×

‘Matilda’ triumphs at Olivier Awards

Hit musical breaks record with seven kudos at London's annual event

Hotly-tipped hit “Matilda — the Musical” won seven Olivier Awards including the top musical laurel, breaking the record for the biggest number of wins in the history of London’s annual legit kudofest.

Nommed in ten categories, the Royal Shakespeare Company production’s haul beats the record of six wins for a single production set in 1980 by the same company with its production “Nicholas Nickleby.”

Matilda — The Musical,” now at the West End’s Cambridge Theater and skedded for 2013 Broadway berth, won actor in a musical (Bertie Carvel), set (Rob Howell, his third Olivier), choreography (Peter Darling, his second), sound (Simon Baker) and actress in a musical shared by the four young actresses in the title role: Cleo Demetriou, Kerry Ingram, Sophia Kiely and Eleanor Worthington-Cox. The last of these, age ten, becomes the youngest ever winner of an Olivier. “Matilda” also won the director prize for helmer Matthew Warchus, who was presented with the laurel by James Earl Jones via a live link to a Gotham Olivier reception.

It was also a good night for helmer Rob Ashford (Broadway’s “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying”). His Donmar Warehouse production of “Anna Christie” beat stiff competish to win the revival title while his leading lady, Ruth Wilson, picked up the actress trophy for her performance in the title role. Wilson previously won the 2010 supporting actress Olivier for her perf in Ashford’s “A Streetcar Named Desire.”

Meanwhile, Ashford’s production of “Shrek the Musical” netted the award for perf in a supporting role in a musical for Nigel Harman as villain Lord Farquaad.

There was further repeat business for Regent’s Park Open Air Theater, whose musical revival award for “Crazy For You” (helmed by a.d. Timothy Sheader) marked the venue’s third consecutive win in the category. The transfer of its 2011 winner “Into The Woods,” helmed by Sheader and Liam Steel, begins a run at Gotham’s Shakespeare in the Park in July.

“Crazy For You” also picked up the costume award for Peter McKintosh.

The surprise of the night was that the National’s “One Man, Two Guvnors” failed to convert any of its five noms. However, it lost out in the play category to another National Theater drama, “Collaborators,” the stage debut of screenwriter John Hodge (“Shallow Grave,” “A Life Less Ordinary.”) And, as widely expected, the actor award went to the National’s double-act of Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller, who nightly swapped the roles of creature and creator in “Frankenstein.” That show also scored the lighting kudo for designer Bruno Poet.

Solo act Derren Brown won his second entertainment Olivier for “Derren Brown æ Svengali,” (returning to the West End July 12-Aug. 11), and Sheridan Smith built on her 2011 actress in a musical award for “Legally Blonde” with a supporting actress win for her dramatic turn in the Terence Rattigan play “Flare Path.”

Other shows that went away empty-handed include Matthew Warchus’s tuner production of “Ghost” (whose Broadway transfer is currently previewing at the Lunt-Fontanne) and “The Ladykillers,” which had received five noms apiece.

The evening also saw special awards for Dame Monica Mason, outgoing director of the Royal Ballet, and lyricist Sir Tim Rice, whose contribution to theater was celebrated with perfs by led by Maria Friedman, Siobhan McCarthy, Elaine Paige and the cast of “The Lion King.” The BBC Radio 2 audience award for most popular show went to “Les Miserables” in its 25th anniversary year.

The 36th Olivier awards, presented by the Society of London Theater, were hosted for the second year running by Michael Ball and Imelda Staunton and held for the first time at the Royal Opera House. Coincidentally, the house was also the venue for “The Metamorphosis,” which bagged the achievement in dance award for Royal Ballet dancer Edward Watson. Both opera awards, however, went to rival English National Opera.

And the winners are:

Musical

“Matilda — The Musical,” Cambridge Theater

Mastercard Best Play

John Hodge, “Collaborators,” National Theater

Revival

Rob Ashford, “Anna Christie,” Donmar Warehouse

Actress

Ruth Wilson, “Anna Christie”

Actor

Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller, “Frankenstein,” National Theater

Director

Matthew Warchus, “Matilda — The Musical”

Choreographer

Peter Darling, “Matilda — The Musical”

Actor in a Musical

Berte Carvel, “Matilda — the Musical”

Actress in a Musial

Cleo Demetriou, Kerry Ingram, Sophia Kiely and Eleanor Worthington Cox, “Matilda – The Musical”

Entertainment

“Derren Brown: Svengali,” Shaftesbury

Performance in a Supporting Role

Sheridan Smith, “Flare Path,” Theater Royal Haymarket

Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical

Nigel Harman, “Shrek — The Musical,” Theater Royal Drury Lane

Musical Revival

“Crazy For You,” Regent’s Park Open Air

Lighting

Bruno Poet, “Frankenstein”

XL Video Award Best Set

Rob Howell, “Matilda — The Musical”

Costume

Peter McKintosh, “Crazy For You”

Sound

Simon Baker, “Matilda — The Musical”

Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theater

“Roadkill,” Theater Royal, Stratford East in association with the Barbican and Traverse Theater

New Opera Production

English National Opera’s “Castor and Pollux,” London Coliseum

Outstanding Achievement in Opera

English National Opera for the breadth and diversity of its artistic program

Outstanding Achievement in Dance

Edward Watson for his performance in “The Metamorphosis,” Linbury Studio, Royal Opera House

New Dance Production

“DESH,” Akram Khan Company, Sadler’s Wells,

BBC Radio 2 Olivier Audience Award

Les Miserables

Special Awards

Monica Mason

Tim Rice

More Legit

  • the way she spoke review

    Off Broadway Review: 'The Way She Spoke' With Kate del Castillo

    Since the 1990s, scores of women in Juarez, Mexico have been mutilated, raped, and murdered at such a rate that some have called it an epidemic of femicide—killing women and girls solely because they are women. Isaac Gomez’s play “the way she spoke,” produced Off Broadway by Audible and starring Kate del Castillo, confronts the [...]

  • HBO's 'SUCCESSION

    Brian Cox Playing LBJ in Broadway Run of 'The Great Society'

    Brian Cox will play President Lyndon Johnson in the Broadway run of “The Great Society,” playwright Robert Schenkkan’s follow-up to “All the Way.” The role of Johnson, a crude, but visionary politician who used the office of the presidency to pass landmark civil rights legislation and social programs, was originally played by Bryan Cranston in [...]

  • Paul McCartney Has Penned Score for

    Paul McCartney Has Been Secretly Writing an 'It's a Wonderful Life' Musical

    The pop superstar who once released a movie and album called “Give My Regards to Broad Street” really does have designs on Broadway, after all. It was revealed Wednesday that Paul McCartney has already written a song score for a stage musical adaptation of the 1946 Frank Capra film classic “It’s a Wonderful Life.” The [...]

  • The Night of the Iguana review

    West End Review: 'The Night of the Iguana' With Clive Owen

    If Tennessee Williams is the poet laureate of lost souls, none of his characters as are off-grid as the restless travelers trying to make it through his little-seen 1961 play, “The Night of the Iguana.” Holed up in a remote Mexican homestay, its ragtag itinerants live hand-to-mouth, day by day, as they seek refuge from [...]

  • Moulin Rouge Broadway

    Listen: The Special Sauce in Broadway's 'Moulin Rouge!'

    There are songs in the new Broadway version of “Moulin Rouge!” that weren’t in Baz Luhrmann’s hit movie — but you probably know them anyway. They’re popular tunes by superstars like Beyoncé, Adele and Rihanna, released after the 2001 movie came out, and they’ll probably unleash a flood of memories and associations in every audience [...]

  • Greta Gerwig and Oscar Isaac

    Greta Gerwig and Oscar Isaac to Star in Anton Chekhov's 'Three Sisters' Adaptation

    Greta Gerwig and Oscar Isaac are taking on an adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s “Three Sisters” for New York Theatre Workshop in Manhattan. The company announced on Tuesday that they will feature two final performances to round out the 2019 to 2020 season, including the Chekhov play. “Three Sisters” will be directed by Tony award-winning Sam [...]

  • montreal just for laughs Comedy Festival

    Montreal's Just for Laughs Festival Is the 'Coachella of Comedy'

    Every summer, Montreal becomes the epicenter of the comedy world as the Just for Laughs Comedy Festival takes over the Canadian city. Now in its 37th year, the mindboggling scale of the festival is there in the numbers: more than 1,600 artists from across the globe (speaking English, French and other languages) performing 250 shows [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content