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Winners Announced for the 24th Annual WhatsOnStage Awards

At a ceremony tonight (Sunday 11th February 2024) at The London Palladium hosted by Bonnie Langford and Melanie La Barrie, the winners of the 24th Annual WhatsOnStage Awards were announced – the only major theatre awards decided entirely by the theatregoers themselves.

Aimee Lou Wood - Photo by Roy J Baron.
Aimee Lou Wood – Photo by Roy J Baron.

WhatsOnStage’s Darius Thompson and Alex Wood said today, “What a year for UK theatre this has been. Looking at the winners, voted for by WhatsOnStage readers, it is striking just how audiences are keen to lend their support to bold, experimental takes on classic tales – from solo versions of Chekhov to immersive takes on classic musicals, or radical re-imaginings of Andrew Lloyd Webber shows. Long may this continue – theatre would not be able to thrive without challenging and forward-thinking creativity.

We’ve had a complete blast at The London Palladium – and the team at LW Theatres have been incredible in accommodating everything we’ve thrown at them, including the installation of an auditorium ramp in order to facilitate step-free access to the stage.

The big winner of the night was Sunset Boulevard with 7 awards from its 9 nominations, receiving Best Performer in a Musical for Nicole Scherzinger, Best Professional Debut Performance for Grace Hodgett Young, Best Direction for Jamie Lloyd, Best Lighting Design for Jack Knowles, Best Sound Design for Adam Fisher, Best Video Design for Nathan Amzi and Joe Ransom and Best Music Direction/Supervision for Alan Williams.

The Best Musical Revival was scooped by Guys & Dolls, still running to critical acclaim at the Bridge Theatre, one of three awards the production took home, also receiving Best Set Design for Bunny Christie and Best Graphic Design by Muse Creative.

In a very evenly spread remaining field, the straight play awards were led by A Little Life – Ivo van Hove’s adaptation of the publishing sensation by Hanya Yanagihara, with James Norton winning Best Performer in a Play, and Luke Thompson winning Best Supporting Performer in a Play. However, Best New Play was snatched by the West End phenomenon Stranger Things: The First Shadow by Kate Trefry, with original story by the Duffer Brothers, Jack Thorne and Kate Trefry, currently running at the Phoenix Theatre. Best Play Revival was won by VANYA, adapted for the stage by Simon Stephens with a tour de force performance by Andrew Scott.

Best New Musical was won by the highly garlanded Operation Mincemeat which arrived in the West End last year. The other musical categories saw Jack Wolfe win for the Donmar Warehouse’s production of Next to Normal, which transfers to the West End later this year; Aimee Lou Wood won Best Takeover for her turn as Cabaret’s Sally Bowles with the production also winning Best West End Show; and Best Choreography went to Matt Cole for Disney’s Newsies.

This year’s Award for Services to UK Theatre was presented to Rufus Norris, Director of the National Theatre, who has led the company to great critical success. This has culminated in one of the most prolific years for them with work across the West End, including Dear England, The Motive and The Cue, The Ocean at the End of the Lane and The Crucible, as well as across all their stages, and tours including The Ocean at the End of the Lane, and Sucker Punch.

Best Costume Design went to Ryan Dawson Laight for his sumptuous work on La Cage aux Folles at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre; and Best Casting Direction to Jill Green for The Little Big Things.

Best Off-West End Production went to Flowers for Mrs Harris; Best Concert Event to Love Never Dies In Concert at Theatre Royal Drury Lane; and Best Regional Production to The Lord of the Rings at The Watermill Theatre, continuing a spectacular year for the venue.

Performances at this evening’s event included Disney’s Newsies, Flowers for Mrs Harris, Guys & Dolls, La Cage aux Folles, Next to Normal, Operation Mincemeat and The Sound of Music, accompanied by a 25-piece orchestra, as well as an exclusive world premiere from Burlesque the Musical, and three additional specially curated performances, including a tribute to Chita Rivera, a trip down memory lane to relive some iconic performances from the last few decades and a showcase of theatre’s next rising stars.

24TH ANNUAL WHATSONSTAGE AWARDS (WINNERS IN BOLD)
Best Performer in a Musical – sponsored by TickX
Michael Ahomka-Lindsay, Disney’s Newsies, Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre
Natasha Hodgson, Operation Mincemeat, Fortune Theatre
Ed Larkin, The Little Big Things, @sohoplace
Caissie Levy, Next to Normal, Donmar Warehouse
Nicole Scherzinger, Sunset Boulevard, Savoy Theatre
Marisha Wallace, Guys & Dolls, Bridge Theatre

Best Supporting Performer in a Musical – sponsored by Newman Displays
Aynrand Ferrer, Miss Saigon, Sheffield Crucible
Jak Malone, Operation Mincemeat, Fortune Theatre
Jason Manford, The Wizard of Oz, The London Palladium
Cedric Neal, Guys & Dolls, Bridge Theatre
Amy Trigg, The Little Big Things, @sohoplace
Jack Wolfe, Next to Normal, Donmar Warehouse

Best Performer in a Play – sponsored by Sine Digital
Paapa Essiedu, The Effect, National Theatre
Joseph Fiennes, Dear England, National Theatre and Prince Edward Theatre
James Norton, A Little Life, Harold Pinter Theatre and Savoy Theatre
Taylor Russell, The Effect, National Theatre
Andrew Scott, VANYA, Duke of York’s Theatre
Sheridan Smith, Shirley Valentine, Duke of York’s Theatre

Best Supporting Performer in a Play – sponsored by Situation Interactive
Michele Austin, The Effect, National Theatre
Will Close, Dear England, National Theatre and Prince Edward Theatre
Bryony Corrigan, I, Daniel Blake, UK tour
Luke Thompson, A Little Life, Harold Pinter Theatre and Savoy Theatre
Zubin Varla, A Little Life, Harold Pinter Theatre and Savoy Theatre
Anjana Vasan, A Streetcar Named Desire, Almeida Theatre and Phoenix Theatre

Best Takeover Performance – sponsored by AKT London
Karis Anderson, TINA – The Tina Turner Musical, Aldwych Theatre
Cory English, Back to the Future: The Musical, Adelphi Theatre
Mason Alexander Park, Cabaret, The Kit Kat Club at the Playhouse Theatre
Lucy St. Louis, Wicked, Apollo Victoria Theatre
Rebecca Lucy Taylor, Cabaret, The Kit Kat Club at the Playhouse Theatre
Aimee Lou Wood, Cabaret, The Kit Kat Club at the Playhouse Theatre

Best Professional Debut Performance – sponsored by AKA
Rita Bernard-Shaw, Trouble in Butetown, Donmar Warehouse
Laura Dawkes, Frozen, Theatre Royal Drury Lane
Lou Henry, SIX, UK tour
Grace Hodgett Young, Sunset Boulevard, Savoy Theatre
Louis McCartney, Stranger Things: The First Shadow, Phoenix Theatre
Andrew Richardson, Guys & Dolls, Bridge Theatre

Best New Musical – sponsored by Travelzoo
Disney’s Newsies, Alan Menken, Jack Feldman and Harvey Fierstein, Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre
The Little Big Things, Nick Butcher, Tom Ling and Joe White, @sohoplace
Mrs. Doubtfire, Wayne Kirkpatrick, Karey Kirkpatrick and John O’Farrell, Shaftesbury Theatre
Next to Normal, Brian Yorkey and Tom Kitt, Donmar Warehouse
Operation Mincemeat, SpitLip, Fortune Theatre
The Time Traveller’s Wife, Lauren Gunderson, Joss Stone, Dave Stewart and Kait Kerrigan, Apollo Theatre

Best Musical Revival – sponsored by Concord Theatricals
Guys & Dolls, Bridge Theatre
La Cage aux Folles, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre
The Lord of the Rings, The Watermill Theatre, Newbury
The Sound of Music, Chichester Festival Theatre
Sunset Boulevard, Savoy Theatre
The Wizard of Oz, Curve, Leicester and The London Palladium

Best New Play – sponsored by Ticketmaster
A Little Life, Adapted by Koen Tachelet, Ivo Van Hove and Hanya Yanagihara, Harold Pinter Theatre and Savoy Theatre
Cowbois, Charlie Josephine, Swan Theatre
Dear England, James Graham, National Theatre and Prince Edward Theatre
Hamnet, by Maggie O’Farrell, adapted by Lolita Chakrabarti, Swan Theatre and Garrick Theatre
The Motive and the Cue, Jack Thorne, National Theatre
Stranger Things: The First Shadow, Kate Trefry, Jack Thorne and the Duffer Brothers, Phoenix Theatre

Best Play Revival – sponsored by Edwardian Hotels London – Official Hotel Partner
A Streetcar Named Desire, Almeida Theatre and Phoenix Theatre
The Effect, National Theatre
The Merchant of Venice 1936, UK tour
The Pillowman, Duke of York’s Theatre
Shirley Valentine, Duke of York’s Theatre
VANYA, Duke of York’s Theatre

Best West End Show – sponsored by Dewynters
Back to the Future: The Musical, Adelphi Theatre
Cabaret, The Kit Kat Club at the Playhouse Theatre
Les Misérables, Sondheim Theatre
Moulin Rouge! The Musical, Piccadilly Theatre
The Phantom of the Opera, His Majesty’s Theatre
SIX, Vaudeville Theatre

Best Regional Production – sponsored by Music Theatre International
Boys from the Blackstuff, Royal Court, Liverpool
Choir Boy, Bristol Old Vic
In Dreams, Leeds Playhouse
The Lord of the Rings, The Watermill Theatre, Newbury
Miss Saigon, Sheffield Crucible
To Wong Foo The Musical, Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester

Best Off-West End Production – sponsored by Theatrical Rights Worldwide
Flowers for Mrs Harris, Riverside Studios
George Takei’s Allegiance, Charing Cross Theatre
Othello, Riverside Studios
Rebecca, Charing Cross Theatre
Scouts! The Musical, The Other Palace Studio
The Shape of Things, Park Theatre

Best Concert Event – sponsored by TikTok
Ariana DeBose in Concert, The London Palladium
Darren Criss, The London Palladium
Evita in Concert, Theatre Royal Drury Lane
Love Never Dies in Concert, Theatre Royal Drury Lane
Once: In Concert, The London Palladium
Schwartz at 75, Lyric Theatre

Best Direction – sponsored by LOVEtheatre
Polly Findlay, Assassins, Chichester Festival Theatre
Rebecca Frecknall, A Streetcar Named Desire, Almeida Theatre and Phoenix Theatre
Rupert Goold, Dear England, National Theatre and Prince Edward Theatre
Nicholas Hytner, Guys & Dolls, Bridge Theatre
Jamie Lloyd, Sunset Boulevard, Savoy Theatre
Sam Mendes, The Motive and the Cue, National Theatre

Best Musical Direction/Supervision
Mark Aspinall and Sioned Saunders, The Lord of the Rings, The Watermill Theatre, Newbury
Nick Barstow and Nigel Lilley, Next to Normal, Donmar Warehouse
Cat Beveridge and Nigel Lilley, The Witches, National Theatre
Tom Brady, Guys & Dolls, Bridge Theatre
Stephen Brooker, Alfonso Casado Trigo and Stephen Metcalfe, Stephen Sondheim’s Old Friends, Gielgud Theatre
Alan Williams, Sunset Boulevard, Savoy Theatre

Best Casting Direction
Alastair Coomer and Naomi Downham, The Motive and the Cue, National Theatre
Anna Cooper, Next to Normal, Donmar Warehouse
Jill Green, The Little Big Things, @sohoplace
Bryony Jarvis-Taylor, Dear England, National Theatre and Prince Edward Theatre
Bryony Jarvis-Taylor, The Witches, National Theatre
Jessica Ronane, Stranger Things: The First Shadow, Phoenix Theatre

Best Choreography – sponsored by Tandem Marketing
Fabian Aloise, Sunset Boulevard, Savoy Theatre
Matt Cole, Disney’s Newsies, Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre
Ellen Kane and Hannes Langolf, Dear England, National Theatre and Prince Edward Theatre
Stephen Mear, La Cage aux Folles, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre
Arlene Phillips with James Cousins, Guys & Dolls, Bridge Theatre
Kenrick ‘H2O’ Sandy, Free Your Mind, Factory International

Best Costume Design
Bunny Christie and Deborah Andrews, Guys & Dolls, Bridge Theatre
Lizzie Clachan, The Witches, National Theatre
Ryan Dawson Laight, La Cage aux Folles, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre
Gregory Gale, To Wong Foo The Musical, Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester
Gareth Pugh, Free Your Mind, Factory International
Grace Smart, Cowbois, Swan Theatre

Best Lighting Design – sponsored by White Light
Rory Beaton and Lucy Carter, The Time Traveller’s Wife, Apollo Theatre
Jon Clark, Dear England, National Theatre and Prince Edward Theatre
Jon Clark, The Effect, National Theatre
Jon Clark, Stranger Things: The First Shadow, Phoenix Theatre
Paule Constable, Guys & Dolls, Bridge Theatre
Jack Knowles, Sunset Boulevard, Savoy Theatre

Best Set Design – sponsored by Preevue
Miriam Buether, Stranger Things: The First Shadow, Phoenix Theatre
Bunny Christie, Guys & Dolls, Bridge Theatre
Lizzie Clachan, Assassins, Chichester Festival Theatre
Lizzie Clachan, The Witches, National Theatre
Chloe Lamford, Phaedra, National Theatre
Morgan Large, Disney’s Newsies, Wembley Troubadour Park Theatre

Best Sound Design
Paul Arditti, Guys & Dolls, Bridge Theatre
Paul Arditti, Stranger Things: The First Shadow, Phoenix Theatre
Dan Balfour and Tom Gibbons, Dear England, National Theatre and Prince Edward Theatre
Adam Fisher, The Lord of the Rings, The Watermill Theatre, Newbury
Adam Fisher, Sunset Boulevard, Savoy Theatre
Tony Gayle, Next to Normal, Donmar Warehouse

Best Video Design – sponsored by GDL
59 Productions, Stranger Things: The First Shadow, Phoenix Theatre
Nathan Amzi and Joe Ransom, Sunset Boulevard, Savoy Theatre
Andrzej Goulding, Miss Saigon, Sheffield Crucible
Andrzej Goulding, The Time Traveller’s Wife, Apollo Theatre
Ash J Woodward, Dear England, National Theatre and Prince Edward Theatre
Ash J Woodward, The Witches, National Theatre

Best Graphic Design – sponsored by Hexagon Print
Bob King Creative, Operation Mincemeat, Fortune Theatre
Muse Creative, Guys & Dolls, Bridge Theatre
Jeremy Coysten and North Design, Free Your Mind, Factory International
The Creative Partnership, Stranger Things: The First Shadow, Phoenix Theatre
Feast Creative, La Cage aux Folles, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre
Rick Guest, Rob Rae and the NT Graphics Studio, Dear England, National Theatre and Prince Edward Theatre

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