WhatsOnStage Awards 2019: A strong night for musicals and the regions

This evening London’s Prince of Wales Theatre hosted the 19th Annual WhatsOnStage Awards. I have a great deal of respect for these awards as they are the only ones voted for by the public, the people who actually buy the tickets.

HAMILTON lived up to expectations, and accordingly scooped five awards including Best Actor (Jamael Westman), Best Supporting Actor (Jason Pennycooke) , Best Choreography (Andy Blankenbuehler) and prizes for lighting and costume.

COMPANY won Best Director (Marianne Elliott) and Best Supporting Actress (Patti LuPone)

THE INHERITANCE won Best New Play and Best Supporting Actress (Vanessa Redgrave)

The Open Air Theatre in London’s Regents Park production of LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS won Best Musical Revival and Best Set Design

HEATHERS – THE MUSICAL won Best New Musical as well as Best Actress for Carrie Hope Fletcher. The show is due to return to tour the UK.

Adam Penford’s work at Nottingham Playhouse was also rightly rewarded, with his accomplished THE MADNESS OF GEORGE III winning Best Play Revival and Adrian Scarborough for Best Supporting Actor. Great to also see that this was the first NTLive broadcast play from Nottingham.

Katy Lipson’s production of SPRING AWAKENING which lit up Manchester’s creative forge that is the Hope Mill Theatre won Best Regional Production and Kenny Wax’s SIX – THE MUSICAL won Best Off-West End Production

Other wins were for Sophie Okonedo as Best Actress in the National’s ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA, and Best Actor was Aidan Turner in The LIEUTENANT OF INISHMORE

Michael Grandage received the Equity Award for Services to Theatre which everyone would agree with, not only for his own enviable track record, but also with his work supporting up and coming young producers through his MGC Futures Bursary scheme.

Congratulations to all the winners. It’s great to see the diversity of awards won, not only in terms of big shows and smaller shows, but also to see the awards reaching across the country to Manchester and Nottingham. Proof again that theatre can bring people together positively. As someone once said, “Boy, do we need it now”.

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