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National Theater tops Evening Standard awards

It wins in three categories; Hytner gets special nod

LONDON — The National Theater emerged triumphant at the 58th London Evening Standard Theater awards, nabbing three of the eight competitive categories plus a special award for Nicholas Hytner for his dynamic directorship of the NT.

Simon Russell Beale picked up his fourth Evening Standard Best Actor gong for his performance as Joseph Stalin in the NT preem of “Collaborators.” He first won the category in 2000 for his Hamlet, then in 2002 for his perfs in “Uncle Vanya” and “Twelfth Night” and again in 2005 for the title role in “The Philanthropist.”

Hytner beat stiff competish to win Best Director for helming a 21st century update of one of Shakespeare’s least performed plays, “Timon of Athens,” a production that also featured Russell Beale in the title role. The building also produced Antigone which, together with the Donmar Warehouse production of “Inadmissible Evidence,” won Best Design for set and costume designer Soutra Gilmour.

Also away from the West End, Hattie Morahan won Best Actress for Nora in “A Doll’s House” at the Young Vic and Lolita Chakrabarti won Most Promising Playwright for her first full-length stage play “Red Velvet,” a bio-drama about the almost forgotten nineteenth century African-American actor Ira Alrdridge, directed by incoming a.d. Indhu Rubasingham at the Tricycle Theater. Most Promising Newcomer went to actor Matthew Tennyson for his perf in Robert Holman’s trilogy “Making Noise Quietly” at the Donmar.

With all but one of the awards going to not-for-profits, the sole win for commercial theater went to the Playful Productions/Chichester Festival Theater production of Sondheim’s “Sweeney Todd.”

The competitive awards, judged by critics from national newspapers, were complimented by awards solely in the gift of the Evening Standard, its editor Sarah Sands and owner Evgeny Lebedev. Honouring the success of the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics, Danny Boyle and his team won a Beyond Theater award and Stephen Daldry, exec producer of the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, also won a special award.

There were a lifetime achievement prizes for playwright David Hare and for Judi Dench, the latter presented by Ian McKellen, and an Emerging Director award for director Simon Godwin.

The ceremony, held Sunday at the Savoy hotel, was hosted by James Corden, Tony winner for the NT’s “One Man, Two Guvnors.”

The winners are:

Best Play

“Constellations,” by Nick Payne, Royal Court

Best Director

Nicholas Hytner, “Timon of Athens,” National Theater

Best Actor

Simon Russell Beale, “Collaborators,” National Theater

Best Actress

Hattie Morahan, “A Doll’s House,” Young Vic

Ned Sherrin Award for Best Musical

“Sweeney Todd,” Playful Productions, Chichester Festival Theater, Adelphi Theater

Best Design

Soutra Gilmour, “Inadmissible Evidence,” Donmar Warehouse and “Antigone,” National Theater

Charles Wintour Award for Most Promising Playwright

Lolita Chakrabarti, “Red Velvet,” Tricycle

The Milton Shulman Award for Outstanding Newcomer

Matthew Tennyson, “Making Noise Quietly,” Donmar Warehouse

Lebedev special award

Nicholas Hytner, for his dynamic directorship of the National Theater

Editor’s award

David Hare, for his contribution to theater

Beyond Theater

Danny Boyle and his team, for the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics

Burberry award for Emerging Director

Simon Godwin

Moscow Art Theatre’s Golden Seagull Award

Judi Dench

Special Award

Stephen Daldry

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