The National Theater of Scotland, the Donmar Warehouse and the Royal Shakespeare Company reigned supreme at the 33rd Laurence Olivier Awards, presented Sunday by the Society of London Theaters.
Each of the three not-for-profit orgs garnered four wins, reflecting the overall pattern this year, with honors spread across a wide spectrum of recipients, including Broadway import “Jersey Boys,” which drew the new musical win.
National Theater of Scotland’s “Black Watch,” which finally reached London’s Barbican Theater last July after an international tour that included two New York runs, took the most kudos, landing the play nod for Gregory Burke (beating out “August: Osage County”) and director honors for John Tiffany, while Steven Hoggett won for theater choreography and Gareth Fry for sound.
Three of the top acting awards went to the Donmar. Derek Jacobi scooped lead actor for his tragicomic Malvolio in “Twelfth Night”; Elena Roger, actress in a musical for “Piaf”; and Margaret Tyzack, actress in a play for “The Chalk Garden.” The latter also yielded another lighting kudo for Paule Constable — her third win in six years.
“The Histories” — the RSC’s mammoth cycle of all eight full-length productions of Shakespeare’s history plays — won for revival, company performance and costumes for Tom Piper and Emma Williams. Patrick Stewart won a third Olivier for his supporting performance as Claudius in the RSC’s “Hamlet.” Stewart also presented the award for new comedy, which went to Yasmina Reza’s Broadway-bound “God of Carnage,” translated from French by Christopher Hampton.
Hot favorite Douglas Hodge picked up the actor in a musical prize for his iconoclastic performance as Albin in “La Cage aux Folles,” while the show itself won for musical revival. This double recognition will increase the chances that Sonia Friedman’s production will transfer to Gotham as is hoped, with Hodge reprising his role.
In a year notable for the strength and sheer number of heavily nominated, high-octane ensemble productions — including “Black Watch,” “The Chalk Garden, “The Histories” and “The Norman Conquests” — Tony and Pulitzer Prize winner “August: Osage County” managed just a single win, for Todd Rosenthal’s set design.
“The Norman Conquests” (which transfers to Broadway in April) was recognized via SOLT’s special award to playwright Alan Ayckbourn for his contribution to theater. Ayckbourn’s career trophy was presented by Kevin Spacey, whose Old Vic theater hosted the revival, and actress Liza Goddard.
The Royal Court production of Alexi Kaye Campbell’s assured debut play, “The Pride,” scored the Olivier for achievement in an affiliate theater, while cabaret and burlesque show “La Clique” won the entertainment trophy. The evening also included a tribute by David Hare to the late Harold Pinter.
Both opera awards went to the English National Opera, while productions at Sadler’s Wells Theater nabbed the dance prizes.
In a departure from previous years, musical numbers from “The Lion King” and “Mamma Mia!,” both of which celebrate their 10th anniversaries in 2009, were staged in addition to performances from nominated tuners.
Hosted by actor James Nesbitt, the awards ceremony was held at the Grosvenor House Hotel.
And the winners are:
“Jersey Boys,” book by Marshall Brickman & Rick Elice, music by Bob Gaudio, lyrics by Bob Crewe, Prince Edward Theater
“Black Watch” by Gregory Burke, Barbican Theater
“God of Carnage” by Yasmina Reza, translated by Christopher Hampton, Gielgud Theater
“La Cage Aux Folles,” music and lyrics by Jerry Herman, book by Harvey Fierstein, based on the play by Jean Poiret, Playhouse Theater
“The Histories,” RSC, Roundhouse
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN AN AFFILIATE THEATRE:
”The Pride,” Jerwood Theatre Upstairs at the Royal Court
John Tiffany, “Black Watch”
Margaret Tyzack, “The Chalk Garden,” Donmar Warehouse
Derek Jacobi, “Twelfth Night,” Donmar at Wyndham’s Theater
ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL:
Elena Roger, “Piaf,” Donmar Warehouse and Vaudeville Theater
ACTOR IN A MUSICAL:
Douglas Hodge, “La Cage Aux Folles,”
Patrick Stewart, “Hamlet,” Novello Theater
SUPPORTING PERFORMANCE IN A MUSICAL:
Lesli Margherita, “Zorro,” Garrick Theater
“La Clique,” Hippodrome
Steven Hoggett, “Black Watch”
Paule Constable, “The Chalk Garden”
Todd Rosenthal, “August: Osage County,” Steppenwolf at the National Theater
Tom Piper and Emma Williams, “The Histories”
Gareth Fry, “Black Watch”
NEW OPERA PRODUCTION:
“Partenope,” English National Opera, Coliseum
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN OPERA:
Edward Gardner for conducting English National Opera’s “Boris Godunov,” “Cavalliera Rusticana” ‘I Pagliacci,” “Riders To The Sea” and “Der Rosenkavalier,” Coliseum and “Punch and Judy,” Young Vic
NEW DANCE PRODUCTION:
“Café Muller/The Rite of Spring,” Pina Bausch Tanztheater Wuppertal, Sadler’s Wells
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN DANCE:
Royal Ballet of Flanders for their performances in “Impressing the Czar,” Sadler’s Wells
Sir Alan Ayckbourn