Broadway-bound 'Sunset Boulevard' and star Nicole Scherzinger win big at London's Olivier awards (2024)

LONDON (AP) — A radical restaging of Hollywood film noir musical “Sunset Boulevard” was the big winner on Sunday at the London stage Olivier Awards, taking seven trophies including best musical revival and best actress for American star Nicole Scherzinger.

Soccer-themed state-of-the-nation drama “Dear England” was named best new play, while Sarah Snook and Mark Gatiss were among the acting winners.

Scherzinger was rewarded for her performance as fading silver screen star Norma Desmond in a flashy revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Sunset Boulevard,” three decades after the musical’s 1990s debut. Her co-star Tom Francis won the corresponding best actor prize as a struggling screenwriter fatefully drawn into Desmond’s orbit.

Jamie Lloyd took the directing trophy for the technically innovative production, which melds live video with the onstage action and also won Oliviers for sound and lighting design. It’s due to open in New York later this year, and Lloyd predicted it would “take Broadway by storm.”

Scherzinger said that when she was growing up in Kentucky, “I always wanted to be a singer and do musicals.”

“I dreamed of so many roles I wanted to do — and honestly this role, Norma Desmond, was not one of those roles,” she said. “But God works in mysterious ways.”

The prize for best new musical went to “Operation Mincemeat,” a word-of-mouth hit based on an audacious real-life espionage operation that deceived the Nazis during World War II. The show began life in a tiny theater in 2019 and has moved to progressively larger venues, gathering accolades along the way.

“Stranger Things: The First Shadow,” a dazzlingly staged prequel to the Netflix supernatural series, was named best new entertainment or comedy.

The Oliviers — the U.K. equivalent of Broadway’s Tony Awards — are celebrating a bumper year for new shows in the West End, finally bouncing back from the COVID-19 pandemic. Several winners lamented the soaring cost of theater tickets, and cuts to arts education that are squeezing working-class talent out of theatrical careers and theater audiences.

“If you don’t tell a kid to go and see a show … they’re not going to develop that habit, they’re not going to get that experience,” said “Dear England” playwright James Graham, who grew up in a small mining town. “So I am really worried.”

But the mood was largely celebratory as “Ted Lasso” star Hannah Waddingham presided over an exuberant ceremony at London’s Royal Albert Hall, opening the show by belting out “Anything Goes” alongside the London Community Gospel Choir. The show was peppered with performances from several of the nominated musicals, including “Guys and Dolls,” “Hadestown” and homegrown hit “The Little Big Things.”

The prizes, which recognize achievements in theater, opera and dance, were founded in 1976 and named for the late actor-director Laurence Olivier. Winners are chosen by voting groups of stage professionals and theatergoers.

Snook – the scheming Shiv Roy in “Succession” – beat a talented field including Sarah Jessica Parker and Sophie Okonedo to be named best actress in a play for “The Picture of Dorian Gray,” an adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s cautionary fable in which Snook plays more than two dozen characters.

Backstage, the Emmy Award-winning Australian performer said the solo stage show was “so much harder” than doing TV.

“I’ve never done anything harder than this,” said Snook, who said she’d asked herself “why am I doing a 60,000-word monologue with an 8-month-old baby?” She revealed she’d learned her lines for the play during filming of the final series of “Succession,” at night while breastfeeding her daughter.

Gatiss — co-creator of the BBC TV series “Sherlock” — won the best actor trophy for playing theater great John Gielgud in “The Motive and the Cue,” Jack Thorne’s play about the struggle to mount a 1964 production of “Hamlet” with Richard Burton.

Gatiss recalled that Gielgud had considered awards ceremonies “vulgar.”

“I’m very, very thrilled to be in such wonderfully vulgar company,” he said.

Gatiss beat “Dear England” star Joseph Fiennes and Andrew Scott, who had been the favorite to win for the solo show “Vanya.” The Anton Chekhov adaptation by Simon Stephens took the prize for best revival.

Will Close was named best supporting actor in a play for his performance as footballer Harry Kane in “Dear England.”

Haydn Gwynne, who died in October, was posthumously awarded the best supporting actress prize for her final stage role in “When Winston Went to War with the Wireless," about the early days of radio in Britain.

Awards for supporting performances in musicals were Amy Trigg for “The Little Big Things” and Jak Malone for “Operation Mincemeat.”

The show ended with a tribute to the National Theatre, which turned 60 in 2023 — culminating in a star-studded cast singing the anthem “You’ll Never Walk Alone.”

Broadway-bound 'Sunset Boulevard' and star Nicole Scherzinger win big at London's Olivier awards (2024)

FAQs

Broadway-bound 'Sunset Boulevard' and star Nicole Scherzinger win big at London's Olivier awards? ›

LONDONLONDON — A radical restaging of Hollywood film noir musical “Sunset Boulevard” was the big winner on Sunday at the London stage Olivier Awards, taking seven trophies including best musical revival and best actress for American star Nicole Scherzinger.

How many Olivier Awards did Sunset Boulevard win? ›

Nicole Scherzinger's Sunset Boulevard swept the Olivier Awards on Sunday (14 April) with seven wins, as the actor picked up the gong for Best Actress in a Musical.

What did Nicole Scherzinger win? ›

Scherzinger won the Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical on April 14 for her role as Norma Desmond in the revival of Sunset Boulevard.

Who votes for the Olivier Awards? ›

Each year, the Olivier Award winners are decided by a group of distinguished industry professionals, theatre luminaries and members of the public specifically chosen for their passion for London theatre.

What is the UK equivalent of the Tony Awards? ›

The Olivier Awards are recognised internationally as the highest honour in British theatre, equivalent to the BAFTA Awards for film and television, and the BRIT Awards for music. The Olivier Awards are considered equivalent to Broadway's Tony Awards and France's Molière Award.

How many awards did Sunset Boulevard win? ›

Sunset Boulevard Wins 7 Awards at the Oliviers - Andrew Lloyd Webber.

How did Sunset Boulevard end? ›

He bluntly informs Norma that there will be no comeback, that Max writes all of her fan mail, and that she has been forgotten. He disregards Norma's threat to kill herself as she brandishes a gun; as he leaves the house, Norma shoots him three times, and he collapses into the pool.

Who is the youngest person to win an Olivier Award? ›

The youngest ever winners of an Olivier Award were just 10 years old! Eleanor Worthington Cox and Cleo Demetriou won for their shared role as Matilda in Matilda The Musical, alongside Sophia Kiely and Kerry Ingram who were both 12.

Why is it called Olivier Awards? ›

Laurence Olivier (1907-1989) was an actor, director and founder of the National Theatre Company. In 1984 Olivier agreed to give his name to the awards. Visit the Laurence Olivier page for a full biography.

Are the Olivier Awards like the Tonys? ›

On Sunday night, the Olivier Awards — Britain's equivalent to the Tonys — took place in London. As expected, “Sunset Boulevard” took home the most trophies (and will have a Broadway run later this year), but there were also some surprise winners.

What Broadway show has won the most tonys? ›

An Enchanted Musical

Rodgers & Hammerstein's South Pacific has won more Tony Awards over all of its Broadway productions to date than any other musical. That's 17 Tonys: 10 for the original 1949 production, plus seven for the 2008 revival.

Are Tony Awards only for Broadway? ›

The ceremony is usually held in June. The awards are given for Broadway productions and performances.

Why are the Tonys called the Tonys? ›

Named for Antoinette Perry (pictured here), an actress, director, producer, and the dynamic wartime leader of the American Theatre Wing who had recently passed away, the Tony Awards made their official debut at a dinner in the Grand Ballroom of the Waldorf Astoria hotel on Easter Sunday, April 6, 1947.

How many awards did Laurence Olivier win? ›

For his on-screen work he received two Academy Awards, two British Academy Film Awards, five Emmy Awards and three Golden Globe Awards. The National Theatre's largest auditorium is named in his honour, and he is commemorated in the Laurence Olivier Awards, given annually by the Society of London Theatre.

How many awards did Robert Redford win? ›

He has received numerous accolades such as an Academy Award, a BAFTA Award, and two Golden Globe Awards, as well as the Cecil B. DeMille Award in 1994, the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award in 1996, the Academy Honorary Award in 2002, the Kennedy Center Honors in 2005, the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2016 ...

Is Sunset Boulevard Based on a true story? ›

The character of Norma Desmond in "Sunset Boulevard" was inspired by a number of real-life actresses from the silent film era, including Norma Talmadge, Mary Pickford, and Gloria Swanson. However, the primary inspiration for the character was believed to be the life and career of silent film star, Mabel Normand.

Did Richard Gere win Oscar? ›

With four Golden Globe nominations and one win for Best Actor in Chicago, and two SAG nominations with one win, again for Chicago, it's a wonder Gere has never been nominated for an Oscar. There are plenty of talented actors who have never had the honor of being nominated.

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