Firstly, congratulations to Wicked, which welcomed its 5 millionth audience member last week. Stewart Lyons, who was watching the matinee on 30 March with his partner Cristina Kane, was the lucky, unexpecting theatregoer to make Wicked history. Stewart, from Kirkcaldy in Fife, said it felt “fantastic”, saying, “We loved the show and even though it is our first visit to Wicked, it won’t be our last.”
This year’s Olivier Award nominations have been announced, with the National Theatre’s hit show The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time leading the way with eight possible prizes, including Best New Play.
Simon Stephens’ adaptation is also in the running for Best Actor for Luke Treadaway, Nicola Walker for Best Supporting Actress, as well as its creative team, with nominations for director Marianne Elliott, sound designer Ian Dickinson, lighting designer Paule Constable and set designers Bunny Christie and Finn Ross.
Two other productions scoring highly in the nominations are Top Hat and The Bodyguard with seven and four nominations each. Both have received nods in the coveted Best New Musical accolade alongside Loserville and Soul Sister. The lovely Tom Chambers, star of Top Hat, fights for the Best Actor in a Musical against six-time nominated Sweeney Todd star Michael Ball; Kiss Me, Kate’s Alex Bourne; and musical theatre newcomer and star of Cabaret, Will Young. For full details, go to the Official London Theatre website. The winners will be announced at a star-studded ceremony, hosted by double Olivier Award-winner Sheridan Smith and Downton Abbey’s Hugh Bonneville, on 28 April at the Royal Opera House.
The Young Vic has announced three new productions for their Maria theatre later this year. The venue’s smaller auditorium will host Trash Cuisine, a co-production with Belarus Free Theatre; The Secret Agent co-produced with theatre O; and new David Greig play The Events between May and November this year. The three shows are linked by dark themes of political violence and terror. As if in contrast, Fevered Sleep’s acclaimed show for 3 to 5-year-olds, Brilliant, returns to the venue from 3 to 13 July, with its dreamlike world made of light.
In addition, the Soho Theatre has news of two new dramas with an international flavour as part of its summer programme. Kathrine Kressmann Taylor’s classic pre-war drama Address Unknown will be performed in a new French-and-English version in June with Belgian theatremaker Valentijn Dhaenens’ look at the manipulative nature of rhetoric, Bigmouth, following in July. The new pieces join a spring/summer line-up that includes The Life And Sort Of Death Of Eric Argyle, Verity Bargate Award winner Pastoral, and tale of returning soldiers developed with former servicemen, Glory Dazed.
Finally, Northern Broadsides critically acclaimed production of Rutherford & Son will transfer to the St James Theatre this summer. Directed by Jonathan Miller, Rutherford & Son will play at the Victoria-based theatre from 4 to 29 June with the Northern Broadsides Artistic Director Barrie Rutter in the lead role of John Rutherford.