Productions at London’s leading not-for profit houses created an almost total shutout for West End commercial theater in the nominations for the 57th Evening Standard Drama Awards.
Of the 29 noms, just three are for work in London’s commercial West End. Cameron Mackintosh’s “Betty Blue Eyes” is up for musical, while Kristin Scott Thomas is up against Sheridan Smith for actress for their perfs in commercial stagings of “Betrayal” and “Flare Path,” respectively.
The lion’s share of the noms were split between the National Theater and the Royal Court, with nine and eight nods respectively. The two houses’ impact on the U.K. legit economy is evidenced by playwright Richard Bean, who received noms for play at both companies. Bean’s “The Heretic,” a comedy about climate change, was a hit at the Royal Court and his “One Man, Two Guv’nors” had an SRO run at the National, played a U.K. tour, was screened in cinemas worldwide as part of the NTLive program and is now previewing in the West End.
Helmer Danny Boyle’s National Theater debut “Frankenstein,” another NTLive broadcast, received three noms with one each in the lead actor category for stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller, who nightly alternated the roles of the monster and his creator.
Toughest call for the judges is likely for the musical title. “Betty Blue Eyes” is up against “Matilda, the Musical” (now previewing in the West End after its hit run at the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon) and the National’s surprise hit “London Road.” Latter was a genre-busting piece of musical theater in which personal testimony surrounding a real-life murder case was set to music.
U.S. talent was recognized with Rob Ashford bagging a nom for director for his Donmar Warehouse production of “Anna Christie” and scribe Gina Gionfriddo nommed for play for the Almeida production of “Becky Shaw.”
Awards will be handed out at London’s Savoy Hotel Nov. 20 in a ceremony hosted by Dame Edna.