Posted on 11 February 2024
It was a big night for A Little Life, with the four-hour adaptation of Hanya Yanagihara’s multimillion bestseller picking up acting prizes for its stars James Norton and Luke Thompson. The play which follows four friends as they navigate life in New York City, was praised for its unflinching depiction of rape and self-harm, and saw the production extended twice, ending its run at The Savoy Theatre after transferring from the Harold Pinter Theatre due to phenomenal ticket demand. Another show which saw record-breaking standing ovations at the Savoy Theatre, Sunset Boulevard, needed a wide shot, not a close up, to get all its awards in the frame.
Jamie Llyod’s minimalist production of the classic musical took centre stage at last night ceremony, scooping up an impressive seven wins, including Best Perfomer in a Musical for former Pussycat Doll, Nicole Scherzinger. Scherzinger’s performance as Norma Desmond saw her receive multiple standing ovations throughout the show in addition to the curtain call, and earned her the Evening Standard Award for Best Musical Performance late last year.
Llyod, who has recently announced his latest project with Tom Holland, picked up the Best Direction award for his ‘radical rework’ of the 1950s film. The bold reimagining closed in the will be making its Broadway transfer later this year after it’s sold out run in the West End.
In addition to Best Direction and Best Performer in a musical, the show also swept the board in the technical categories, winning seven of the nine prizes it was nominated for, but was beaten in the best musical revival category by Bridge Theatre's immersive take on Guys & Dolls.
Stranger Things: The First Shadow, took a well-earned break from fighting other-worldly creatures to take home the award for Best New Play, with Vanya, a one-man adaptation of Chekhov’s classic starring Andrew Scott, was named Best Play Revival.
Sex Education and Living star, Aimee Lou Wood won the Best Takeover Performance title for her role as Sally Bowles in the multi award-winning phenomenon, Cabaret. Huge stars have taken on this role since the production opened at the Playhouse back in 2021, with Self Esteem (Rebecca Lucy Taylor) currently in the bowler hat before passing it on to Cara Delevingne on the 11th March.
Jack Wolfe, who will be reprising his role in Next To Normal when the critically acclaimed musical makes its West End transfer in June this year, picked up the award for Best Supporting Performer in a Musical.
The winners of the WhatsOnStage awards were chosen by theatregoers in a public vote, which has run annually since 2008. The full list of winners can be found below:
- Best West End Show– Cabaret
- Best New Musical- Operation Mincemeat
- Best Musical Revival- Guys & Dolls
- Best New Play- Stranger Things: The First Shadow
- Best Play Revival– Vanya
- Best Performer in a Musical- Nicole Scherzinger, Sunset Boulevard
- Best Performer in a Play- James Norton, A Little Life
- Best Supporting Performer in a Musical- Jack Wolfe, Next to Normal
- Best Supporting Performer in a Play- Luke Thompson, A Little Life
- Best Direction- Jamie Lloyd, Sunset Boulevard
- Best Professional Debut Performance- Grace Hodgett Young, Sunset Boulevard
- Best Takeover Performance- Aimee Lou Wood, Cabaret
- Best off-West End Production- Love Never Dies in Concert
- Best Regional Production- The Lord of the Rings, The Watermill Theatre
- Best Musical Direction/Supervision- Alan Williams, Sunset Boulevard
- Best Choreography- Matt Cole, Disney's Newsies
- Best Costume Design- Ryan Dawson Laight, La Cage aux Folles
- Best Lighting Design- Jack Knowles, Sunset Boulevard
- Best Set Design- Bunny Christie, Guys & Dolls
- Best Sound Design- Adam Fisher, Sunset Boulevard
- Best Video Design- Nathan Amzi and Joe Ransom, Sunset Boulevard
- Best Graphic Design- Muse Creative, Guys & Dolls
- Best Casting Direction- Jill Green, The Little Big Things