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My Night At Whats On Stage Awards

On Sunday 27th February, the who's who of British theatre gathered together to celebrate everything we've all been through over the last two years... and for some reason I was there too!


I wanted to write a little bit about what it was like to be there and why the night was so special so read on and prepare for me to ramble... but what's new there?



The 2021 Whatsonstage awards took place virtually so this event was the first time they have done one with an audience in 2 years. Ahead of Aprils Oliviers, this was the first major theatre awards ceremony in London since before the pandemic and, for many, the first chance to be in a room with all of their fellow performers and creatives.


When the last awards took place in March 2020, 'All That Dazzles' was nothing more than a sparkle in my eye. Being invited to mingle with so many people I admire and adore was a surreal experience - turning around to find yourself sandwiched between Lily Allen and Carrie Hope Fletcher isn't something I would have ever expected to be in - though there are worse ways to spend a Sunday night!



Now back for its 22nd awards, What made the event really special was the love of theatre that shone through from every single person in attendance. Opportunities to celebrate our shared love of the Arts have been rare of late. While theatres have now been re-open for 9 months, restrictions and changing guidelines have meant an event like this wasn't possible before. We all needed to celebrate each other, what everybody has achieved over the last two years and theatre as a whole - and that we did!


Egos were well and truly put to one side for the evening - this was a night where everybody wanted to celebrate eachother. It almost felt like the winners didn't matter as everybody was a winner to be there having contributed to the art form in some way over the past two years. Watching people from different shows cheer for their supposed competition in other shows was incredibly heartwarming and ensured the evening was always joyous. Then let's talk about the outfits - I thought I was sparkly in my ridiculous attire (I literally peeled sequins off my legs when I got home) but I was well and truly outdazzled. Truly fabulous everywhere you looked!



The awards boasted some special performances from the stars of the West End with Samantha Barks demonstrating why she is a fabulous leading lady with a flawless 'Let It Go', the cast of Curve Leicester's West Side Story bringing 'Dear Official Krupke' from the show to a West End stage and Julian Ovenden and Gina Beck whetting the audiences appetites for the upcoming London run of 'South Pacific'. The final performance of the night was a beautiful tribute to Stephen Sondheim, culminating in 'Being Alive' - a poignant reminder to the beauty of theatre and what we have lost since the last awards ceremony.


Compered by the fantastic Jodie Prenger and Tom Read-Wilson, they kept the audience entertained as did the presenters of the awards with Kitty Scott-Claus and Ella VaDay from Drag Race providing laughs as they ventured off-script. Oscar Conlon-Morrey was as wonderful as ever as he battled with sound issues in his own hilarious way



On to the actual awards. Frozen were the big winners with seven awards out of 13 nominations though they were beaten to the title of Best New Musical by Back To The Future. Some incredible performers were deservedly recognised for their talents in the awards with Hugh Coles and Carly Mercedes Dyer picking up Best Supporting Role In A Musical awards - something I suspect they may repeat at the Oliviers. Eddie Redmayne of course won Best Performer In A Male Identifying Role In A Musical for his jawdropping turn in Cabaret while the amazing Carrie Hope Fletcher took home Best Performer In A Female Identifying Role In A Musical for Cinderella.


Two awards I was personally pleased to see were Rob Madge deservedly winning Best Off-West End Production for their amazing My Son's A Queer... but What Can You Do? with a beautiful speech about the importance of telling non binary and trans stories; and the Hope Mill Theatre deservedly won Best Regional Production for their beautiful production of RENT. Seeing Joseph and Will, the two founders of the Hope Mill, on a West End stage representing their incredible theatre in Manchester was an inspiring moment - and they said it may not be the last we see of their production of RENT so who knows? Maybe the Hope Mill could be back in the West End soon?



No awards ceremony is complete without speeches. Lily Allen's self-deprecating speech about only taking the role in 2:22 for the bad reviews was hilarious, but the speech of the night came from Eddie Redmayne who took the time to recount the events of the previous day at Cabaret where the second cover Sally Bowles had to make her debut in the matinee and how vital swings are to the continuation of theatre. A sentiment that was repeated throughout the night.


Here are the nominees and winners in full:


BEST PERFORMER IN A MALE IDENTIFYING ROLE IN A MUSICAL - SPONSORED BY INTERNATIONAL COLLEGE OF MUSICAL THEATRE

Roger Bart - Back to the Future the Musical, Manchester Opera House & Adelphi Theatre

Olly Dobson - Back to the Future the Musical, Manchester Opera House & Adelphi Theatre

Arinzé Kene - Get Up, Stand Up! The Bob Marley Musical, Lyric Theatre

Julian Ovenden - South Pacific, Chichester Festival Theatre

Eddie Redmayne – Cabaret, Playhouse Theatre - Kit Kat Club

Ivano Turco – Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cinderella, Gillian Lynne Theatre


BEST PERFORMER IN A FEMALE IDENTIFYING ROLE IN A MUSICAL - SPONSORED BY LONDON THEATRE DIRECT

Aimie Atkinson - Pretty Woman, Piccadilly Theatre & Savoy Theatre

Samantha Barks - Frozen, Theatre Royal Drury Lane

Jessie Buckley – Cabaret, Playhouse Theatre - Kit Kat Club

Carrie Hope Fletcher – Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cinderella, Gillian Lynne Theatre

Beverley Knight - The Drifters Girl, Garrick Theatre

Stephanie McKeon, Frozen, Theatre Royal Drury Lane

BEST SUPPORTING PERFORMER IN A MALE IDENTIFYING ROLE IN A MUSICAL - SPONSORED BY TANDEM MARKETING

Blake Patrick Anderson - Be More Chill, The Other Palace & Shaftesbury Theatre

Hugh Coles - Back to the Future the Musical, Manchester Opera House & Adelphi Theatre

Robert Lindsay - Anything Goes, Barbican Centre

Cedric Neal - Back to the Future the Musical - Manchester Opera House & Adelphi Theatre

Oliver Ormson – Frozen, Theatre Royal Drury Lane

Obioma Ugoala – Frozen, Theatre Royal Drury Lane


BEST SUPPORTING PERFORMER IN A FEMALE IDENTIFYING ROLE IN A MUSICAL - SPONSORED BY NEWMAN DISPLAYS

Joanna Ampil - South Pacific, Chichester Festival Theatre

Gabrielle Brooks - Get Up, Stand Up! The Bob Marley Musical, Lyric Theatre

Victoria Hamilton-Barritt – Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cinderella, Gillian Lynne Theatre

Carly Mercedes Dyer - Anything Goes, Barbican Centre

Millie O'Connell - Rent, Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester

Rebecca Trehearn – Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cinderella, Gillian Lynne Theatre

BEST PERFORMER IN A MALE IDENTIFYING ROLE IN A PLAY

Richard Armitage - Uncle Vanya, Harold Pinter Theatre

Ben Daniels - The Normal Heart, National Theatre

Omari Douglas – Constellations, Vaudeville Theatre

Hadley Fraser - 2:22 A Ghost Story, Noël Coward Theatre

Henry Lewis - Magic Goes Wrong, Vaudeville Theatre & Apollo Theatre

James McAvoy - Cyrano de Bergerac, Playhouse Theatre

BEST PERFORMER IN A FEMALE IDENTIFYING ROLE IN A PLAY – SPONSORED BY EDWARDIAN HOTELS LONDON

Lily Allen - 2:22 A Ghost Story, Noël Coward Theatre

Gemma Arterton – Walden, Harold Pinter Theatre

Sheila Atim – Constellations, Vaudeville Theatre

Emma Corrin - Anna X, Harold Pinter Theatre, The Lowry, Salford

Patsy Ferran - Camp Siegfried, The Old Vic

Saoirse Ronan - The Tragedy of Macbeth, Almeida Theatre



BEST SUPPORTING PERFORMER IN A MALE IDENTIFYING ROLE IN A PLAY

Stephen K Amos - My Night with Reg, The Turbine Theatre

Dino Fetscher - The Normal Heart, National Theatre

Nathaniel Parker - The Mirror and the Light, Gielgud Theatre

Richard Rankin - The Tragedy of Macbeth, Almeida Theatre

Jonathan Sayer - Magic Goes Wrong, Vaudeville Theatre & Apollo Theatre

Jake Wood - 2:22 A Ghost Story, Noël Coward Theatre

BEST SUPPORTING PERFORMER IN A FEMALE IDENTIFYING ROLE IN A PLAY

Michelle Fox - Shining City, Theatre Royal Stratford East

Akiya Henry - The Tragedy of Macbeth, Almeida Theatre

Penny Layden - The Ocean at the End of the Lane, National Theatre & Duke of York's Theatre

Isobel McArthur - Pride and Prejudice* (*sort of), Criterion Theatre

Aimee Lou Wood - Uncle Vanya, Harold Pinter Theatre

Nancy Zamit - Magic Goes Wrong, Vaudeville Theatre & Apollo Theatre

BEST NEW MUSICAL - SPONSORED BY TRAVELZOO

Back to the Future the Musical - Adelphi Theatre

Cinderella - Gillian Lynne Theatre

Frozen - Theatre Royal Drury Lane

Get Up, Stand Up! The Bob Marley Musical - Lyric Theatre

Pretty Woman the Musical - Piccadilly Theatre & Savoy Theatre

Moulin Rouge! - Piccadilly Theatre


BEST MUSICAL REVIVAL- SPONSORED BY CONCORD THEATRICALS

Anything Goes - Barbican Centre

Cabaret - Kit Kat Club at the Playhouse Theatre

Carousel - Regent's Park Open Air Theatre

Rent - Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester

South Pacific - Chichester Festival Theatre

West Side Story - Curve, Leicester

BEST NEW PLAY- SPONSORED BY TICKETMASTER

2:22 A Ghost Story - Noël Coward Theatre

J' Ouvert - Harold Pinter Theatre, Theatre Royal & Royal Concert Hall Nottingham

Leopoldstadt – Wyndham’s Theatre

Magic Goes Wrong - Vaudeville Theatre & Apollo Theatre

Pride and Prejudice* (*sort of) - Criterion Theatre

The Ocean at the End of the Lane - National Theatre & Duke of York's Theatre


BEST PLAY REVIVAL – SPONSORED BY AKA

Constellations - Vaudeville Theatre

Cyrano de Bergerac - Playhouse Theatre

My Night with Reg - The Turbine Theatre

The Normal Heart - National Theatre

The Tragedy of Macbeth - Almeida Theatre

Uncle Vanya - Harold Pinter Theatre

BEST OFF-WEST END PRODUCTION- SPONSORED BY LES MISÉRABLES

Anything is Possible if You Think About it Hard Enough - Southwark Playhouse

My Son's A Queer but What Can You Do? - The Turbine Theatre

Old Bridge - Bush Theatre

Pippin - Charing Cross Theatre

Saving Britney - Old Red Lion Theatre

The Last Five Years - Southwark Playhouse


BEST REGIONAL THEATRE PRODUCTION

Bedknobs and Broomsticks the Musical - UK tour

Bloody Elle - A Gig Musical - Manchester Royal Exchange

Rent - Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester

South Pacific - Chichester Festival Theatre

West Side Story - Curve, Leicester

What's New Pussycat? – Birmingham Repertory Theatre


BEST WEST END SHOW- SPONSORED BY DEWYNTERS

Come From Away - Phoenix Theatre

Hamilton - Victoria Palace Theatre

Les Misérables - Sondheim Theatre

Six the Musical - Vaudeville Theatre

The Play That Goes Wrong - Duchess Theatre

Wicked - Apollo Victoria Theatre



BEST DIRECTION- SPONSORED BY LOVETHEATRE

Clint Dyer - Get Up, Stand Up! The Bob Marley Musical, Lyric Theatre

Yaël Farber - The Tragedy of Macbeth, Almeida Theatre

Rebecca Frecknall – Cabaret, Kit Kat Club at the Playhouse Theatre

Michael Grandage – Frozen, Theatre Royal Drury Lane

Jamie Lloyd - Cyrano de Bergerac, Playhouse Theatre

Katy Rudd - The Ocean at the End of the Lane, National Theatre & Duke of York's Theatre

BEST CHOREOGRAPHY

Rob Ashford - Frozen, Theatre Royal Drury Lane

Drew McOnie – Carousel, Regent's Park Open Air Theatre

Kathleen Marshall - Anything Goes, Barbican Centre

Shelley Maxwell - Get Up, Stand Up! The Bob Marley Musical, Lyric Theatre

Sonya Tayeh - Moulin Rouge!, Piccadilly Theatre

Ann Yee - South Pacific, Chichester Festival Theatre

BEST SET DESIGN – SPONSORED BY PREEVUE

Fly Davis - The Ocean at the End of the Lane, National Theatre & Duke of York's Theatre

Jamie Harrison - Bedknobs and Broomsticks the Musical, UK tour

Tim Hatley - Back to the Future the Musical, Manchester Opera House & Adelphi Theatre

Derek McLane - Moulin Rouge!, Piccadilly Theatre

Christopher Oram – Frozen, Theatre Royal Drury Lane

Tom Scutt – Cabaret, Kit Kat Club at the Playhouse Theatre

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

Lisa Duncan - Get Up, Stand Up! The Bob Marley Musical, Lyric Theatre

Christopher Oram – Frozen, Theatre Royal Drury Lane

Tom Scutt – Cabaret, Kit Kat Club at the Playhouse Theatre

Gabriella Slade - Bedknobs and Broomsticks the Musical, UK tour

Gabriela Tylesova – Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cinderella, Gillian Lynne Theatre

Catherine Zuber - Moulin Rouge!, Piccadilly Theatre


BEST LIGHTING DESIGN- SPONSORED BY WHITE LIGHT

Neil Austin – Frozen, Theatre Royal Drury Lane

Charles Balfour - Get Up, Stand Up! The Bob Marley Musical, Lyric Theatre

Isabella Byrd – Cabaret, Playhouse Theatre, Kit Kat Club

Tim Lutkin - Back to the Future the Musical, Adelphi Theatre

Bruno Poet – Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cinderella, Gillian Lynne Theatre

Justin Townsend - Moulin Rouge!, Piccadilly Theatre

BEST MUSICAL DIRECTION OR SUPERVISION

Leo Munby - The Last Five Years, Vaudeville Theatre

Tom Deering - Carousel, Regent's Park Open Air Theatre

Sean Green - Get Up, Stand Up! The Bob Marley Musical, Lyric Theatre

Justin Levine - Moulin Rouge!, Piccadilly Theatre

Stephen Oremus – Frozen - Theatre Royal Drury Lane

Katy Richardson - Rent, Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester

BEST SOUND DESIGN- SPONSORED BY STAGE SOUND SERVICES

Adam Cork – Leopoldstadt, Wyndham's Theatre

Adam Fisher - The Last Five Years, Southwark Playhouse & Vaudeville Theatre

Paul Groothuis - South Pacific, Chichester Festival Theatre

Peter Hylenski - Moulin Rouge!, Piccadilly Theatre

Gareth Owen - Back to the Future the Musical, Manchester Opera House & Adelphi Theatre

Ben and Max Ringham - Cyrano de Bergerac, Playhouse Theatre

BEST VIDEO DESIGN

Nina Dunn - The Shark is Broken, Ambassadors Theatre

Akhila Krishnan - What’s New Pussycat?, Birmingham Repertory Theatre

Mikaela Liakata and Tal Yarden - Anna X, Harold Pinter Theatre & The Lowry, Salford

Finn Ross - Back to the Future the Musical, Manchester Opera House & Adelphi Theatre

Finn Ross – Frozen, Theatre Royal Drury Lane

Tal Yarden - Get Up, Stand Up! The Bob Marley Musical, Lyric Theatre

BEST GRAPHIC DESIGN- SPONSORED BY HEXAGON PRINT

Christopher D Clegg - The Wiz, Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester

Feast Creative - Romeo and Juliet, Regent's Park Open Air Theatre

Feast Creative – Rent, Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester

Bob King Creative – Frozen, Theatre Royal Drury Lane

Muse Creative Communications - RE:EMERGE Season, Harold Pinter Theatre

Michael Nash Associates- Get Up, Stand Up! The Bob Marley Musical, Lyric Theatre



You may think that awards ceremonies are a bunch of unnecessary backslapping and inflating eachothers egos. I'm here to tell you they're not - at least this one wasn't. This was an event to celebrate eachother and theatre as a whole and coming out of the other side of an incredibly trying time. The atmosphere in the Prince of Wales theatre on Sunday night was like nothing I've ever experienced before and a night I will never forget.


Congratulations to all the winners - and that includes everybody who was nominated and everyone who's contributed to theatre in some way since the last Whatsonstage awards. You're all winners in my eyes, and to quote the opening number - we're all glad you're back in the game.


Winners photos by Dan Wooller

All other photos by Danny Kaan

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