2021 Best Actress in a Play + in a Musical

Best Actress in a Play

Sophie Melville, Mum 
There’s something about being completely wrong-footed by a production that is truly exciting. Though Mum had put its cards on the table, the sheer intensity of Melville’s utterly committed performance as a new mother completely swept me up as we raced headlong to that rug-pull. A performance (and a show) worthy of more attention.

Honourable mention: Cush Jumbo, Hamlet 
If another Hamlet wasn’t necessarily what I was most excited for, the return of Jumbo to the UK stage was worth the wait, calling back to her days at the Royal Exchange as well as showing us all how intelligent an actor she is becoming.

Ronkẹ Adékoluẹjo, Lava
Jessie Buckley, Romeo and Juliet
Julie Hesmondhalgh, Still Life
Lesley Sharp, Paradise

Best Actress in a Musical

Sutton Foster, Anything Goes 
And to think we were meant to have Megan Mullally…  No disrespect at all to Karen Walker but the breathless 10 minute song and dance routine that closes the first act is just spectacular and matched with the way Foster commands the stage, as a true Broadway diva, this was one of the highlights of the year.

Honourable mention: Linzi Hateley, Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
The song might say that any dream will do but for me, the return of ‘the’ narrator after 30 years was the tops. A real full circle moment and a truly special, unmatchable afternoon in the theatre.

Samantha Barks/Stephanie McKeon, Frozen
Jessie Buckley, Cabaret
Carly Mercedes Dyer, A Chorus Line
Alex Young, She Loves Me

fosterIAN awards 2021

 WinnerRunner-upOther nominees
Best Actress in a PlaySophie Melville, MumCush Jumbo, HamletRonkẹ Adékoluẹjo, Lava
Jessie Buckley, Romeo and Juliet
Julie Hesmondhalgh, Still Life
Lesley Sharp, Paradise
Best Actor in a Play
Omari Douglas/Russell Tovey, ConstellationsBen Daniels, The Normal HeartCharles Edwards, Best of Enemies
Dickon Farmar, Gay Generations
Josh O'Connor, Romeo and Juliet
Jack Sunderland, DJ Bazzer’s Year 6 Disco
Best Supporting Actress in a PlayAyesha Dharker, The Book of DustNorah Lopez Holden, HamletLiz Carr, The Normal Heart
Deborah Findlay, Romeo and Juliet
Anastasia Hille, Paradise
Gloria Obianyo, Paradise
Best Supporting Actor in a PlayDino Fetscher, The Normal HeartPip Carter, The Book of DustSyrus Lowe, Best of Enemies
Daniel Monks, The Normal Heart
Lucian Msamati, Romeo and Juliet
Luke Norris, The Normal Heart
Best Actress in a MusicalSutton Foster, Anything GoesLinzi Hateley, Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor DreamcoatSamantha Barks/Stephanie McKeon, Frozen
Jessie Buckley, Cabaret
Carly Mercedes Dyer, A Chorus Line
Alex Young, She Loves Me
Best Actor in a MusicalEddie Redmayne, CabaretNoel Sullivan, The RhythmicsDeclan Bennett, Carousel
Adam Cooper, Singin' in the Rain
Scott Mackie, The Off Key
David Thaxron, She Loves Me
Best Supporting Actress in a Musical
Carly Mercedes Dyer, Anything GoesVictoria Hamilton-Barritt & Rebecca Trehearn, CinderellaEmily Barnett-Salter, A Chorus Line
Kaisa Hammarlund, She Loves Me
Joanna Riding, Carousel
Best Supporting Actor in a MusicalAinsley Hall Ricketts, A Chorus LineRobert Lindsay, Anything GoesStewart Clarke, Be More Chill
Andy Coxon, She Loves Me
Elliot Levey, Cabaret
Obioma Ugoala, Frozen

2021 What’s On Stage Award nominations

The nominations for the 22nd Annual WhatsOnStage Awards have been announced 

Voting is open now, closing on Friday 21 January 2022, with the winners being announced at the awards ceremony on Sunday 27 February 2022. Write-in votes for Sutton Foster should be sent forthwith.

BEST PERFORMER IN A MALE IDENTIFYING ROLE IN A MUSICAL
Roger Bart – Back to the Future the Musical, Manchester Opera House & Adelphi Theatre
Olly Dobson – Back to the Future the Musical, Manchester Opera House & Adelphi Theatre
Arinzé Kene – Get Up, Stand Up! The Bob Marley Musical, Lyric Theatre
Julian Ovenden – South Pacific, Chichester Festival Theatre
Eddie Redmayne – Cabaret, Playhouse Theatre – Kit Kat Club
Ivano Turco – Cinderella, Gillian Lynne Theatre

BEST PERFORMER IN A FEMALE IDENTIFYING ROLE IN A MUSICAL
Aimie Atkinson – Pretty Woman, Piccadilly Theatre & Savoy Theatre
Samantha Barks – Frozen, Theatre Royal Drury Lane
Jessie Buckley – Cabaret, Playhouse Theatre – Kit Kat Club
Carrie Hope Fletcher – Cinderella, Gillian Lynne Theatre
Beverley Knight – The Drifters Girl, Garrick Theatre
Stephanie McKeon – Frozen, Theatre Royal Drury Lane Continue reading “2021 What’s On Stage Award nominations”

News: new musical theatre record label launched

Neil O’Brien Entertainment Launches Westway Music – a new musical theatre record label based in London whose initial signings include Samantha Barks, Ramin Karimloo, Kerry Ellis & Lee Mead

Westway Music is a new music and film platform dedicated to the music of theatre, from London’s West End through to New York’s Broadway and beyond. Formed by Neil O’Brien, the label has so far signed musical theatre stars Kerry Ellis, Ramin Karimloo, Samantha Barks, Lee Mead, Joe Stilgoe and Cassidy Janson.

The label launches on November 12th with the release of Frozen star Samantha Barks’ brand-new studio album Into The Unknown. Covering songs from Broadway, West End and film musicals alike and with a couple of duets thrown in for good measure, it’s bound to be a corker, especially if her accomplished debut is anything to go by. Continue reading “News: new musical theatre record label launched”

Review: Frozen, Theatre Royal Drury Lane

Samantha Barks and Stephanie McKeon bring Elsa and Anna magically to life in the show-stopping Frozen, playing now at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane

“There’ll be actual real live people
It’ll be totally strange”

Let’s be honest, you already know whether you’re going to see Frozen or not, there’s nothing any review could say that will change your mind. Such was the enormity of Disney’s 2013 juggernaut of a success, anchored by the ubitiquity of its signature song ‘Let It Go’, the only surprise it that is has taken this long to arrive as a musical.

As it was, we can blame Covid for its delayed opening here (and perhaps also its premature closing on Broadway), but Michael Grandage’s fine production is bracingly fresh in the retooled Theatre Royal Drury Lane, accompanied by Christopher Oram’s breathtaking scenic design, a raft of ‘how-did-they…’ special effects from Jeremy Chernick and of course, some lung-busting songs. Continue reading “Review: Frozen, Theatre Royal Drury Lane”

Book Review: Dear Audience

Just a quickie for this as the book is almost sold out now, but Sophie Ross and Danny Kaan’s coffee-table book Dear Audience is such a beautiful book that I’d encourage you to go and purchase one of the few remaining copies. Striving to photographically celebrate the arts industry from a wide range of performers through producers, MDs and writers, it is a nicely high-quality publication that matches that aim. 

In the interest of fairness, I can’t pick favourites from the many many names featured here, just look at the tags to see the impressive roll-call. What really elevates the book though is the inclusion of heartfelt letters from some of the participants, adding a really personal note to the whole endeavour, reminding us of the personal cost of the pandemic alongside what it has done to the sector as a whole. Track down those last copies now.

News: musicals coming to the screen soon

In The Heights

Due to arrive on 25th June, Jon M Chu’s film of In The Heights, based on Lin-Manuel Miranda and Quiara Alegría Hudes’s vibrant musical, tells the story of a Hispanic-American community threatened by gentrification. The film stars, among others, Anthony Ramos, Leslie Grace, Dascha Polanco, Stephanie Beatriz, Corey Hawkins, Melissa Barrera and Lin-Manuel Miranda predictably makes an appearance, though as Piragüero not Usnavi. Continue reading “News: musicals coming to the screen soon”

News: I Dare You – Charity Single To Be Released on 16 March

The Make A Difference Trust today announce the release of the charity single I Dare You. The track featuring a host of stars of the West End stage will be released on Tuesday 16 March 2021, to mark the anniversary of the day UK Theatres went dark in 2020.

With an appeal by Vanessa Williams, raising funds for the MAD Covid-19 Emergency relief Fund, singing together for the first time are Aimie Atkinson, Samantha Barks, Sharon D Clarke, Kerry Ellis, Shaun Escoffery, Shanay Holmes, Francesca Jackson, Cassidy Janson, Aisha Jawando, Tosh Wanogho-Maud, Jamie Muscato, Eva Noblezada, Natalie Paris, Jay Perry, Louise Redknapp, Oliver Tompsett, Faye Tozer, Sally Ann Triplett, Rachel Tucker, Marisha Wallace and Layton Williams. Continue reading “News: I Dare You – Charity Single To Be Released on 16 March”

News: updates for Frozen in the West End.

With so much uncertainty still blighting the West End, Frozen the Musical has announced that it is taking tickets offsale and postponing its premiere until a new timetable can be confirmed. But to sweeten the pill, they’ve also revealed the final members of their company.

Chris Fung and Kerry Spark will join the already announced cast, led by Samantha Barks (Elsa) and Stephanie McKeon (Anna), as well as Obioma Ugoala (Kristoff), Craig Gallivan (Olaf), Oliver Ormson (Hans), Richard Frame (Weselton), and alternating the role of Sven, Mikayla Jade and Ashley Birchall. Continue reading “News: updates for Frozen in the West End.”