The most popular West End actors over the past two decades were named this week by the Theatregoers' Club of Great Britain, in an awards ceremony held at the Cafe Royal in London to celebrate the club's 21st anniversary. Top honors went to Tom Conti and Dame Judi Dench for most popular actor and actress respectively. Conti was seen most recently in last year's production of John Dowie's one-man show Jesus My Boy while Dench's last two productions -- Filumena for the Peter Hall company and the National Theatre production of David Hare's Amy's View -- have both been big draws.
Ruthie Henshall, star of Crazy for You, She Loves Me and, most recently, Chicago at the Adelphi, was awarded most popular musical actress, while Michael Ball, star of Les Miserables, Aspects of Love and Phantom of the Opera, received most popular musical actor.
Most popular comedy performance went to Stephanie Cole for her role in A Passionate Woman. And veteran stage star Dulcie Gray accepted an award on behalf of herself and her late husband, Michael Denison, for most popular stage partnership in recognition of the pair's lifetime of achievement in co-starring roles.
Founded in 1978, the Theatregoers' Club has some 15,000 members. Awards were determined by adding up the sales of excursion packages to different shows in the West End since the club's foundation.