The West End production of Legally Blonde was named Best New Musical, with star Sheridan Smith, who played Elle Woods, named Best Actress in a Musical, and Jill Halfpennny, who played Paulette, winning the award for Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical.
Here is a look at the red carpet arrivals, winner's circle and after-party:
2011 Olivier Award Coverage; Red Carpet and Winner's Circle
Another American import, Bruce Norris' Clybourne Park, took the honor for Best New Play. Originally produced at New York City's Playwrights Horizons, it is currently running in a different production at the West End's Wyndham's Theatre after premiering at the Royal Court last year. The National Theatre's production of Terence Rattigan's rarely seen After the Dance took awards for Best Revival, Best Actress in a Play (Nancy Carroll), Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Adrian Scarborough) and Best Costume Design (Hildegard Bechtler). The National also scored three wins for its production of Bulgakov's The White Guard, with Howard Davies, Bunny Christie and Neil Austin winning in the categories for best director, set and lighting design respectively.
Last summer's Open Air Theatre, Regent's Park production of Sondheim and James Lapine's Into the Woods also took the award for Best Musical Revival. David Thaxton, who starred as Giorgio in another Sondheim revival last year, Passion at the Donmar Warehouse, was named Best Actor in a Musical. The annual Society of London Theatre Special Award, chosen by the board of the Society of London Theatres, was presented to Stephen Sondheim by Sir Cameron Mackintosh and Angela Lansbury, who flew to London specially for the occasion. The finale of the evening was a tribute to the composer-lyricist which included Adrian Lester and Angela Lansbury — the latter singing on a London stage for the first time in many years — joined by 360 students from national drama schools performing "Our Time."