The two names heard most often on presenters’ lips at Sunday’s 30th annual Laurence Olivier Awards were “Billy Elliot” and “Hedda Gabler.” Both productions cleaned up at the U.K.’s most prestigious legit awards with four wins apiece.
“Billy Elliot” went into the evening as the leader with nine nominations and has been bagging best musical prizes at other awards ceremonies, so its win as top tuner, popular with the audience at the packed Hilton Hotel, was hardly a shock.
More popular still was the award for actor in a musical, presented jointly to James Lomas, George Maguire and Liam Mower, the three boys who created “Billy’s” title role. Tuner also won for Peter Darling’s choreography and Paul Arditti’s sound design.
Eve Best took actress in a play for her no-holds-barred performance as Hedda. The Almeida theater production of Ibsen’s drama took the revival prize and picked up nods for director Richard Eyre and set designer Rob Howell as well.
An unusually strong year for drama had narrowed to a three-horse race with six noms each for “Hedda,” Michael Grandage’s Sheffield Theaters SRO production of “Don Carlos” and Phyllida Lloyd’s “Mary Stuart” from Grandage’s Donmar Warehouse.
“Mary Stuart” walked away empty-handed and “Don Carlos” managed only one prize, for Paule Constable’s lighting design. It was her second consecutive nod: She became the first woman to win the lighting award last year for the National Theater’s “His Dark Materials.”
Grandage’s production of “Guys and Dolls” won the trophy for musical production with Jane Krakowski, his Miss Adelaide, waltzing off with the award for actress in a musical.
Another American, Brian Dennehy, picked up the actor in a play award for his Willy Loman in “Death of a Salesman.” a perf for which he also received a Tony.
Ian McKellen received a special award for contribution to theater.
“Billy Elliot — The Musical,” book and lyrics by Lee Hall, music by Elton John (Victoria Palace)
“Guys and Dolls,” based on a story and characters of Damon Runyon, music and lyrics by Frank Loesser, book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows (Piccadilly)
“On the Shore of the Wide World,” by Simon Stephens (NT: Cottesloe)
“Heroes,” by Gerald Sibleyras, translated by Tom Stoppard (Wyndham’s)
“Something Wicked This Way Comes” (Cambridge)
“Hedda Gabler,” by Henrik Ibsen, in a new version by Richard Eyre (Almeida and Duke of York’s)
Eve Best, “Hedda Gabler”
Brian Dennehy, “Death of a Salesman” (Lyric)
PERFORMANCE IN A SUPPORTING ROLE (PLAY)
Noma Dumezweni, “A Raisin in the Sun” (Young Vic at the Lyric Hammersmith)
Jane Krakowski, “Guys and Dolls”
ACTOR IN A MUSICAL
James Lomas, George Maguire and Liam Mower, “Billy Elliot — The Musical”
PERFORMANCE IN A SUPPORTING ROLE (MUSICAL)
Celia Imrie, “Acorn Antiques — The Musical!” (Theater Royal, Haymarket)
Richard Eyre, “Hedda Gabler”
Peter Darling, “Billy Elliot — The Musical”
Paule Constable, “Don Carlos” (Gielgud)
Rob Howell, “Hedda Gabler”
Es Devlin, “The Dog in the Manger” (Playhouse)
Paul Arditti, “Billy Elliot — The Musical”
ACHIEVEMENT IN AN AFFILIATE THEATER
“Bloody Sunday — Scenes From the Saville Inquiry” (Tricycle)
NEW DANCE PRODUCTION
Sylvie Guillem and Russell Maliphant, “PUSH” (Sadler’s Wells)
ACHIEVEMENT IN DANCE
Pina Bausch, for the creation of “Nelken” and “Palermo Palermo” (Sadler’s Wells)
NEW OPERA PRODUCTION
English National Opera’s “Madam Butterfly” (London Coliseum)
ACHIEVEMENT IN OPERA
Simon Keenlyside, for his performances in the Royal Opera’s “1984” (Royal Opera House) and English National Opera’s “Billy Budd” (London Coliseum)