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Record-breaking seven for Hairspray in Theatregoers’ Choice Awards

First Published 17 April 2008, Last Updated 17 April 2008

New musical production Hairspray, which recently broke the record for the most Laurence Olivier Award nominations by a single production in one year, has broken another awards record, receiving seven Theatregoers Choice Awards. The haul is the most received by one production in the eight years of the awards voted for by the theatregoing audiences.

Hairspray won the awards for Best New Musical, Best Director and Best Choreographer as well as taking wins in all of the performance catagories for Michael Ball, Leanne Jones, Ben James-Ellis and Tracie Bennett.

The leading straight play of the awards was not, as in the Evening Standard and Critics’ Circle Awards, Patrick Stewart’s Macbeth, though this did win Best Shakespearean Production, but Equus, which won for Best Play Revival and London Newcomer Of The Year (Daniel Radcliffe). The production also won the Theatregoers’ Choice Awards’ unique category, the Theatre Event Of The Year, which in 2008 celebrates the pre-production shots of Radcliffe, better known as Harry Potter, which created a media storm.

Among the awards’ other winners are Dames Maggie Smith and Diana Rigg, Sir Ian McKellen, Fiona Shaw, Lee Evans, Kerry Ellis and the cast of The Taming Of The Shrew and Twelfth Night at the Old Vic. Among productions honoured, All About My Mother, Elling and Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat won Best New Play, Best Comedy and Best Musical Revival.

Speaking about his production’s magnificent seven wins, Hairspray director Jack O’Brien said: “We are, to put it mildly, overjoyed at the London response to Hairspray, nowhere more than the pride we have taken in putting an all-British cast into these wigs and giggles. The entire London establishment can share our delight in knowing that this production is second to none – the original included – in its stunning professionalism and thrilling impact. And for those of us who regularly watch tons of American awards falling into talented British hands, well, we're ecstatic about this wonderful reciprocation.”

Star Michael Ball added: “I’m thrilled to little bits to receive this award. It’s so great that people love Edna – she’s been very good to me!”

The Whatsonstage Theatregoers’ Choice Awards are voted for by members of the public, with, this year, a record 25,000 voters making their opinions count. For the first time in the awards eight year history, many winners will collect their prizes at a ceremony and concert – the Whatsonstage.com Year On Year Concert & Awards Show – this Sunday at the Lyric. The event will be hosted by Little Shop Of Horrors star Sheridan Smith and original History Boy James Cordon, and will feature performances from Frances Ruffelle, Ian ‘H’ Watkins, Sharon D Clarke, Lara Pulver, Bertie Carvel, Daniel Boys and the cast of Never Forget.

All eyes now turn to the Laurence Olivier Awards, the final, and most prestigious awards in the London theatre awards season. This year the winners will be announced at a ceremony at the Grosvenor House Hotel on Sunday 9 March, when London theatre’s biggest names will gather to celebrate a record-breaking year for the capital’s Theatreland. The very best coverage will, of course, come from this very website as we reveal the winners as they are announced, and bring you the atmosphere of the event in our live blog.


Full list of winners and nominees (winners in bold)

The FRANCO’S Best Actress in a Play
Anne-Marie Duff – Saint Joan (National Olivier)
Janie Dee – Shadowlands (Wyndham’s)
Kate Fleetwood – Macbeth (Gielgud)
Kristin Scott Thomas – The Seagull (Royal Court Downstairs)
Maggie Smith – The Lady From Dubuque (Theatre Royal Haymarket)
Tamsin Greig – Much Ado About Nothing (Novello)

Best Actor in a Play
Charles Dance – Shadowlands (Wyndham’s)
Ian McKellen – King Lear, RSC (New London)
John Simm – Elling (Bush & Trafalgar Studios)
Paterson Joseph – The Emperor Jones (National Olivier)
Patrick Stewart – Macbeth (Gielgud), The Tempest & Antony And Cleopatra (Novello)
Robert Lindsay – The Entertainer (Old Vic)

Best Supporting Actress in a Play
Amanda Hale – The Glass Menagerie (Apollo)
Andrea Riseborough – The Pain & The Itch (Royal Court Downstairs)
Diana Rigg – All About My Mother (Old Vic)
Frances de la Tour – Boeing-Boeing (Comedy)
Pam Ferris – The Entertainer (Old Vic)
Ruth Wilson – Philistines (National Lyttelton)

Best Supporting Actor in a Play
David Haig – The Country Wife (Theatre Royal Haymarket)
Lee Evans – The Dumb Waiter (Trafalgar Studios)
Mark Gatiss – All About My Mother (Old Vic)
Nigel Lindsay – Awake And Sing (Almeida)
Paul Ritter – The Hothouse (National Lyttelton)
Rory Kinnear – The Man Of Mode (National Olivier)

The FIRST MAGAZINE Best Actress in a Musical
Denise Van Outen – Rent Remixed (Duke of York’s)
Lara Pulver – Parade (Donmar Warehouse)
Leanne Jones – Hairspray (Shaftesbury)
Sheridan Smith – Little Shop Of Horrors (Duke of York’s & Ambassadors)
Summer Strallen – The Drowsy Chaperone (Novello)
Susan McFadden – Grease (Piccadilly)

The SEE TICKETS Best Actor in a Musical
Bertie Carvel – Parade (Donmar Warehouse)
Henry Goodman – Fiddler On The Roof (Savoy)
James Loye – The Lord Of The Rings (Theatre Royal Drury Lane)
Lee Mead – Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Adelphi)
Michael Ball – Hairspray (Shaftesbury)
Paul Keating – Little Shop Of Horrors (Duke of York’s & Ambassadors)

Best Supporting Actress in a Musical
Beverley Klein – Fiddler On The Roof (Savoy)
Elaine Paige – The Drowsy Chaperone (Novello)
Laura Michelle Kelly – The Lord Of The Rings (Theatre Royal Drury Lane)
Nicole Faraday – Bad Girls (Garrick)
Preeya Kalidas – Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Adelphi)
Tracie Bennett – Hairspray (Shaftesbury)

Best Supporting Actor in a Musical
Ben James-Ellis – Hairspray (Shaftesbury)
Dean Collinson – Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Adelphi)
Mel Smith – Hairspray (Shaftesbury)
Michael Jibson – Take Flight (Menier Chocolate Factory)
Michael Therriault – The Lord Of The Rings (Theatre Royal Drury Lane)
Shaun Escoffery – Parade (Donmar Warehouse)

Best Solo Performance
Fiona Shaw – Happy Days (National Lyttelton)
Lucy Briers – Some Kind Of Bliss (Trafalgar Studio 2)
Patrick Kielty – A Night In November (Trafalgar Studio 1)
Ralf Little – Stacy (Trafalgar Studio 2)
Richard Schiff – Underneath The Lintel (Duchess)
Robert Bathurst – Alex (Arts)

Best Ensemble Performance
Betrayal (Donmar Warehouse)
Dealer’s Choice (Menier Chocolate Factory)
Glengarry Glen Ross (Apollo)
Philistines (National Lyttelton)
The Taming Of The Shrew & Twelfth Night (Old Vic)
War Horse (National Olivier)

Best Takeover in a Role
Dianne Pilkington – Wicked (Apollo Victoria)
Kelly Osbourne – Chicago (Cambridge)
Kerry Ellis – Wicked (Apollo Victoria)
Leila Benn Harris & Robyn North – The Phantom Of The Opera (Her Majesty’s)
Peter Davison – Monty Python’s Spamalot (Palace)
Ramin Karimloo – The Phantom Of The Opera (Her Majesty’s)

A Disappearing Number by Complicite (Barbican)
All About My Mother by Samuel Adamson (Old Vic)
Joe Guy by Roy Williams (Soho)
Landscape With Weapon by Joe Penhall (National Cottesloe)
That Face by Polly Stenham (Royal Court Upstairs)
War Horse by Nick Stafford (National Olivier)

Best New Comedy
Elling by Simon Bent (Bush & Trafalgar Studio 1)
Moonlight And Magnolias by Ron Hutchinson (Tricycle)
Rafta Rafta by Ayub Khan-Din (National Lyttelton)
The Pain And The Itch by Bruce Norris (Royal Court Downstairs)
Vernon God Little by Tanya Ronder – (Young Vic)
Whipping It Up by Steve Thompson (Bush & Ambassadors)

The SUPERBREAK Best New Musical
Bad Girls The Musical by Kath Gotts, Maureen Chadwick & Ann McManus (Garrick)
Hairspray by Marc Shaiman, Scott Whitman, Mark O’Donnell & Thomas Meehan (Shaftesbury)
Parade by Jason Robert Brown & Alfred Uhry (Donmar Warehouse)
Take Flight by Richard Maltby Jr, David Shire & John Weidman (Menier Chocolate Factory)
The Drowsy Chaperone by Greg Morrison, Lisa Lambert, Don McKellar & Bob Martin (Novello)
The Lord Of The Rings by AR Rahman, Varttina, Christopher Nightingale, Shaun McKenna & Matthew Warchus (Theatre Royal Drury Lane)

Best Play Revival
Boeing-Boeing (Comedy)
Equus (Gielgud)
Saint Joan (National Olivier)
The Country Wife (Theatre Royal Haymarket)
The Dumb Waiter (Trafalgar Studio 1)
In Celebration (Duke of York’s)

The TICKETMASTER Best Musical Revival
Buddy (Duchess)
Fiddler On The Roof (Savoy)
Grease (Piccadilly)
Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Adelphi)
Little Shop Of Horrors (Duke of York’s & Ambassadors)
Rent Remixed (Duke of York’s)

Best Shakespearean Production
Antony And Cleopatra (Novello)
A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Roundhouse)
King Lear (New London)
Macbeth (Gielgud)
Much Ado About Nothing (Novello)
The Merchant Of Venice (Shakespeare’s Globe)

Best Director
Jack O’Brien – Hairspray (Shaftesbury)
Marianne Elliott – Much Ado About Nothing (Novello), Saint Joan & War Horse (National Olivier)
Matthew Warchus – Boeing-Boeing (Comedy), The Lord Of The Rings (Theatre Royal Drury Lane)
Roger Michell – Landscape With Weapon (National Cottesloe), Betrayal (Donmar Warehouse)
Rupert Goold – The Glass Menagerie (Apollo), The Tempest (Novello), Rough Crossings (Lyric Hammersmith), Macbeth (Gielgud)
Thea Sharrock – Equus (Gielgud), The Emperor Jones (National Olivier), Cloud Nine (Almeida)

Best Set Designer
Anthony Ward – Glengarry Glen Ross (Apollo), Macbeth (Gielgud), The Arsonists & Rhinoceros (Royal Court Downstairs)
Bunny Christie – Philistines & Women Of Troy (National Lyttelton)
David Rockwell – Hairspray (Shaftesbury)
Hildegard Bechtler – All About My Mother (Old Vic), The Hothouse (National Lyttelton)
Rae Smith & the Handspring Puppet Company – War Horse (National Olivier)
Rob Howell – The Lord Of The Rings (Theatre Royal Drury Lane)

Best Choreographer
Bill Deamer – Lady Be Good (Open Air)
Casey Nicholaw – The Drowsy Chaperone (Novello)
Jerry Mitchell – Hairspray (Shaftesbury)
Sammy Dallas Bayes (reproducing Jerome Robbins) & Kate Flatt – Fiddler On The Roof (Savoy)
Peter Darling – The Lord Of The Rings (Theatre Royal Drury Lane)
Rob Ashford – Parade (Donmar Warehouse)

The DEWYNTERS London Newcomer of the Year
Arthur Darvill – Terre Haute (Trafalgar Studio 2), Swimming With Sharks (Vaudeville)
Billie Piper – Treats (Garrick)
Colin Morgan – Vernon God Little (Young Vic) & All About My Mother (Old Vic)
Daniel Radcliffe – Equus (Gielgud)
Leanne Jones – Hairspray (Shaftesbury)
Orlando Bloom – In Celebration (Duke of York’s)

Best Off-West End Production
A Christmas Carol & The Magic Flute (Young Vic)
Dealer’s Choice (Menier Chocolate Factory)
I Love You Because (Landor)
tHe dYsFUnCKshOnalZ! (Bush)
The Masque Of The Red Death (BAC)
Vernon God Little –(Young Vic)

Best Regional Production
Angels In America (on tour)
Henry V (Royal Exchange, Manchester)
Never Forget (on tour)
Pygmalion (Theatre Royal Bath & on tour)
Sunshine On Leith (Dundee Rep)
The Big Secret Live: I Am Shakespeare (Chichester Festival & on tour)

The AKA Theatre Event of the Year
Daniel Radcliffe’s steamy publicity shots for Equus
Launch of the Theatre Royal Haymarket Company & its first season under Jonathan Kent
Nicholas Hytner’s “dead white males” comment about critics
Punchdrunk’s takeover of BAC for The Masque Of The Red Death
Reopening of the Royal Festival Hall
Reality TV head-to-head between Any Dream Will Do & Grease Is The Word

Honourable mentions:
The success of the Royal Court’s Young Writers’ Programme
Will Keen’s extraordinary performances in two roles for which he was not originally cast – Kiss Of The Spider Woman (Donmar Warehouse) and The Arsonists (Royal Court)
Michael Ball’s transformation as Edna Turnblad in Hairspray


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