U.K. awards to be simulcast at reception

The Olivier Awards, U.K. theater’s most prestigious prizes, will be presented in New York this year for the first time via a live show relay from London’s Royal Opera House.

Ceremony, presented by the Society of London Theater, will make its Stateside debut as part of a Gotham reception. At home, the event will receive extensive coverage on BBC TV, radio and online.

Media blitz marks a significant step up for the kudofest, now in its 36th year, following the 2010 appointment of SOLT chief exec Julian Bird, who increased the event’s industry and media profile last year by moving it to the Theater Royal Drury Lane from the hotel in which it had previously been held.

The Broadway celebration will consist of British stars and high-profile industry figures gathering at an as yet unannounced venue to celebrate the awards.

“New York City and London share a long tradition of theatrical productions that have transferred from Broadway to the West End and vice versa,” said Gotham Mayor Michael Bloomberg. “It doesn’t matter if you spell it ‘theater’ or ‘theatre'; musicals and plays are a top attraction for tourists, and we look forward to hosting more than a million visitors from the United Kingdom in the coming year.”

Michael Ball and Imelda Staunton, the leads in the forthcoming West End revival of Sondheim’s “Sweeney Todd,” will host the event, which will be further expanded via a free bigscreen live show relay in the Covent Garden piazza.

SOLT will announce the full list of nominees March 15. This year noms will be broadcast live online for the first time.

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