Welcome to today’s edition of ShentonSTAGE.
Oliviers — snubs and surprises
It’s always said that the honour is being nominated at all; in artistic endeavour, it should be a competition anyway. But what about those who are not nominated at all? Where does that leave them?
Yesterday’s announcement of this year’s nominations for the Olivier Awards saw a serious snub for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s CINDERELLA, excluded from every category except for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical (Victoria Hamilton-Barritt) — so it was cut out of the Best Musical category, whose entries instead included only one show with an original score, BACK TO THE FUTURE (though even that includes a pop hit from the film).
LLoyd Webber and his lyricist David Zippel were also excluded from the category for Best Original Score or new orchestrations, which saw only BACK TO THE FUTURE featuring an original score for a musical but the other three nominations going for score for a play (LIFE OF PI) or orchestrations for ANYTHING GOES and GET UP, STAND UP!
Also overlooked Carrie Hope Fletcher, the headline star of CINDERELLA, who already won the publicly-nominated and voted WhatsOnStage Award for Best Performer in a Female Identifying Role in a Musical. On the other hand, Sutton Foster — missed out of the WhatsonStage nominees in that category — is Olivier nominated, along with Jessie Buckley for CABARET, Beverley Knight for THE DRIFTERS GIRL and Stephanie McKeon for FROZEN (but not her co-star Samantha Barks).
I’m otherwise most pleasantly surprised by the inclusion of Jack Holden’s CRUISE in the Best New Play category, which had been presented as part of the Nimax’s Rising Stars initiative of offering its theatres to producers new to the West End after lockdown ended, and most unpleasantly surprised by 2:22 A GHOST STORY joining it — it may be returning for its third West End run soon, but that doesn’t make it a good play. (At least the category is likely to be won by Lolita Chakrabarti’s adaptation of THE LIFE OF PI, with James Graham’s BEST OF ENEMIES also being nominated).
Mind you, three West End runs for the drag extravaganza DEATH DROP haven’t secured it a place on the Oliviers nominations list; though its producer Christopher Clegg and its writer Holly Stars are predictably aggrieved, the first tweeting and the other replying to him:
(An amusing sidenote: Clegg’s adopted Twitter handle is a quote of mine; I ill-advisedly referred to him as such in an e-mail to the press agent who handles his company’s publicity — and she bizarrely passed it on to him! But I’m glad he is now celebrating it).
More egregiously overlooked is the Open Air Regent’s Park revival of CAROUSEL, which was my favourite musical revival of 2021, but fails to be nominated in a category that only has three entries (the all-conquering CABARET, ANYTHING GOES and the Almeida’s SPRING AWAKENING, the latter of which also deserved more of a showing in the nominations than this solitary entry). From CAROUSEL, I’d have also liked to have seen a nomination for Joanna Riding’s supporting performance as Nettie Fowler (she’d previously won the Olivier for playing Julie Jordan in the National’s CAROUSEL in 1993), and also for Tom Deering’s thrilling orchestrations.
Still, awards are like that; you don’t always get the nominations, let alone the winners, you’d like. The winners will be announced in a ceremony being held this year at the Royal Albert Hall on Sunday April 10.
SOME SHOW ANNOUNCEMENTS
While my Twitter feed provides announcements of new productions as they are made, and will subsequently be incorporated into my rolling feature of openings in the West End, selected regional theatres and Broadway that you can find here, I’m also going to draw your attention to them here:
- The revised 2013 Broadway version of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s 1950s television musical CINDERELLA to receive its UK premiere at Manchester’s Hope Mill Theatre from Nov 1-Dec 11, press night Nov 6. Press contact: Kate Goerner <KateGoernerPR@outlook.com>
- ANOTHER AMERICA by Bill Rosenfield, inspired by Dan Austin’s documentary TRUE FANS, to receive world premiere at Park Theatre 90 from April 6-30, press night April 7. Press contact: Emma Berge <email@example.com>
- Disney’s NEWSIES is to receive UK professional premiere at TROUBADOUR WEMBLEY PARK from Nov 28, directed & choreographed by Matt Cole. It was originally seen on Broadway in 2012; it received its British premiere in a student production at ArtsEd that starred Jac Yarrow in 2019 (pictured below); he went on to make his professional debut in the title role of JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT at the London Palladium later the same year! Press contact: Alexandra Buchanan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
SEE YOU ON FRIDAY
If you can’t wait that long, I can also be found regularly on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/ShentonStage/