Ejiofor, Tyzack, Wilton, Grandage and More Win Evening Standard Theatre Awards
By Mark Shenton
The Donmar Warehouse, which had received the most nominations of any single theatre company, led the field at this year's Evening Standard Theatre Awards, winning awards for four of its six nominees.
The Pitmen Painters took the award for Best Play; for playwright Lee Hall, it follows on the heels of the triumphant Broadway opening of Billy Elliot, which he also scripted (both onstage and in its prior film incarnation). The Ned Sherrin Award for Best Musical went to a production of Kurt Weill's Street Scene, co-produced by the Young Vic, Opera Group and Watford Palace Theatre, that ran at the Young Vic for just five performances.
The Young Vic also saw American playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney take the Charles Wintour Award for Most Promising Playwright for The Brothers Size and In the Red and Brown Water that both received their British premieres there; the playwright is also about to be represented in London by the Royal Court premiere of his play Wig Out!
The Milton Shulman Award for Outstanding Newcomer went to Ella Smith for her performance in Neil LaBute's Fat Pig at the Trafalgar Studios and subsequently the Comedy; and Neil Murray took the award for Best Design for his work on Brief Encounter (in Kneehigh's production at the Cinema Haymarket).
There were two additional awards. Kevin Spacey took a special award for bringing new life to the Old Vic, accepting his award by video from a film set, where he commented he was working "to pay for my theatre habit." Veronica Wadley, the Evening Standard's editor who chaired the judging panel, made a special editor's award to the Royal Shakespeare Company for its epic cycle of history plays, seen at the Roundhouse. The award was presented by David Tennant, currently playing the title role of Hamlet for the company, who said, "I'm here because Michael Boyd has done such amazing things with the Royal Shakespeare Company. It's a company I feel very strongly about and I have great links to so I am delighted to be able to present this."
The full list of nominees and winners, marked in bold, are shown here:
BEST ACTRESS (tie)
THE NED SHERRIN AWARD FOR BEST MUSICAL
THE SYDNEY EDWARDS AWARD FOR BEST DIRECTOR
THE MILTON SHULMAN AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING NEWCOMER
THE CHARLES WINTOUR AWARD FOR MOST PROMISING PLAYWRIGHT
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