Stones in His Pockets, Merrily We Roll Along Win Top Olivier Awards

News   Stones in His Pockets, Merrily We Roll Along Win Top Olivier Awards It has become almost a tradition at the annual Laurence Olivier awards that, of all the big winners, the National Theatre should win biggest. And, despite recent carping about failed productions and artistic director Trevor Nunn's leadership, this year — the awards' 25th — was no exception, with the National scooping a total of eight awards, four of which were for its acclaimed revival of Arthur Miller's All My Sons.

It has become almost a tradition at the annual Laurence Olivier awards that, of all the big winners, the National Theatre should win biggest. And, despite recent carping about failed productions and artistic director Trevor Nunn's leadership, this year — the awards' 25th — was no exception, with the National scooping a total of eight awards, four of which were for its acclaimed revival of Arthur Miller's All My Sons.

In fact, All My Sons surpassed all other productions with its number of wins, although the Donmar Warehouse's Merrily We Roll Along, with three wins, came close. In addition to pure numbers of statuettes, both productions claimed victories in some of the biggest categories.

All My Sons achieved a Best Actress award for Julie Walters, Best Supporting Actor for Ben Daniels and Best Director for Howard Davies as well as a Best Set Designer award for William Dudley. On accepting his award, Davies explained how the cast had grown to love Miller's script, which he described as "muscular, political and passionate.all you could want for in good writing".

Merrily meanwhile captured the major musical honors including Best Actress in a Musical for Samantha Spiro, Best Actor in a Musical for Daniel Evans and Best New Musical. The principals from the cast—Spiro and Evans along with co-star Julian Ovenden—took to the stage together to accept the last and read from "a fax from God himself," composer Stephen Sondheim, who wrote that he wished "I was there to glow in person". Evans also quipped how thrilled he was to "be a part of what must be the longest creative process in history". Originally staged in the U.S. in the 1980s, he said it had "only" taken 17 years for Merrily We Roll Along to be voted Best New Musical.

Three awards, two of them for the hit Irish two-hander Stones in His Pockets, were presented as surprises on location, in advance of today's ceremony. Author Marie Jones accepted the award for Best New Comedy at last night's performance of the play, gripping the statuette and beaming that "now we have a family heirloom for our children to fight over." Original West End stars fellow Best Actor award contenders Conleth Hill and Sean Campion, currently on tour in Toronto prior to a Broadway season, appeared via video link during which Campion presented the award to a shocked Hill, who believed they were filming a promotional video. Hill, who made his West End debut in the play, confessed that he was "absolutely gobsmacked" and went on to say that "the thing that pleases me most is knowing that so many of you [in the audience] are going who the f*** is that?"

Outstanding Musical Production went to the West Yorkshire Playhouse production, transplanted to the National's Olivier for two seasons, of Singin' in the Rain. Jude Kelly, artistic director of the West Yorkshire Playhouse, accepted the award and thanked "Trevor Nunn for recognising the work produced in regional theatre."

Despite all the hype around the major theatre-related awards, it was undoubtedly the acceptance speeches from the winners of the two dance categories who stole the show at the ceremony itself. Brazilian Deborah Colker, who won Outstanding Achievement in Dance for Mix, knelt on the stage and said a prayer before going on to thank her country and her five dogs. Meanwhile, the French Compagnie Montalvo-Hervieu, who won Best New Dance Production for Le Jardin IO IO ITO came onto the stage with a bottle of water and proceeded to, literally, gargle their acceptance speech.

The winners (in boldface) are as follows:

BEST ACTRESS
Jessica Lange for Long Day's Journey into Night at the Lyric
Helen Mirren for Orpheus Descending at the Donmar Warehouse
Julia Ormond for My Zinc Bed at the Royal Court
Harriet Walter for Life x 3 at the Lyttelton
Julie Walters for All My Sons at the Cottesloe

BEST ACTOR
Seán Campion for Stones in his Pockets at the New Ambassadors and at the Duke of York's
Conleth Hill for Stones In His Pockets at the New Ambassadors and at the Duke of York's
Michael Gambon for The Caretaker at the Comedy
Bill Nighy for Blue/Orange at the Cottesloe
Simon Russell Beale for Hamlet at the Lyttelton

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Gillian Barge for Passion Play at the Donmar Warehouse
Pauline Flanagan for Dolly West's Kitchen at The Old Vic
Catherine McCormack for All My Sons at the Cottesloe
Marcia Warren for In Flame at the New Ambassadors

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Ben Daniels for All My Sons at the Cottesloe
Chiwetel Ejiofor for Blue/Orange at the Cottesloe
Douglas Hodge for The Caretaker at the Comedy
Jason Watkins for A Servant to Two Masters at the Young Vic and now at the New Ambassadors

BEST NEW PLAY
Blue/Orange by Joe Penhall at the Cottesloe
Dolly West's Kitchen by Frank McGuinness at The Old Vic
Life X 3 by Yasmina Reza at the Lyttelton
My Zinc Bed by David Hare at the Royal Court

BEST NEW COMEDY
Cooking with Elvis by Lee Hall at the Whitehall
House/Garden by Alan Ayckbourn at the Lyttelton/Olivier
Peggy for You by Alan Plater at the Comedy
Stones in His Pockets by Marie Jones at the New Ambassadors and now at the Duke of York's

BEST NEW MUSICAL
The Beautiful Game music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, book and lyrics by Ben Elton at the Cambridge
Fosse conceived by Richard Maltby Jr, Chet Walker and Ann Reinking at the Prince of Wales
Merrily We Roll Along music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, book by George Furth, suggested by a play by George S Kaufman and Moss Hart at the Donmar Warehouse
The Witches of Eastwick book and lyrics by John Dempsey, music by Dana P Rowe based on the novel by John Updike and the Warner Brothers Motion Picture at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane

OUTSTANDING MUSICAL PRODUCTION
HMS Pinafore by Gilbert and Sullivan at the Savoy
Singin' in the Rain based on the MGM film, original choreography by Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen, screenplay and adaptation by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, songs by Nacio Herb Brown and Arthur Freed, West Yorkshire Playhouse at the Olivier
The King and I music by Richard Rodgers, book and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, at the London Palladium
The Mikado by Gilbert and Sullivan at the Savoy
The Pirates Of Penzance by Gilbert and Sullivan in a new version by Joseph Papp, musical adaptation by William Elliott, as presented on Broadway by the New York Shakespeare Festival, at the Open Air

BEST ACTOR IN A MUSICAL
Daniel Evans for Merrily We Roll Along at the Donmar Warehouse
Jimmy Johnston for The Pirates of Penzance at the Open Air
Paul Robinson for Singin' in the Rain at the Olivier
David Shannon for The Beautiful Game at the Cambridge

BEST ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL
Nicola Hughes for Fosse at the Prince of Wales
Joanna Riding for The Witches of Eastwick at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane
Samantha Spiro for Merrily We Roll Along at the Donmar Warehouse
Josie Walker for The Beautiful Game at the Cambridge

BEST SUPPORTING PERFORMANCE IN A MUSICAL
Rosemary Ashe for The Witches Of Eastwick at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane
Rebecca Thornhill for Singin' in the Rain at the Olivier
Miles Western for Pageant at the Vaudeville
Taewon Yi Kim for The King and I at the London Palladium

BEST DIRECTOR
Howard Davies for All My Sons at the Cottesloe
Michael Grandage for Passion Play at the Donmar Warehouse
Nicholas Hytner for Orpheus Descending at the Donmar Warehouse
Trevor Nunn for The Cherry Orchard at the Cottesloe and at the Olivier
Ian Talbot for The Pirates of Penzance at the Open Air

BEST THEATRE CHOREOGRAPHER
Peter Darling for Merrily We Roll Along at the Donmar Warehouse
Bob Fosse and Ann Reinking for Fosse at the Prince of Wales
Stephen Mear for Singin' in the Rain at the Olivier
Meryl Tankard for The Beautiful Game at the Cambridge

BEST SET DESIGNER
Bunny Christie for Baby Doll at the Lyttelton and then at the Albery
William Dudley for All My Sons at the Cottesloe
Rob Howell for The Caretaker at the Comedy
Brian Thomson for The King and I at the London Palladium

BEST LIGHTING DESIGNER
Howard Harrison for To The Green Fields Beyond at the Donmar Warehouse and The Witches of Eastwick at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane
Mark Henderson for All My Sons at the Cottesloe
Paul Pyant for Hamlet at the Lyttelton
Hugh Vanstone for The Cherry Orchard at the Cottesloe and The Graduate at the Gielgud

BEST COSTUME DESIGNER
Gregg Barnes for Pageant at the Vaudeville
Alison Chitty for Remembrance of Things Past at the Cottesloe
Bob Crowley for Cressida at the Albery and The Witches of Eastwick at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane
Roger Kirk for The King and I at the London Palladium

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN OPERA
Gerald Finley for his creation of the leading role in English National Opera's world premiere of The Silver Tassie at the London Coliseum
The Kirov Opera for its season at the Royal Opera House
Mark-Anthony Turnage (composer) and Amanda Holden (librettist) for creating The Silver Tassie (English National Opera), a new work for a large company on an epic scale
Stefanos Lazaridis for his designs for The Royal Opera's Greek Passion and English National Opera's daring Italian Season

BEST NEW OPERA PRODUCTION
English National Opera's Pelléas and Mélisande at the London Coliseum
English National Opera's The Coronation of Poppea at the London Coliseum
The Royal Opera's The Greek Passion at the Royal Opera House
The Kirov Opera's War and Peace at the Royal Opera House

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN DANCE
Matthew Bourne for his concept and dramatisation of The Car Man at The Old Vic
Deborah Colker for her choreography of Mix at the Barbican
Robert Parker for his performance in Birmingham Royal Ballet's Shakespeare Suite at the Royal Opera House
Michael Revie for his performance in Zurich Ballet's Mozartina at Sadler's Wells

BEST NEW DANCE PRODUCTION
NDT2's Indigo Rose at Sadler's Wells
Compagnie Montalvo-Hervieu's Le Jardin Io Io Ito Ito at the Barbican
NDT2's Mellantid at Sadler's Wells
Zurich Ballet's Mozartina at Sadler's Wells