Tuner nabs record 8 Helpmann awards in Australia

SYDNEY — “Mary Poppins” — a Disney, Cameron Mackintosh co-production playing at Sydney’s Capitol Theater — took home a record eight kudos at the Helpmann Awards, Australia’s equivalent to the Tonys, in Sydney on Monday night.

“Mary Poppins” won best musical, its leads Verity Hunt-Ballard and Matt Lee nabbed male and female actors in a musical and Philip Quast won for best supporting actor. Lee beat vet and favorite Anthony Warlow who was nommed for the new tuner, “Doctor Zhivago.”

“Mary Poppins” also snagged best direction for Richard Eyre and Matthew Bourne; choreography of a musical for Bourne and Stephen Mear; best sound design for Peter Grubb and best music direction for Stephen Brooker and Michael Tyack.

Geoffrey Rush and Neil Armfield took home best actor and best director of a play for their revival of “Diary of a Madman” at Belvoir, while Cate Blanchett won for female actor in a play for her turn in “Uncle Vanya” for the Sydney Theater Company, which is currently touring Washington. Blanchett will begin a performance at the Kennedy Center this week so could not attend the kudocast.

Best new Aussie work went to comic Tim Minchin for his musical show “Tim Minchin vs Sydney Symphony” and Oz rockers Powderfinger took best contemporary concert for the “Sunsets” farewell tour.

The 11th Helpmanns, staged by Live Performance Australia, honor all forms of live entertainment across 41 categories.

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