The awards, which comprise 26 categories covering everything from Best Solo Performance to Best Shakespearean Production and Theatre Event of the Year, are voted for by the general public. Nominations were announced this lunchtime at a party at Café de Paris in central London, where guests included nominees Jason Donovan, Marc Warren and Sister Act star Patina Miller (pictured), who performed at the event.
Mirroring the recent Evening Standard Theatre Awards, Royal Court productions Enron and Jerusalem, and the Lyric Hammersmith’s Punk Rock are all nominated for Best New Play, alongside Burnt By The Sun, The Habit Of Art and The Mountaintop.
In musicals, Sister Act, A Little Night Music and Priscilla Queen Of The Desert The Musical lead the way with seven nominations apiece, with short-lived Broadway import Spring Awakening following close behind with six.
Rachel Weisz and Mark Rylance, who were awarded Best Actress and Actor by the Evening Standard judges for their roles in A Streetcar Named Desire and Jerusalem respectively, are also nominated by theatregoers, along with fellow nominees including Helen Mirren, Juliet Stevenson, Jude Law, Dominic West, Lesley Sharp and Samuel West.
Other high-profile names to receive recognition are Lenny Henry, who contests the London Newcomer of the Year award, and I’d Do Anything graduates Jodie Prenger and Jessie Buckley, who are both nominated for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical for their roles in Oliver! and A Little Night Music respectively. Another reality show graduate, X Factor’s Diana Vickers, is nominated alongside Henry.
War Horse was the only play to be nominated along with nine musicals in the new category of Best West End Show, which is open to any production currently playing in the West End, including long runners. London’s two longest running musicals, Les Misèrables and The Phantom Of The Opera, were nominated alongside relative newcomers including Wicked and Jersey Boys, though none of this year’s crop of musicals made the shortlist.
Online public voting is now open once again to determine the winners of the Whatsonstage.com Theatregoers’ Choice Awards, which will be announced at a concert for theatregoers on 14 February at the Prince of Wales theatre.