Aussie version of the Tonys honors musical
“Billy Elliot” stole the show and seven statuettes Sunday at the eighth annual Helpmann Awards, Australia’s version of the Tonys.Tuner collected the prize for musical, topping “Guys and Dolls,” “Company” and box office hit “The Phantom of the Opera.” “Billy” helmers Stephen Daldry and Julian Webber won direction honors. Actor in a musical kudos were shared between tuner’s four Billys — Lochlan Denholm, Nick Twiney, Rarmian Newton and Rhys Kosakowski — while castmate Genevieve Lemon won actress kudos. Shane Jacobson won supporting actor in a musical kudos for his stage debut in “Guys and Dolls.” In the play category, Sydney’s Company B Belvoir wrapped a banner year of critical acclaim and box office bonanzas with seven awards. The company’s world premiere production of Michael Gow’s first work in a decade, “Toy Symphony,” took four awards: thesp for Richard Roxburgh, direction for company topper Neil Armfield, supporting thesp for Russell Dykstra and new work for Gow. Company B won best play for its revival of “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” And Julie Forsyth won supporting actress for “Exit the King.” Leah Purcell won actress in a drama kudos for Griffin Theater Company’s “The Story of the Miracles at Cookie’s Table.” Industry panels bestowed 43 awards across a vast array of performance modes, including musical theater, drama, ballet and opera. Foxtel chief Kim Williams presented Sue Nattras with the prestigious J.C. Williamson Award in recognition of her contribution to the Australian live performance industry. Likewise, Bruce Beresford presented his friend Barry Humphries with a J.C. Williamson Award (gracelessly accepted by Dame Edna Everage).