Opinion: Reaction to the WhatsOnStage Awards 2017

This year’s awards was a great night for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which won eight awards at last night’s ceremony. 

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Hosted by the wonderfully funny Vikki Stone and Simon Lipkin, the 2017 WhatsOnStage Awards was a chance to celebrate a year’s worth of theatre as voted by the public, enhanced by live performances from the casts of Dreamgirls, School of Rock, Aladdin, The Girls, Sunset Boulevard and Half a Sixpence.

Here is a list of who won what:

Best Actor in a Play: Jamie Parker, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. It must have been a huge amount of pressure to know you are going to play a character beloved by millions around the world, yet Jamie Parker’s performance as Harry Potter successfully reveals how his past still torments him.

Best Actress in a Play: Billie Piper, Yerma: revisiting the role back at the Young Vic this year, Billie Piper’s performance received critical and audience acclaim – suggesting that it is getting a well deserved return to the Young Vic.

Best Actor in a Musical: Charlie Stemp, Half a Sixpence: when the list of nominations came up – right then there was no question of who would win this award. Charlie Stemp’s performance in Half a Sixpence has been amazing audiences since it opened at the Noel Coward Theatre. A well deserved win.

Best Actress in a Musical: Amber Riley, Dreamgirls: when watching Dreamgirls at the Savoy Theatre I have never witnessed so many standing ovations throughout the show. Amber Riley’s performance is strong vocally and has plenty of attitude in terms of her character – a delightful win for her.

Best Supporting Actor in a Play: Anthony Boyle, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: thanks to his performance in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, there is no question that Anthony Boyle is a rising star in the world of theatre –  so who knows what he is going to do next.

Best Supporting Actress in a Play: Noma Dumezweni, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child:  landing the role of Hermione shortly after her acclaimed performance in Linda at the Royal Court Theatre, her performance as Hermione has also been acclaimed and enjoyed by audiences for approaching the character in her own unique way.

Best Supporting Actor in a Musical: Trevor Dion Nicholas, Aladdin: this was a really great win considering the strength of the category and it is never easy to take a role made famous by someone else and make it your own – yet Trevor Dion Nicholas manages to with plenty of flair.

Best Supporting Actress in a Musical: Emma Williams, Half a Sixpence: in one of the best speeches of the evening, Emma Williams chose to share her award with all the backstage crew, showing respect towards everyone in the industry.

Best New Play: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: even if you don’t know much about the Harry Potter franchise, there is plenty for audiences to enjoy – not least the story that has plenty of twists and turns as well as a sense of nostalgia. Brilliantly imaginative and a joy to watch.

Best New Musical: School of Rock: based on the hit film, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s latest musical is surprisingly endearing and heartwarming with a pulsating score that has you singing along whether you want to or not!

Other awards presented include:

Best Play Revival: No Man’s Land

Best Musical Revival: Funny Girl

Best Direction: John Tiffany, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child 

Best Choreography: Andrew Wright, Half a Sixpence 

Best Costume Design: Gregg Barnes, Aladdin

Best Set Design: Christine Jones, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child 

Best Lighting Design: Neil Austin, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child 

Best Video Design: Finn Ross and Ash Woodward, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child 

Best Off- West End Production: The Last Five Years, St James Theatre

Best Regional Production: The Girls

Best West End Show: For the first time in the awards history, voting was a tie between Les Miserables and Wicked.