Productions from the Royal National Theatre took the lion's share of the design categories in this year's Olivier Awards, presented February 23 at London's Lyceum Theatre.
In the set design category, William Dudley (a past EDDY Award winner) won for All My Sons, one of the smash hits of the Royal National season. The production is set to transfer to the West End. Dudley beat Bunny Christie, nominated for Tennessee Williams' Baby Doll, also produced at the National; Rob Howell nominated for The Caretaker; and Brian Thomson nominated for the revival of The King and I. Thomson's design was seen in New York in 1996, and profiled in Entertainment Design's predecessor, TCI.
Alison Chitty won for costume design for the Royal National production of Remembrance of Things Past, a staged adaptation of Harold Pinter's screenplay based on Marcel Proust's classic cycle of novels. Chitty's competition included American designer Gregg Barnes for Pageant (another design seen in New York, nearly ten years ago); Bob Crowley for two productions, Cressida and The Witches of Eastwick; and Roger Kirk for The King and I.
The ubiquitous Hugh Vanstone won in the lighting category for the Royal National revival of The Cherry Orchard and for the notorious West End revival of The Graduate (in which a number of middle-aged celebrities, including Kathleen Turner and Jerry Hall, have shed their clothing). Losers included Howard Harrison for two productions, To the Green Fields Beyond and The Witches of Eastwick; Mark Henderson for All My Sons; and Paul Pyant for the Royal National revival of Hamlet.
Vanstone's work has been seen in New York this season with the Off Broadway hit The Unexpected Man. He will design two Broadway shows this spring, the Roundabout Theatre Company revival of Follies and the new musical entertainment Blast!
The Oliviers do not give an award for sound design.
Best New Play went to Blue/Orange, another Royal National winner. Best New Comedy was Stones in His Pocket, scheduled to open on Broadway April 1. And Best New Musical was a real stretch, at least for the "new" part. The winner was the Stephen Sondheim-George Furth musical Merrily We Roll Along, staged on Broadway in 1981 but not seen in London until now. The latter beat out the new musicals The Witches of Eastwick and Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Beautiful Game.
The full list of winners includes Best New Musical: Merrily We Roll Along. Book by George Furth, music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Produced by the Donmar Warehouse.
The BBC Award for Best Play: Blue/Orange, by Joe Penhall. Produced by the Royal National Theatre.
Best New Comedy: Stones in His Pockets, by Marie Jones. Produced in the West End.
Outstanding Musical Production: Singin' in the Rain, based on the Betty Comden and Adolph Green film. Music and lyrics by Arthur Freed and Herb Nacio Brown. Produced by the West Yorkshire Playhouse and the Royal National Theatre.
Best Actress: Julie Walters, All My Sons. Produced by the Royal National Theatre.
Best Actor: Conleth Hill, Stones in His Pockets.
Best Supporting Actress: Pauline Flanagan, Dolly West's Kitchen. Produced by the Old Vic.
Best Supporting Actor: Ben Daniels, All My Sons.
Best Actress in a Musical: Samantha Spiro, Merrily We Roll Along.
Best Actor in a Musical: Daniel Evans, Merrily We Roll Along
Best Supporting Performance in a Musical: Miles Western, Pageant. Produced in the West End.
Best Director: Howard Davies, All My Sons.
Best Theatre Choreographer: Bob Fosse, Ann Reinking, Fosse. Produced in the West End.
Best Set Designer: William Dudley, All My Sons.
Best Costume Designer: Allison Chitty, Remembrance of Things Past. Produced by the Royal National Theatre.
Best Lighting Designer: Hugh Vanstone, The Cherry Orchard (produced by the Royal National Theatre) and The Graduate (produced in the West End).
Outstanding Achievement in Opera: The Silver Tassie, produced by English National Opera. Mark-Anthony Turnage (composer) and Amanda Holden (librettist).
Best New Opera Production: The Greek Passion, produced by Royal Opera House.
Outstanding Achievement in Dance: Mix, choreographed by Deborah Colker.
Best New Dance Production: Le Jardin Io Io Ito Ito, staged by Compagnie Montalvo-Hervieu.