Jude Law, Rachel Weisz, Sir Ian McKellen, Sir Patrick Stewart, Rowan Atkinson and X-Factor star Diana Vickers scooped prestigious theatre awards this week, voted for by the public in record numbers. Theatregoers voted online for their favourites across 26 different categories between December 2009 and January 2010. There was a record 46,000 voters who took part which was 11,000 more than the previous record set last year for the 2008 awards.
The Royal Shakespeare Company’s rival production of Hamlet, headed by former Doctor Who star David Tennant, was also a winner. Sir Patrick Stewart picked up two awards – best supporting actor in a play for playing scheming ruler Claudius in Hamlet and theatre event of the year award, shared with Sir Ian McKellen (X-Men) for Waiting for Godot.
Oliver! picked up three awards; the best Musical Revival category, Rowan Atkinson (Blackadder, Mr Bean) winning best actor in a musical for Fagin and Jodie Prenger (I’d Do Anything winner) receiving the best supporting acress in a musical award for her portrayal of Nancy.
Rowan Atkinson’s acceptance video told how he had tackled the role with some trepidation, having never sung in a musical before.
“This is absolutely great. I’m genuinely very pleased and very touched.
“When I embarked on this journey to play the part of Fagin in Oliver!, I did so with a degree of apprehension.
“I hadn’t been on the West End stage in 20 years and I had never sung in a musical – well, I’d never sung really.
“So it was quite a scary time, and what made it all possible was the warmth and accommodation and tolerance of the company of the production of Oliver!, all those actors, the adults and the children, and our directors and choreographers and designers, and, in particular, our director Rupert Goold for being so helpful to someone who was stepping with such trepidation into the project.
“Also, of course, the warmth and accommodation and tolerance of the audience who kindly came to see us.
“As this is more than anything an audience award – and the audience in the end, I think, is the most important element in any theatrical event – it really means something.
“So I’d like to thank you all sitting there very much indeed, but I’d also like to thank mostly all those who voted for me, and all those real people who spent real money to come and see the show. Thank you.”
Best West End show was taken by Wicked, which just won a very close vote with War Horse which was was the only play nominated in this category. Wicked is now in its 4th year at the Apollo Theatre in London and has been visited by over 2.5 million people, and taken over