Ian McKellen, Andrew Scott, Sharon D. Clarke Triumph at U.K.’s Olivier Awards

Naman Ramachandran
·4 min read

The beleaguered U.K. theater scene, devastated by the coronavirus pandemic, had some reason for cheer as the annual Olivier awards were presented on Sunday.

Veteran actor Ian McKellen was honored with his seventh Olivier for his 80th birthday tour, while Sharon D. Clarke received her third, winning best actress for her performance in the Young Vic’s “Death Of A Salesman.” The production also received a further accolade, with Marianne Elliott and Miranda Cromwell winning the Sir Peter Hall best director award.

“We must know what our incredible industry brings not only to the coffers, but to the soul of our nation,” Clarke said. “Keep the faith people. We will be back.”

“Present Laughter” at The Old Vic won two awards, with “Fleabag” star Andrew Scott winning best actor and Indira Varma winning best supporting actress, her first Olivier.

“Dear Evan Hansen” and “& Juliet” won three awards each. “Dear Evan Hansen” won the Mastercard best new musical award, while composers Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, together with orchestrator Alex Lacamoire, won best original score or new orchestrations. Best actor in a musical went to Sam Tutty in his first leading role.

Miriam-Teak Lee won best actress in a musical for “& Juliet” and her fellow actors Cassidy Janson won best actress in a supporting role in a musical, and David Bedella received his third Olivier, winning best actor in a supporting role in a musical.

The winners were announced in an ITV program filmed at The London Palladium, and on Official London Theatre’s YouTube channel. The presentation was hosted by Jason Manford. Lyricist Don Black received a special award from Andrew Lloyd Webber and Camilla Parker-Bowles, the Duchess of Cornwall, who gave an impassioned speech about the importance and resilience of theater.

“Those of us who believe in the theater also believe in its resilience,” the Duchess said. “It is a cornerstone of a fertile cultural life, a forum for debate, and a powerful means of building community.”

“I should like to thank those of you whose profession is in the theater for your determination and your flexibility.” the Duchess added. “Please remain resilient — we need you and we have missed you.”

Most theaters across the U.K. remain closed due to the pandemic. The country is experiencing its second wave of COVID-19, recording 19,790 new cases on Sunday and 151 more deaths.

Established in 1976, the Olivier awards are run by Society of London Theater.

Full list of Olivier Awards 2020 winners:

Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Musical
David Bedella for “& Juliet” at Shaftesbury Theatre

Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Musical
Cassidy Janson for “& Juliet” at Shaftesbury Theatre

Best Original Score or New Orchestrations
“Dear Evan Hansen” – Music and Lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, Orchestration by Alex Lacamoire at Noël Coward Theatre

Best New Dance Production
“Ingoma” by Mthuthuzeli November for Ballet Black at Royal Opera House – Linbury Theatre

Outstanding Achievement in Dance
Sara Baras for her choreography and performance in “Ballet Flamenco – Sombras” at Sadler’s Wells

Noël Coward Award for Best Entertainment or Comedy Play
“Emilia” at Vaudeville Theatre

Best Theatre Choreographer
Matthew Bourne and Stephen Mear for “Mary Poppins” at Prince Edward Theatre

Magic Radio Best Musical Revival
“Fiddler On The Roof” at Playhouse Theatre

Best Actor in a Musical
Sam Tutty for “Dear Evan Hansen” at Noël Coward Theatre

Best Actress in a Musical
Miriam-Teak Lee for “& Juliet” at Shaftesbury Theatre

Cunard Best Revival
“Cyrano De Bergerac” at Playhouse Theatre

Best Family Show
“The Worst Witch” at Vaudeville Theatre

Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre
“Baby Reindeer” at Bush Theatre

White Light Award for Best Lighting Design
Paule Constable for “The Ocean At The End Of The Lane” at National Theatre – Dorfman

Royal Albert Hall Award for Best Sound Design
Emma Laxton for “Emilia” at Vaudeville Theatre

Best Costume Design
Joanna Scotcher for “Emilia” at Vaudeville Theatre

Blue-I Theatre Technology Award for Best Set Design
Bob Crowley for “Mary Poppins” at Prince Edward Theatre

Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Adrian Scarborough for “Leopoldstadt” at Wyndham’s Theatre

Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Indira Varma for “Present Laughter” at The Old Vic

Best New Opera Production
“Billy Budd” at Royal Opera House

Outstanding Achievement in Opera
The Children’s Ensemble for their performance in “Noye’s Fludde” at Theatre Royal Stratford East

Best Actor
Andrew Scott for “Present Laughter” at The Old Vic

Best Actress
Sharon D. Clarke for “Death Of A Salesman” at Young Vic and Piccadilly Theatre

Sir Peter Hall Award for Best Director
Marianne Elliott and Miranda Cromwell for “Death Of A Salesman” at Young Vic and Piccadilly Theatre

American Airlines Best New Play
“Leopoldstadt” at Wyndham’s Theatre

Mastercard Best New Musical
“Dear Evan Hansen” at Noël Coward Theatre

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