Spotlight on ‘Best New Musical’ at the Olivier Awards 2018

Dubbed the West End’s biggest night, the Olivier Awards are just weeks away and so we thought we’d take a look at this year’s nominees for the Mastercard Best New Musical…

An American In Paris at The Dominion Theatre
This timeless classic melted the hearts of theatre goers from March 2017 until early January 2018 at the Dominion Theatre. Inspired by the 1951 award winning film starring Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron, the musical is set in Paris just after the Second World War. It is truly a story of following your heart, as we see ex-GI Jerry Mulligan fall in love with a mystery girl, only to find himself in the middle of a complicated love triangle. Featuring classic tunes by Gershwin, including ‘S Wonderful and I Got Rhythm, the West End run set a record by receiving 28 five star reviews from UK critics. For those who didn’t get a chance to see this joyous production, it has recently been announced that there will be a screening of the show in cinemas worldwide on Wednesday 16th May.

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie at The Apollo Theatre
Described by the Sunday Times as “a chuffing marvellous British musical”, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie is based on a 2011 documentary that was shown on BBC Three, titled Jamie: Drag Queen at 16. Inspired by the real-life Jamie Campbell, the musical follows Jamie’s journey of self-discovery as he decides to attend his school prom wearing a dress. The production recently won 3 Whatsonstage Awards, including the prestigious “Best New Musical” award, reflecting its popularity with audiences. If the success of Dear Evan Hansen at the 2017 Tony Awards is anything to go by, this equally uplifting story of learning to accept who you are and being unapologetically yourself could be headed for a successful night with its 5 Olivier nominations.

Girl From The North Country at The Old Vic
Featuring the music of Bob Dylan, this new musical by Conor McPherson has received huge critical acclaim. Starring Shirley Henderson (who many will recognise as Moaning Myrtle from the Harry Potter films), Girl From The North Country takes place in a guesthouse in 1930s Minnesota and explores the financial strains, loneliness and struggles of this bleak period. This poignant piece, whilst technically a jukebox musical, seamlessly weaves Bob Dylan’s songbook into the story and is a true showcase of the expanse of his work. Since its sell-out run at The Old Vic, the musical play transferred to the West End for a 12-week run at the Nöel Coward Theatre and is set to premiere in Toronto in Spring 2019.

Hamilton at The Victoria Palace Theatre
It’s safe to say that Hamilton dominated the headlines when the nominees were announced on 6th March, earning a record-breaking 13 nominations. Following its enormous success in the US, the West End Production is a clear favourite for the evening and has achieved huge critical acclaim. Since its off-Broadway debut in 2015, Hamilton has won countless awards including 11 Tony Awards, the Grammy Award for “Best Musical Theater Album” and numerous Drama Desk Awards. Inspired by Ron Chernow’s biography of Alexander Hamilton, Lin Manuel Miranda’s groundbreaking piece tells the story of Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, who worked his way up from being an immigrant orphan to eventually earn the status of a war hero and become the right-hand man of George Washington in the War of Independence. Known worldwide for its unique soundtrack, incorporating a range of music genres including hip hop, R&B as well as more traditional showtunes, the show has welcomed a whole new set of audiences to the world of theatre.

Young Frankenstein at The Garrick Theatre
Known for hits such as The Producers, Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein is currently charming audiences each night at The Garrick Theatre. Based on the classic novel by Mary Shelley and the 1974 film starring Gene Wilder, this laugh out loud spectacle follows the grandson of Victor von Frankenstein, who is faced with the spine-tingling task of awakening the dead. Viewed as a spoof of horror movies, this rapturous and bawdy piece also sees cast members Ross Noble and Lesley Joseph nominated for “Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Musical” and “Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Musical” respectively.

By Olivia Dowden

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