Olivier Awards: Top Prizes Go to Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and Groundhog Day
Going in, U.K.’s Olivier Awards, handed out yesterday at London’s Royal Albert Hall, looked to be a Harry Potter-dominated affair. It turned out to be true. On the West End’s biggest theater occasion, John Tiffany’s smash two-part production of J.K. Rowling’s book Harry Potter and the Curse Child led the pack with a record-breaking 11 nominations. It won nine: Best New Play, Director, Best Actor – Jamie Parker, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Costumes, Design, Lighting, and Sound.
It arrives for its Broadway debut next Spring at Ambassador Theatre Group’s Lyric Theatre, which will undergo massive renovations upon the close of Cirque du Soleil’s Paramour – one major redo will be relocating the entrance to 43rd Street.
Tiffany was twice blessed with director nominations for Harry Potter… and the revival of The Glass Menagerie, starring Best Actress nominee Cherry Jones.
In the musical category, the stage adaptation of the 1993 film Groundhog Day, which has a huge cult following, by Tim Minchin and Danny Rubin (book) picked up eight nominations. It took trophies for Best New Musical and Best Actor – Andy Karl, who’s reprising his role here. The show is in previews for its opening today [April 17].
The much-belated London premiere of Henry Krieger and Tom Eyen classic musical Dreamgirls landed five nominations, with Amber Riley (Glee) named Best Actress for her powerhouse turn as Effie. It also scored a Supporting Actor win.
Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Jesus Christ Superstar received six nominations, and took the award for Best Musical Revival, for a highly-acclaimed production in Regent’s Park, being revived again this summer.
After a 25-year absence from the stage, Glenda Jackson earned her first nomination since 1984 as King Lear in the play of the same name. Ian McKellen picked up his 10th nomination for best actor for No Man’s Land, reprising a role he played on Broadway.
Other notable U.S. nominees included Glenn Close and Ed Harris.
Best New Play
Elegy – Nick Payne
The Flick – Annie Baker
* Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – Jack Thorne, John Tiffany, and J.K. Rowling One Night in Miami – Kemp Powers
Glenda Jackson, King Lear
Cherry Jones, The Glass Menagerie
* Billie Piper, Yerma
Ruth Wilson, Hedda Gabler
Ed Harris, Buried Child
Tom Hollander, Travesties
Ian McKellen, No Man’s Land
* Jamie Parker, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Best Supporting Actress
The ensemble of Melissa Allan, Caroline Deyga, Kirsty Findlay, Karen Fishwick, Kirsty MacLaren, Frances Mayli McCann, Joanne McGuinness, and Dawn Sievewright, Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour
* Noma Dumezweni, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Clare Foster, Travesties
Kate O’Flynn, The Glass Menagerie
Best Supporting Actor
* Anthony Boyle, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Freddie Fox, Travesties
Brian J Smith, The Glass Menagerie
Rafe Spall, Hedda Gabler
Best New Comedy
The Comedy about a Bank Robbery – Henry Lewis, Henry Shields, and Jonathan Sayer
Nice Fish – Mark Rylance and Louis Jenkins
* Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour – Lee Hall
The Truth – Florian Zeller
Best Play Revival
The Glass Menagerie – Tennessee Williams
This House – James Graham
Travesties – Tom Stoppard
* Yerma – Federico Garcia Lorca
Best New Musical
Dreamgirls – Henry Krieger and Tom Eyen
The Girls – Gary Barlow
* Groundhog Day – Tim Minchin and Danny Rubin
School of Rock – Andrew Lloyd Webber, Glenn Slater, and Julian Fellowes
Best Actress, Musical
Glenn Close, Sunset Boulevard
The ensemble of Debbie Chazen, Sophie-Louise Dann, Michele Dotrice, Claire Machin, Claire Moore, and Joanna Riding, The Girls
* Amber Riley, Dreamgirls
Sheridan Smith, Funny Girl
Best Actor, Musical
David Fynn, School of Rock
Tyrone Huntley, Jesus Christ Superstar
* Andy Karl, Groundhog Day
Charlie Stemp, Half a Sixpence
Best Supporting Actress, Musical
Haydn Gwynne, The Threepenny Opera
Victoria Hamilton-Barritt, Murder Ballad
* Rebecca Trehearn, Show Boat
Emma Williams, Half a Sixpence
Best Supporting Actor, Musical
Ian Bartholomew, Half a Sixpence
* Adam J Bernard, Dreamgirls
Ben Hunter, The Girls
Andrew Langtree, Groundhog Day
Simon Stone, Yerma
* John Tiffany, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Matthew Warchus, Groundhog Day
Outstanding Achievement in Music
Henry Krieger and Tom Eyen’s Dreamgirls
Imogen Heap, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Jesus Christ Superstar – “The band and company creating the gig-like rock vibe of the original concept album”
* Andrew Lloyd Webber, Glen Slater’s School of Rock – “Three children’s bands, playing instruments live at every performance”
The Oliviers are produced/presented by the Society of London Theater. For a complete list of nominations and winners, visit www.OlivierAwards.com.
Ellis Nassour is an Ole Miss alum and noted arts journalist and author who recently donated an ever-growing exhibition of performing arts history to the University of Mississippi. He is the author of the best-selling Patsy Cline biography, Honky Tonk Angel, as well as the hit musical revue, Always, Patsy Cline. He can be reached at ENassour@aol.com.