AIDS drama Angels In America wins Best Revival at Olivier Awards 2018
Angels in America, the landmark play about the AIDS epidemic, has won the Olivier Award for Best Revival.
The National Theatre epic beat off competition from tap dance musical 42nd Street, Stephen Sondheim musical Follies and Leanard Bernstein musical On The Town to secure the award.
Angels In America director Marianne Elliott seemed shocked at the win, despite the show’s huge critical success.
She said: “Who knew? It’s an extraordinary play. I honestly didn’t plan anything as I thought all of the other nominees were definitely going to win. I’m amazed and pleased.”
“I was the last person that should have directed this piece, but he [Tony Kusher] let me do it. Tony carried me through it.
“Our first day of rehearsals was Trump’s first day of office. The play seems ever more relevant. It’s about the ostracised, the lonely.
“In theatre people never talk to each other, but at Angels In America they were hugging each other – and that’s to do with Tony Kushner. Thank you so much.”
Angels In America was written by Tony Kushner and documented the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s with sureal and fantastical storytelling.
The two-part play, which has also won the Tony Award for Best Play, is a complex, often dreamlike and symbolic take on the epidemic, centring on a gay couple living in Manhattan.
The National Theatre play, which starred Andrew Garfield, closed last year after a critically successful run.
Elsewhere, it was a disappointing night for teen drag musical Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, which had been nominated for 5 Olivier Awards, including Best Actress for Josie Walker and Best Actor for John McCrea who plays lead Jamie.
The other nominations were for Outstanding Achievement in Music for Dan Gillespie Sells of The Feeling, who wrote the score and Katie Prince for Best Choreographer.
The show was also nominated for Best New Musical.
On the red carpet Jamie lead John McCrea told PinkNews he was surprised to be nominated. “It’s incredible,” he said.
“I’m trying not to think about it too much because if I do I’ll just go insane.”
Everybody’s Talking About Jamie recounts the real-life story of Jamie Campbell, a 16-year-old who wanted to go to his school prom in a dress.
Jamie suffers from the same problems as everyone else – family tensions, and a struggle to find his feet as a young man, but he is never afraid to be openly gay.
The musical, which is booking until October in London, is heavily rumoured to be transferring to Broadway in the fall.
However, the musical failed to pick up a gong in a night that was dictated by US hip hop musical Hamilton.
Hamilton walked away with 7 awards in total, including Best New Musical, Best Actor in a Musical, Outstanding Achievement in Music and Best Supporting Actor.
Hamilton also won Best Sound Design, Best Lighting Design and Best Theatre Choreographer.
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In terms of the night’s big awards wins, Bryan Cranston won Best Actor for media satire Network which ran at the National Theatre.
In a passionate ode to the British theatre industry, he said: “Thank you to audiences for welcoming me into the London community. I am grateful to work in theatre in a country where the government supports the arts as a necessary element to achieve happiness & health.”
And Pearl Mackie later presented the Best Actress award to Laura Donnelly, who said: “My mind is blown. I’d like to thank Jez. You showed the most immense faith in me.”
Sam Mendes won the award for Best Director for The Ferryman, still playing at the Gielgud Theatre.
Related topics: Theatre