Matilda musical wins 7 Olivier awards in London
4 young stars cited for their performance
The new musical Matilda dominated British theatre's Olivier Awards on Sunday, winning seven prizes including a joint best-actress trophy for the four young stars playing the title role.
Based on the Roald Dahl story about a girl who has magical powers, the family-friendly show set a record by taking more Olivier awards than any production in the theatre prize's history.
Eleanor Worthington-Cox — at 10, the youngest to play Matilda — is also the youngest person ever to win an Olivier, the annual awards for the best in London theatre.
Her co-stars — Cleo Demetriou, Kerry Ingram, Sophia Kiely – are all under the age of 12. They each perform two shows a week. Director Matthew Warchus called them "four little miracles."
- New musical: Matilda the Musical.
- New play: Collaborators.
- Revival: Anna Christie.
- Musical revival: Crazy For You.
- Actress, play: Ruth Wilson, Anna Christie.
- Actor, play: Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller, Frankenstein.
- Actress, musical: Cleo Demetriou, Kerry Ingram, Sophia Kiely and Eleanor Worthington-Cox, Matilda The Musical.
- Actor, musical: Bertie Carvel, Matilda The Musical.
- Director: Matthew Warchus, Matilda The Musical.
- New opera: Castor and Pollux, English National Opera.
Matilda, written by playwright Dennis Kelly and featuring music and lyrics by Australian comedian Tim Minchin, took the award for best new musical, best choreography, best sound, best set and best director. Bertie Carvel, who plays a cross-dressing villain in the production, was named best actor in a musical.
Produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company, the show is Broadway-bound and will open in New York in early 2013.
Frankenstein actors share award
The prize for best actor in a play went jointly to Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller, who alternated the roles of the scientist and his monster in Frankenstein. The innovative National Theatre production was directed by Danny Boyle, best known for films like Slumdog Millionaire and Trainspotting.
Cumberbatch, who stars in TV's Sherlock, was not present to accept his award, but Miller took the stage and paid tribute to Boyle for his "weird way of doing stuff" and to say Boyle's quest for "honesty and truth" helped make the show a hit.
A Donmar Playhouse production of Anna Christie was declared best musical. Ruth Wilson, known for her career on screen and on stage, was named best actress for playing a weathered woman of the world in Eugene O'Neill's melodrama. Co-star Jude Law was overlooked for an acting prize.
Sheridan Smith, who 2011's best actress in a musical for Legally Blonde, earned best supporting performer in a play for her role in the drama Flare Path, a work written in the 1940s and recently revived.
Nigel Harman won the prize for best supporting role in a musical for his stint as Lord Farquaad in Shrek.
The best new work was Collaborators, screenwriter John Hodge's debut play about a writer who is commissioned to write a play about Stalin to celebrate the Russian leader's 60th birthday in 1938 Moscow.
English National Opera won double awards: best new opera for Castor and Pollux and special achievement in opera for its diverse artistic program.
Named for theatrical giant Laurence Olivier and first held in 1976, the prestigious awards are presented annually by the Society of London Theatre.