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18th Annual Whatsonstage Awards at the Prince of Wales Theatre

John McCrea (Jamie New) in Everybody's Talking About Jamie at the Apollo Theatre. Photo by Alastair MuirI had, in jest, referred to The 18th Annual Whatsonstage Awards as The Most Assertive Social Media Campaign Awards 2018, a sentiment shared by The Ferryman’s Fra Fee. Picking up the award for Best Supporting Actor in a Play, he mused that if Nathan Lane ran a Twitter account, he’d most likely have won that category instead. As for the musicals, 42nd Street and Everybody’s Talking About Jamie dominated, picking up seven awards between them – in a seemingly ever darker and more uncertain world, the feel-good factor that permeates through both of those productions is a sure-fire winner with audiences.

I should imagine, looking at the categories and the sheer talent represented therein, some of the votes were close runs. It is, as a fellow attendee pointed out, always interesting to see where the public vote goes – and who turns up in person. One of the talking points afterwards was a gaffe over a pre-recorded acceptance speech, in which David Tennant apparently won Best Supporting Actor in a Musical. Trevor Dion Nicholas and Vikki Stone handled the situation well, one of the only moments in which, being unscripted, the ‘presenters’ became ‘hosts’ and enjoyed some proper rapport with the audience. Playing it straight, however, did pay off in minimising banter and concentrating on the awards and the winners themselves.

Two of the musical performances also proved topics of conversation, given their inclusion in a celebration of British theatre – the show opened with a medley of songs from The Greatest Showman, a motion picture whose songs, or at least the ones selected here, don’t work nearly as well in concert format than they do in the cinema. The second half, which only finally got underway after an irritated voiceover announcement implored the audience to re-take their seats as Whatsonstage was unable to “pay the orchestra any extra”, included a wishlist of Broadway shows that would probably do well if they transferred to the West End – Dear Evan Hansen, Waitress and Come From Away. Arguably this was a missed opportunity to showcase some homegrown talent, or at least some upcoming shows already confirmed as coming soon, such as the revival of Chicago at the Phoenix Theatre, or the forthcoming run of Chess at the London Coliseum.

Sonia Friedman received the Equity Award for Services to Theatre, a well-deserved accolade for someone who has produced in excess of 150 shows of various styles. With Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (producer: Sonia Friedman) being all the rage last year, and Hamilton having missed the cut-off point of 24 November 2017 (public performances did not start until 6 December), this year’s awards were widely distributed among many shows. Congratulations to the winners (shown in bold) in the full list below.

BEST ACTOR IN A PLAY SPONSORED BY RADISSON BLU EDWARDIAN
Andrew Garfield, Angels in America
Andrew Scott, Hamlet
Bryan Cranston, Network
David Tennant, Don Juan in Soho 
Martin Freeman, Labour of Love

BEST ACTRESS IN A PLAY
Eve Best, Love in Idleness
Imelda Staunton, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Olivia Colman, Mosquitoes 
Natalie Dormer, Venus in Fur
Tamsin Greig, Labour of Love

BEST ACTOR IN A MUSICAL SPONSORED BY THE UMBRELLA ROOMS
Andrew Polec, Bat Out of Hell
Danny Mac, Sunset Boulevard
Hadley Fraser, Young Frankenstein
John McCrea, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie 
Tom Lister, 42nd Street

BEST ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL SPONSORED BY 100 WARDOUR ST
Carrie Hope Fletcher, The Addams Family 
Christina Bennington, Bat Out of Hell
Janie Dee, Follies
Josie Walker, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie
Ria Jones, Sunset Boulevard

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A PLAY
Adrian Scarborough, Don Juan in Soho
Fra Fee, The Ferryman
Nathan Lane, Angels in America
Nathan Stewart-Jarrett, Angels in America
Peter Polycarpou, Oslo

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A PLAY SPONSORED BY TONIC THEATRE
Denise Gough, Angels in America
Imogen Poots, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Jessica Brown Findlay, Hamlet
Juliet Stevenson, Hamlet
Sheila Atim, Girl from the North Country

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A MUSICAL
Chris Howell, 42nd Street
Dex Lee, Five Guys Named Moe
George Sampson, Our House
Rob Fowler, Bat Out of Hell
Ross Noble, Young Frankenstein

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL SPONSORED BY NEWMAN DISPLAYS
Clare Halse, 42nd Street
Danielle Steers, Bat Out of Hell
Lucie Shorthouse, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie
Tracie Bennett, Follies
Zoe Rainey, An American in Paris

BEST NEW PLAY SPONSORED BY JHI MARKETING
Gloria
Ink
Labour of Love
Oslo
The Ferryman

BEST NEW MUSICAL SPONSORED BY SHINE CREATIVE SOLUTIONS
Bat Out of Hell
Cilla the Musical
Everybody’s Talking About Jamie
The Band
Young Frankenstein

BEST PLAY REVIVAL
Angels in America
Don Juan in Soho
Hamlet
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Witness for the Prosecution

BEST MUSICAL REVIVAL SPONSORED BY R&H THEATRICALS
42nd Street
Fiddler on the Roof
Five Guys Named Moe
Follies
Hair

BEST DIRECTION
Dominic Cooke, Follies
Jay Scheib, Bat Out of Hell
Marianne Elliott, Angels in America
Robert Icke, Hamlet
Sam Mendes, The Ferryman

BEST CHOREOGRAPHY
Andrew Wright, Five Guys Named Moe
Christopher Wheeldon, An American in Paris
Drew McOnie, On the Town
Fabian Aloise, Our House
Randy Skinner, 42nd Street

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
Bob Crowley, An American in Paris
Gary McCann, La Cage Aux Folles
Peter McKintosh, On the Town
Roger Kirk, 42nd Street
Vicki Mortimer, Follies

BEST SET DESIGN
Bob Crowley, An American in Paris
Bunny Christie, Ink
Douglas W. Schmidt, 42nd Street
Jon Bausor, Bat Out of Hell
Vicki Mortimer, Follies

BEST LIGHTING DESIGN SPONSORED BY WHITE LIGHT
Natasha Katz, An American in Paris
Patrick Woodroffe, Bat Out of Hell
Paule Constable, Angels in America
Paule Constable, Follies
Peter Mumford, 42nd Street

BEST VIDEO DESIGN SPONSORED BY PRG XL VIDEO
59 Productions, An American in Paris
Duncan McLean, Big Fish
Duncan McLean, Labour of Love
Tal Yarden, Hamlet
Tal Yarden, Network

BEST OFF-WEST END PRODUCTION SPONSORED BY LES MISÉRABLES
Hair
La Ronde
The Wild Party
Working
Yank!

BEST REGIONAL PRODUCTION SPONSORED BY MTI EUROPE
Our House
Sunset Boulevard
The Addams Family
The Band
The Hypocrite

BEST ORIGINAL CAST RECORDING SPONSORED BY ENCORE RADIO
Dear Evan Hansen
Dreamgirls
Girl from the North Country
Hamilton
Les Misérables

BEST SHOW POSTER
Cats
Hamilton
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
The Phantom of the Opera
Wicked

BEST WEST END SHOW SPONSORED BY JOE ALLEN
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Kinky Boots
Les Misérables
The Phantom of the Opera
Wicked

EQUITY AWARD FOR SERVICES TO THEATRE
Sonia Friedman

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