier Chocolate Factory & Harold Pinter
Richard Eyre for Ghosts at the Almeida
Bob Crowley for People (National Theatre Lyttelton), The Audience (Gielgud) & Once (Phoenix)
Charles Wintour Award for Most Promising Playwright
Rachel De-lahay for Routes at the Royal Court
Milton Shulman Award for Outstanding Newcomer
Seth Numrich for Sweet Bird Of Youth at the Old Vic
Best Musical Performance
Rosalie Craig for The Light Princess at the National Theatre Lyttelton
Emerging Talent Award in Partnership with Burberry
Cush Jumbo for Josephine And I at the Bush
Award for Comedy
David Walliams for his performance as Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Noël Coward
Beyond Theatre Award
BBC Proms 2013
Kevin Spacey for his contribution to British theatre
Lebedev Special Award
Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber for his contribution to musical theatre
London Evening Standard Theatre Icon Award
Dame Maggie Smith for her contribution to the world stage