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Tony Awards tonight

June 13, 2010 

The annual Tony Awards will be announced tonight, Sunday 13 June 2010, at Radio City Music Hall in New York.

Sean Hayes, presenting this year's Tony awards

The star-studded event will be hosted by Sean Hayes, best known as Jack from Will & Grace and currently starring in Promises, Promises on Broadway.

The awards, the most important in the US arts calendar, will feature performances from current Broadway shows including American Idiot, Fela!, Memphis, Million Dollar Quartet, La Cage aux Folles, A Little Night Music and Ragtime. Star presenters will include Katie Holmes, Will & Jada Pinkett Smith, Angela Lansbury, Mark Sanchez, Daniel Radcliffe, Barbara Cook, Stanley Tucci, Idina Menzel and Laura Bell Bundy!

Other appearances and performances will include Glee’s Lea Michele and Matthew Morrison, Paula Abdul, Antonio Banderas, Cate Blanchett, Kristin Chenoweth, Michael Douglas, Scarlett Johansson, Lucy Liu, Helen Mirren, Chris Noth, Bernadette Peters, Raquel Welch and David Hyde Pierce, who will receive a special Tony Award and is slated to appear in London next month in La Bete at the Comedy Theatre.

Shows up for awards this year include a revival of August Wilson’s Fences starring Denzel Washington (10nominations); Broadway musical Fela! (11 nominations) – and which makes its UK premiere at the National Theatre in November; and nods for a number of high-profile Hollywood stars including Christopher Walken (Behanding in Spokane), Liev Schreiber (A View From The Bridge), and Scarlett Johansson (A View from the Bridge).

Glee's Lea Michele rehearsing on Friday for the Tony Awards

Recent Broadway musical The Addams Family starring Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth, failed to find favour with the Tony awards committee, scoring only two nominations – best original score and best supporting actor in a musical for Kevin Chamberlin.

UK creatives or shows have garned 28 nominations this year. The Menier Chocolate Factory in South London will be awaiting news on two of its successful productions that have transferred to Broadway and received 15 Tony nominations:  La Cage Aux Folles opened at the Longacre Theatrein April to enormous critical acclaim. The show features original London star Douglas Hodge and US actor Kelsey Grammer, both of whom have been nominated in the best actor in a musical category. In total the show has picked up 11 nominations, including best revival of a musical, scenic design (Tim Shortall), costume design  (Matthew Wright),  lighting design (Nick Richings), sound design (Jonathan Deans), direction (Terry Johnson), choreography (Lynne Page), orchestrations (Jason Carr) and best supporting actor (Robin De Jesus).

Also A Little Night Music, which started life at the Menier in 2008 before transferring to the Garrick theatre in the West End, opened on Broadway at the Walter Kerr theatre in December 2009. It has picked up 4 nominations, including competing against La Cage in the best musical revival category, and nods for Catherine Zeta-Jones (best actress in a musical), Angela Lansbury (best supporting actress in a musical), and sound design (Dan Moses Schreier and Gareth Owen).

Douglas Hodge and Kelsey Grammer in La Cage Aux Folles

Other nominated UK shows include the Donmar Warehouse’s transfer of Red which enjoys 7 nominations including best play, best actor for Alfred Molina, best supporting actor for Eddie Redmayne, and best scenic design (Christopher Oram), lighting design (Neil Austin), sound design (Adam Cork) and direction (Michael Grandage). The Donmar production of Hamlet sees a nod for Jude Law and best lighting design of a play for Neil Austin. And the Royal Court’s production of Enron, which failed on Broadway but continues to sell well in London is nominated for best original score (music by Adam Cork and lyrics by Lucy Prebble), best supporting actor for Stephen Kunken, best sound design (Adam Cork) and best lighting design (Mark Henderson). Also veteran UK actress Rosemary Harris also received a best supporting nod for The Royal Family and one of the UK’s greatest living playwrights, Alan Ayckbourn, will receive a lifetime achievement award.

US viewers can watch the awards on CBS from 8pm ET. Selected countries are also airing the awards over the next week, although not in the UK. TonyAwards.com will only be featuring live footage of the red carpet arrivals and Creative Arts Awards from 6pm until 8pm ET.

See a list of Tony Award 2010 nominations here

www.tonyawards.com

Dave Willets cast in Aspects of Love

June 9, 2010 

Musical theatre veteran Dave Willets has been cast as George in the new Menier Chocolate Factory production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Aspects of Love.

With book and lyrics by Don Black and Charles Hart, Aspects of Love will see the return of director Trevor Nunn to the Menier after his enormous success with A Little Night Music, currently starring Catherine Zeta-Jones and Angela Lansbury on Broadway. Nunn also directed the original West End production of the show in 1989 at the Prince of Wales Theatre.

Willets has worked with Trevor Nunn before, notably playing Jean Val Jean in Nunn’s RSC production of Les Miserables at the Palace Theatre. He is also no stranger to Andew Lloyd Webber’s work having covered most major roles including the Phantom in The Phantom of the Opera at Her Majesty’s, Jesus in Jesus Christ Superstar at the Barbican, Old Deuteronomy in Cats and was Olivier award nominated for his recent performance as Max von Mayerling in Sunset Boulevard at the Comedy Theatre. Other roles include Major Lee in Someone Like You at the Strand Theatre, Zero Janvier in Tim Rice’s Tycoon, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde in Jekyll, Adam Pontipee in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Julian Marsh in 42nd Street and numerous national and international concert tours.

Joining Willets will Michael Arden and Katherine Kingsley in the lead roles of Alex and Rose, alongside Rosalie Craig as Giulietta, Martyn Ellis as Marcel, Rebecca Brewer as Jenny, and Jill Armour, Louisa Lydell, Ian McLarnon, David Roberts, Savannah Stevenson, Dominic Tighe and Rebecca Trehearn.

The Andrew Lloyd-Webber musical will premiere at the venue from7 July, with designs by David Farley, choreography by Lynne Page, lighting by Paul Pyant, musical supervision by Caroline Humphris, orchestrations by David Cullen and sound by Gareth Owen.

The show is based on David Garnett’s novel and tells the story of passion, love and loss across three generations of a family and their companions set against the background of 1940’s France and Italy.  Alex Dillingham, a young student travelling through France, falls in love with the alluring actress Rose Vibert.  As the pair embark on a passionate affair, the unexpected arrival of Alex’s uncle changes their lives forever.  A love story spanning twenty years binding six people and three generations as they come to appreciate that love changes everything.

Young American actor Michael Arden has appeared in Big River and The Times They Are A-Changing on Broadway, and off Broadway productions of Swimming in the Shallows, Bare, Ace, God of Vengeance, As You Like It, The Winter’s Tale and The Secret Garden.  TV roles include Bones, Numbers and Grey’s Anatomy.

UK actress Katherine Kingsley is currently starring in the UK tour of The 39 Steps, and other credits include Piaf (Olivier Award nomination), The Truth Will Out, The Black and White Ball, Hobson’s Choice, High Society and The Canterbury Tales. On-screen work includes The Bill, Hollyoaks and Casualty.

Book tickets to Aspects of Love at the Menier Chocolate Factory

La Cage dominates Tony nominations

May 7, 2010 

The UK’s Menier Chocolate Factory has scored another hit with its production of La Cage Aux Folles – this time on Broadway.

La Cage Aux Folles starring Douglas Hodge and Kelsey Grammer

The small South London arts venue has dominated this year’s Tony Awards nominations – with a total of 15 nods. Its musical productions of Jerry Herman’s La Cage Aux Folles and Stephen Sondheim’s A Little Night Music have both garnered multiple nominations for their Broadway transfers.

La Cage Aux Folles premiered at the Chocolate Factory in 2008 before transferring the Playhouse Theatre in London, and opened at the Longacre Theatre on Broadway last month to enormous critical acclaim.

The show features original London star Douglas Hodge and US actor Kelsey Grammer, both of whom have been nominated in the best actor in a musical category. In total the show has picked up 11 nominations, including best revival of a musical, scenic design (Tim Shortall), costume design  (Matthew Wright),  lighting design (Nick Richings), sound design (Jonathan Deans), direction (Terry Johnson), choreography (Lynne Page), orchestrations (Jason Carr) and best supporting actor (Robin De Jesus).

A Little Night Music, which started life at the Menier in 2008 before transferring to the Garrick theatre in the West End, opened on Broadway at the Walter Kerr theatre in December 2009. It has picked up 4 nominations, including competing against La Cage in the best musical revival category, and nods for Catherine Zeta-Jones (best actress in a musical), Angela Lansbury (best supporting actress in a musical), and sound design (Dan Moses Schreier and Gareth Owen).

Catherine Zeta Jones and Angela Lansbury in A Little Night Music

Overall, it has been a successful year for the UK on Broadway, with a total of 28 nominations going to UK creatives. Other celebrated UK shows include the Donmar Warehouse’s transfer of Red which enjoys 7 nominations including best play, best actor for Alfred Molina, best supporting actor for Eddie Redmayne, and best scenic design (Christopher Oram), lighting design (Neil Austin), sound design (Adam Cork) and direction (Michael Grandage).

The Donmar also saw its production of Hamlet garner a best actor nod for Jude Law and best lighting design of a play for Neil Austin.

The Royal Court’s production of Enron, which transferred to Broadway but was not well received and has closed early at the Broadhurst Theatre, was nominated for best original score (music by Adam Cork and lyrics by Lucy Prebble), best supporting actor for Stephen Kunken, best sound design (Adam Cork) and best lighting design (Mark Henderson). Enron is currently playing to strong audiences in London at the Noel Coward Theatre.

Veteran UK actress Rosemary Harris also received a best supporting nod for The Royal Family and one of the UK’s greatest living playwrights, Alan Ayckbourn, will receive a lifetime achievement award.

Other big hitters nominated this year include a revival of August Wilson’s Fences starring Denzel Washington (10 nominations); Broadway musical Fela! (11 nominations) – and which makes its UK premiere at the National Theatre in November; and nods for a number of high-profile Hollywood stars including Christopher Walken (Behanding in Spokane), Liev Schreiber (A View From The Bridge), and Scarlett Johansson (A View from the Bridge).

Recent Broadway musical The Addams Family starring Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth, failed to find favour with the Tony awards committee, scoring only two nominations – best original score and best supporting actor in a musical for Kevin Chamberlin.

The 64th awards will be presented on 13 July in New York.

See a list of Tony Award 2010 nominations here

WOS Theatregoers Choice Awards – the results

February 16, 2009 

It was a good night for Shakespeare yesterday at the Whatsonstage Theatregoers Choice awards, held at the Prince of Wales theatre in London.

There were a number of awards for the Donmar’s Othello, including Best Shakespearan production, best director for Michael Grandage and best supporting actor for Tom Hiddleston. Also the RSC’s Hamlet received gongs for best regional production and theatre event of the year – to celebrate David Tennant’s performance and return to the stage.

As is often the case with awards chosen by the public, the spread of shows and talent was very wide, ranging from awards for musicals La Cage Aux Folles, West Side Story and Jersey Boys, to plays Under the Blue Sky, Fat Pig and The Female of the Species.

Kenneth Branagh must also be particularly delighted to have received best actor for Ivanov after being passed over by the Olivier Awards panel.

Othello – Donmar West End. Photograph: Tristram Kenton

The winners

Best Actress in a Play – Katy Stephens – The Histories, RSC at the Roundhouse

Best Actor in a Play – Kenneth Branagh – Ivanov, Donmar West End at Wyndham’s

Best Supporting Actress in a Play – Sophie Thompson – The Female of the Speciesat the Vaudeville

Best Supporting Actor in a Play – Tom Hiddleston – Othello at the Donmar Warehouse & Ivanov, Donmar West End at Wyndham’s

Best Actress in a Musical – Sofia Escobar – West Side Story at Sadler’s Wells

Best Actor in a Musical – Ryan Molloy – Jersey Boys at the Prince Edward

Best Supporting Actress in a Musical – Tracie Bennett – La Cage aux Folles at the Playhouse

Best Supporting Actor in a Musical – Stephen Ashfield – Jersey Boys at the Prince Edward

Best Solo Performance – Eddie Izzard – Stripped at the Lyric

Best Ensemble Performance – Into the Hoods – at the Novello

Best Takeover in a Role – Daniel Boys – Avenue Q at the Noël Coward

Best New Play – Under the Blue Sky by David Eldridge – at the Duke of York’s

Best New Comedy – Fat Pig by Neil LaBute – at Trafalgar Studios & the Comedy

Best New Musical – Jersey Boys by Bob Gaudio, Bob Crewe, Rick Elice & Marshall Brickman – at the Prince Edward

Best Play Revival – Ivanov, Donmar West End – at Wyndham’s

Best Musical Revival – West Side Story – at Sadler’s Wells

The Best Shakespearean Production – Othello – at the Donmar Warehouse

Best Director – Michael Grandage – Othello & The Chalk Garden at the Donmar Warehouse & Ivanov, Donmar West End at Wyndham’s

Best Set Designer – Klara Zieglerova – Jersey Boys at the Prince Edward

Best Lighting Designer – Malcolm Rippeth – Brief Encounter at The Cinema, Haymarket & Six Characters in Search of an Author at the Gielgud

Best Choreographer – Lynne Page – La Cage aux Folles at the Menier Chocolate Factory & Playhouse

London Newcomer of the Year – Josh Hartnett – Rain Man at the Apollo

Best Off-West End Production – Come Dancing – at Theatre Royal Stratford East

Best Regional Production – Hamlet – RSC at the Courtyard Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon

Theatre Event of the Year – David Tennant returning to the stage in Hamlet for the RSC

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