New York Theatre Guide congratulates the winners of the 2019 Olivier Awards
Come From Away, Company and The Inheritance win big at London Theatre's grandest night of the year...
Last night the brightest and best of London's West End gathered at the Royal Albert Hall for The Olivier Awards 2019 to celebrate the most critically acclaimed productions and performances of the past year. Attended by HRH the Duchess of Cornwall, who also presented this year's Special Recognition Award to Sir Matthew Bourne for his contributions to Dance, the evening was a regal, classy affair from the get-go as British Soul and West End star Beverley Knight opened the show with the UK's National Anthem (and would later return to perform "Memory" from Cats during the "In Memoriam" segment of the show in honor of the late choreographer Dame Gillian Lynne). Other performances during the ceremony included all seven musicals nominated in either the "Best New Musical" or "Best Musical Revival" categories, as well as a special 20th Anniversary performance by the West End cast of Disney's The Lion King.
The New York Theatre Guide would like to congratulate all the winners from across the pond, especially the West End premiere of Come From Away and Marianne Elliott's gender-switched revival of Company, who both managed to take home four Oliviers each last night.
Broadway legend Patti LuPone gave an emotional speech about her acceptance in the London theatre community after winning in the category of "Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Musical" - her first Olivier Award win since 1985 - for her performance as Joanne in Company, which also picked up the awards for "Best Musical Revival," "Best Set Design," and "Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Musical" for Jonathan Bailey. After also switching the character of Amy to Jamie, Bailey thanked Stephen Sondheim in his acceptance speech for agreeing to the switch and thereby updating the 1970 musical with the inclusion of an LGBT storyline.
Come From Away was arguably the biggest winner of the night, taking home the award for "Best New Musical" (presented by Latin Pop superstar Gloria Estefan) against stiff competition from the likes of Tina: The Tina Turner Musical, Fun Home, and the British crowdpleaser Six. It also won in the categories of "Outstanding Achievement in Music," "Best Sound Design," and "Best Theatre Choreographer" (for Kelly Devine).
As for the plays, the West End production of The Inheritance - a two-part, six-and-a-half-hour epic about a post-AIDS generation of young homosexuals in New York - dominated the evening with four wins, including "Best New Play," "Best Lighting Design," "Best Director" (for Stephen Daldry), and "Best Actor" for Kyle Soller, originally from Bridgeport, Connecticut. Soller was possibly one of a couple of surprise victories from last night, beating Sir Ian McKellen in his category, who had earned rave reviews for his turn in King Lear.
The biggest and yet most-desrved suprise win of the night came during the hotly contested category of "Best Actress in a Musical," as West End veteran Sharon D. Clarke upset Tina's Adrienne Warren, Company's Rosalie Craig and The King and I's Kelli O'Hara, following her extraordinary performance in Caroline, or Change.
Aside from the Duchess of Cornwall, other well-known names in attendance last night included Ian McKellen, Vanessa Redgrave, Tom Hiddleston, Kelsey Grammer, Richard E. Grant, Sally Field, Bill Pullman, Gillian Anderson, and Pasek and Paul, making for a truly star-studded event across the pond, which culminated in a special performance from Sir Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake.
(Come From Away photo by Matthew Murphy / Company photo by Brinkhoff Mogenburg)