Les Miserables cheered up by string of theatre awards
More than 500 past and present cast members of Les Miserables were brought together for last year’s performance at the O2 including self-confessed fan and Little Britain star Matt Lucas and singer Nick Jonas.
Other big winners at the awards ceremony included the stage adaptation of the hit-movie of the same name, Legally Blonde, which won four gongs including best new musical and best actress in a musical for Sheridan Smith who has wowed audiences with her performance in the leading role of Elle Woods, made famous by Hollywood A-lister Reese Witherspoon in the 2001 film. Her co-star, former EastEnders star Jill Halfpenny, was named best supporting actress in a musical.
Joanna Scotcher was a worthy winner of the Best Set Designer for her work on The Railway Children at Waterloo Station, creating a stage set big enough to bring the story to life and accommodate the Stirling Single No.1 Victorian steam engine, on loan from York’s National Railway Museum.
Veterans of stage and screen David Suchet and Zoe Wanamaker won best actor and best actress in a play respectively for their performances in a revival of Arthur Miller’s All My Sons, and Glee star Jonathan Groff was named London newcomer of the year.
The Equity Best West End Show award went to the Wizard of Oz spin-off Wicked, which has been setting records since opening at the Apollo Victoria in 2006.
The awards, which were voted for by more than 45,000 theatregoers, were hosted by Smith, Christopher Biggins and Miranda Hart.
Terri Paddock, editorial director of Whatsonstage.com, said audiences were “keeping the West End thriving”. She added: “It is always interesting to see how the choices of the theatregoing public differ from the critics and industry pundits who determine other theatre awards.
“Unlike the Oliviers and others, which the likes of the Royal Court, Donmar and National routinely dominate, in our awards this year, only two of 26 prizes have gone to the subsidised sector.
“Our 45,000-plus theatregoer voters have instead, once again, concentrated their accolades on the strong work produced by the commercial sector.
“It’s fantastic to see crowd-pleasers like Legally Blonde, Les Miserables and Yes, Prime Minister receive the recognition they deserve, alongside smaller but equally worthwhile productions like Broken Glass and Anne Boleyn.”