This year’s London Evening Standard Theatre Awards long-list of nominees has been announced.
The nominees cover some of the most high-profile of this year’s West End shows with a starry list of performers, directors and playwrights alongside some serious new talent. The Royal Court scores particularly highly with a range of acting and creative nods – including four nominations for Clybourne Park.
The shortlist of nominees will be announced a week prior to the awards ceremony, which will be held this year on 28 November at the newly reopened Savoy Hotel. The judging panel for the awards includes theatre critics Henry Hitchings of the Standard, Charles Spencer of the Telegraph, Susannah Clapp of the Observer, Georgina Brown of the Mail on Sunday and Matt Wolf of the Herald Tribune. Chair will be Evgeny Lebedev, who is chairman of the Standard and also the son of the proprietor Alexander Lebedev.
In terms of musicals it’s a good list for Sir Cameron Mackintosh who sees his 25th anniversary production of Les Misérables tapped, plus his West End transfer of Broadway hit of Hair – which closed after a relatively short run at the Gielgud Theatre. Also listed is the Menier’s Sweet Charity at the Theatre Royal Haymarket, which is about to close on 6 November, alongside long-runner Legally Blonde at the Savoy and current critical success Passion at the Donmar Warehouse.
In the Best Actor category up-and-coming stars such as Benedict Cumberbatch and Rory Kinnear are matched alongside established heavy-weights, from Roger Allam and Jonathan Pryce to David Suchet and Simon Russell Beale, the later for his turns in the National’s London Assurance and current West End hit Deathtrap. Alfred Molina also gets a nod for the Donmar’s Red after losing out at the Tony’s to co-star Eddie Redmayne.
Best Actress nominees feature a range of talent from high-profile crowd-pleasers that will guarantee plenty of red carpet coverage (Keira Knightley, Gemma Arterton, Sheridan Smith) to hard-hitters Judi Dench, Zoe Wannamaker and Fiona Shaw.
Best Plays feature both boxing shows to have played in London this year – Beautiful Burnout by Bryony Lavery at the York Hall and Sucker Punch by Roy Williams at the Royal Court. It’s a big awards for the Court who also get nods for Cock by Mike Bartlett, Clybourne Park by Mike Bartlett and Posh by Laura Wade.
Director nods feature a who’s who of current hitmakers, ticking pretty much every director box including Howard Davies, Rupert Goold, Michael Grandage, Nicholas Hytner, and director of the moment Thea Sharrock. Also Dominic Cooke gets a well-deserved nod for Clybourne Park, which transfers from the Royal Court to the West End in January.
Lez Brotherston is a notable inclusion in the Designer category with four of his productions credited: The Rise and Fall of Little Voice at the Vaudeville, Measure for Measure at the Almeida, Women Beware Women at the National and Design for Living at the Old Vic.
Most Promising Playwright nominees pay tribute to the Royal Court’s progressive programme of nurturing new writing talent, with 3 playwrights nominated: DC Moore for The Empire, Anya Reiss for Spur of the Moment and Nick Payne for Wanderlust. Equally impressive is the Bush, which is once again proving to punch well above its weight, with James Graham for The Whisky Taster, Nick Payne (again) for If There Is I Haven’t Found It Yet and Penelope Skinner for Eigengrau all nominated.
The Outstanding Newcomer category is dominated by onstage talent, with a surprise nod to the Spice Girls’ Melanie Chrisholm for her much-praised stint in Blood Brothers, alongside upstarts including Laura Dos Santos for Educating Rita, Henry Lloyd-Hughes for Rope and Posh, and Simon Godwin for his direction, and Isabella Laughland and James Musgrave for their performances, in the Royal Court’s Wanderlust.