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Photo credit: (Courtesy of & Juliet and Present Laughter respectively)

Your guide to all the 2020 Olivier Awards nominees

Sophie Thomas
Sophie Thomas

Held in high prestige in the British theatre calendar, being nominated for an Olivier Award is definitely a big deal. This year's nominees were first announced all the way back in March (before lockdown) and it's been a while since the shows up for awards were seen by the public.

If you're in need of a refresh of the 2020 Olivier Awards nominees, then we're here to help. Here's our lowdown on all the nominations, and what you'll want to watch out for on the day.

The 2020 Olivier Awards are at the London Palladium on 25 October.

Which West End shows are nominated for Best New Play and Best New Musical at the Oliviers? 

Two of the tightest categories across the Olivier Awards, Best New Play or Best New Musical can propel the winner to extend their West End run or go down in theatrical history. In the plays category this year, there's two shows which are both set to already transfer to a West End venue: The Doctor and The Ocean at the End of the Lane. Even though it only ran for a few weeks before lockdown, Tom Stoppard's latest play Leopoldstadt is also nominated, with A Very Expensive Poison at the Old Vic rounding off the category.

Unlike the plays, the Best New Musical group is a mix of West End premieres and Broadway transfers. The Max Martin jukebox musical & Juliet is up for the award, along with Amelie which wowed critics at The Other Palace. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Broadway smash-hit Dear Evan Hansen has enjoyed similar praise in the West End and has found itself nominated in this category, completed by Waitress which has now closed at the Adelphi Theatre.

Which West End shows are up for Best Revival at the Oliviers?

Across the West End, there's a variety of revivals, breathing a new lease of life into older shows. Revivals of plays tend to include a starry cast, quickly becoming some of the hottest tickets in town. All four plays up for Best Revival featured television and movie stars, and are often new adaptations. Martin Crimp's adaptation of Cyrano De Bergerac and Duncan Macmillan's adaptation of Rosmersholm are both nominated. Along with Death of a Salesman and Present Laughter, we're on tenterhooks to see which show wins.

Similarly, the musical theatre scene was treated to some incredible musical revivals, including an outdoor production of Evita at Regent's Park Open Air Theatre. In the West End, musicals like Fiddler on the Roof, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Mary Poppins all earned a plethora of five-star reviews, so it'll be interesting to see which show comes out on top.

Which West End shows are up for Best Entertainment or Comedy Play at the Oliviers?

It's fair to say that Phoebe Waller-Bridge reprising her Fleabag show for the final time was a highlight of the theatre calendar. The production is up for Best Entertainment show, joined by the all-female play Emilia which entertained audiences at the Vaudeville Theatre. For the third time, Mischief Theatre find themselves in this category with Magic Goes Wrong, joined by Shakespeare sensation Upstart Crow.

Who is nominated for Best Actor in a Play at the Oliviers?

With a wealth of West End talent taking to the stage throughout the year, being nominated for Best Actor is in itself an honour. After his electrifying performance as Cyrano in Cyrano de Bergerac, James McAvoy receives a nomination, along with Andrew Scott as the zany Garry Essendine in Present Laughter. Wendell Pierce earns his first Best Actor nomination for his performance as Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman, as too does Toby Jones as the eponymous role in Uncle Vanya.

Who is nominated for Best Actress in a Play at the Oliviers?

After her performance in Death of a Salesman, Sharon D. Clarke is nominated for Best Actress, joined by Rosmersholm's Hayley Atwell who played Rebecca West. Juliet Stevenson is also nominated in this category, for her leading performance in The Doctor, while Phoebe Waller-Bridge earns her first tip as Best Actress for Fleabag.

Who is nominated for Best Actor in a Musical at the Oliviers?

After making their West End debuts in 2019, both Sam Tutty and Jac Yarrow have earned nominations for their titular performances in Dear Evan Hansen and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat respectively. But, they'll face tough competition from Charlie Stemp, currently starring as Bert in Mary Poppins. The category is completed by Andy Nyman, who earns his first solo nomination for Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof, previously winning the 2008 Best Entertainment award for Something Wicked This Way Comes.

Who is nominated for Best Actress in a Musical at the Oliviers?

Three decades after her first Olivier nom, Judy Kuhn is up for Best Actress in a Musical for her performance as Golde in Fiddler on the Roof. She's joined by three newcomers to the category: Audrey Brisson as Amelie in Amelie, Miriam-Teak Lee as Juliet in & Juliet and Zizi Strallen in the title role of Mary Poppins.

Who is nominated for Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Play at the Oliviers?

Shows at the Old Vic prove popular in this category, with Colin Morgan and Reece Shearsmith both nominated for their roles in All My Sons and A Very Expensive Poison respectively. Just down the road, Arinze Kene gets a nod for his portrayal of Biff in Death of a Salesman at the Young Vic. In the West End, Adrian Scarborough completes the category for Leopoldstadt.

Who is nominated for Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Play at the Oliviers?

Both Sophie Thompson and Indira Varma are up for this award, after starring in Present Laughter at the Old VIc together. They're joined by Michele Austin for Cyrano de Bergerac and Josie Walker for her portrayal of Old Mrs Hempstock in The Ocean at the End of the Lane in the Dorfman at the National Theatre.

Who is nominated for Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Musical at the Oliviers?

Starring in Dear Evan Hansen as Larry Murphy and Jared Kleinman respectively, Rupert Young and Jack Loxton are both in this category. They're joined by David Bedella, who originated the role of Lance in & Juliet at the Shaftesbury Theatre. Stewart Clarke earns his first Olivier nomination for portraying Perchik in Fiddler on the Roof.

Who is nominated for Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Musical at the Oliviers?

Just like their male colleagues, the females in Dear Evan Hansen are heavily represented in this category. Lucy Anderson and Lauren Ward are both nominated, starring as Zoe Murphy and Cynthia Murphy respectively. At the age of 87, Petula Clark receives her second Olivier nomination as the Bird Woman in Mary Poppins, with Cassidy Janson also in the category for her originating role as Anne Hathaway in & Juliet.

Who is nominated for Best Director at the Oliviers?

Unlike the other categories listed, the Best Director award can go to a director who has worked on a play or a musical. This year, plays are represented to musicals by three to one. Marianne Elliott and Miranda Cromwell for Death Of A Salesman, Jamie Lloyd for Cyrano De Bergerac and Ian Rickson for Uncle Vanya. Trevor Nunn is also nominated for Best Director, directing Fiddler on the Roof.

Who is nominated for Best Original Score or New Orchestrations at the Oliviers?

In this category, five musicals are recognised for either their original score, or new orchestrations added to already existing music. The five shows and those nominated are listed below:

  • & Juliet - New Orchestrations by Bill Sherman and Dominic Fallacaro at Shaftesbury Theatre
  • Amélie - Musical Supervisor and Arrangements by Barnaby Race at The Other Palace
  • Dear Evan Hansen - Music and Lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, Orchestration by Alex Lacamoire at Noël Coward Theatre
  • Fiddler on the Roof - New Orchestrations by Jason Carr at Playhouse Theatre
  • Waitress - Music and Lyrics by Sara Bareilles at Adelphi Theatre

Which creatives are nominated at the 2020 Olivier Awards?

We've rounded up all the creative award nominations from this year.

  • Rosmersholm: Best Lighting Design (Neil Austin), Best Sound Design (Gregory Clarke), Best Set Design (Rae Smith)
  • The Ocean at the End of the Lane: Best Lighting Design (Paule Constable)
  • & Juliet: Best Lighting Design (Howard Hudson), Best Costume Design (Paloma Young), Best Set Design (Soutra Gilmour), Best Choreography (Jennifer Weber)
  • Uncle Vanya: Best Lighting Desing (Bruno Poet), Best Set Design (Rae Smith)
  • Emilia: Best Sound Design (Emma Laxton), Best Costume Design (Joanna Scotcher)
  • ANNA: Best Sound Design (Ben and Max Ringham)
  • Cyrano de Bergerac: Best Sound Design (Ben and Max Ringham)
  • Goldilocks and the Three Bears: Best Costume Design (Hugh Durrant)
  • Fiddler on the Roof: Best Costume Design (Jonathan Lipman), Best Choreography (Jerome Robbins and Matt Cole)
  • Evita: Best Choreographer (Fabian Aloise)
  • Mary Poppins: Best Choreographer (Matthew Bourne and Stephen Mear)

Which shows are nominated in the Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre category at the Oliviers?

This category honours shows in commercial British theatre, but aren't able to be nominated for other categories. This year's nominees include Baby Reindeer at the Bush Theatre, which was due to transfer to the Ambassadors Theatre. Other shows nominated include Blues In The Night at the Kiln Theatre, Our Lady of Kibeho at Theatre Royal Stratford East, Seven Methods Of Killing Kylie Jenner at the Royal Court Theatre, and Warheads at the Park Theatre.

Which shows are nominated for Best Family Show at the Oliviers?

Some West End productions are designed with kids in mind, capturing the minds of little theatregoers. Four shows are in the running to win this category: Mr Gum And the Dancing Bear - The Musical! at the National, Oi Frog & Friends! at the Lyric Theatre, To The Moon and Back at the Barbican and The Worst Witch at the Vaudeville Theatre.

Which dance productions are nominated at the 2020 Olivier Awards?

There are two Olivier Awards dedicated to dance. For Best New Dance Production, four shows are in contention; La Fiesta by Israel Galván at Sadler's WellsIngoma by Mthuthuzeli November for Ballet Black at Royal Opera House, MÁM by Michael Keegan-Dolan for Teaċ Daṁsa at Sadler's Wells andVessel by Damien Jalet & Kohei Nawa at  Sadler's Wells. For Outstanding Achievement in Dance, both choreographers and performers have been nominated. This category is completed by Sara Baras for her choreography and performance in Ballet Flamenco - Sombras, Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker for her performance in Mitten Wir Im Leben Sind/Bach6Cellosuiten and Gisèle Vienne for her choreography of Crowd, presented by Dance Umbrella, with all three productions performed at Sadler's Wells.

Which opera productions are nominated at the 2020 Olivier Awards?

Similarly to the aforementione dance awards, there are two awards honouring the best of British opera. For Best New Opera Production, Berenice and Billy Budd are nominated, both performed at Royal Opera House. Hansel And Gretel at Regent's Park Open Air Theatre and Noye's Fludde at Theatre Royal Stratford East round off the category. For Outstanding Achievement in Opera, the Jette Parker Young Artists are nominated for their performances in Berenice, Death In Venice, and Phaedra at Royal Opera House. The Children's Ensemble for their performance in Noye's Fludde at Theatre Royal Stratford East are also recognised, as well as Martyn Brabbins and James Henshaw for their conducting of The Mask Of Orpheus for English National Opera at London Coliseum.

The 2020 Olivier Awards will be presented at the London Coliseum on 25 October. Get ready to tune in to find out who will win!         

Photo credit: & Juliet and Present Laughter                                                         

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