Olivier Awards 2014: The Book of Mormon takes four prizes
Story by Jack Foley
HIT West End musical The Book of Mormon emerged as one of the big winners at the 2014 Olivier Awards, taking four prices including best new musical.
Co-created by South Park duo Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the production also won two acting awards, for Gavin Creel and Stephen Ashfield as, respectively, best actor in a musical and best supporting performance, as well as an additional prize for its choreography.
The show follows two Mormon missionaries as they are sent to a remote village in Uganda. It has become a massive West End hit, emulating its success on Broadway.
Another of the night’s big winners was political drama Chimerica, which received three awards outright and shared two others.
It took the coveted prize of best new play, while Lyndsey Turner was named best director. A third prize came for Es Devlin’s set design.
Written by Lucy Kirkwood, the play follows the story of a so-called “tank man” who defied the Chinese army in Tiananmen Square in 1989. It also shared the awards for lighting design and sound, with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Merrily Me Roll Along respectively.
Rory Kinnear was crowned best actor for his role as Iago in the National Theatre production of Othello, beating Jude Law’s Henry V and Tom Hiddleston’s Coriolanus, and Lesley Manville took best actress her work in the Almeida Theatre production of the Henrik Ibsen play Ghosts.
Ghosts also saw Manville’s co-star Jack Lowden named best actor in a supporting role, while Sir Richard Eyre’s staging of the bleak Norwegian drama won the best revival award.
Maria Friedman’s production of Stephen Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along – which had gone into the evening as joint highest nominee with Charlie & The Chocolate Factory – was named best musical revival, while Perfect Nonsense, a play featuring PG Wodehouse’s popular Jeeves and Wooster characters, won the prize for best new comedy, which was presented for the first time since 2010.
Long-running success Les Miserables won the BBC Radio 2 audience award.
And Sir Nicholas Hytner, the outgoing artistic director of the National, shared a special outstanding achievement award with its executive director Nick Starr.
The Oliviers, named after the actor, knight and theatrical giant Lord Olivier, are presented annually by the Society of London Theatre (Solt) and were held on Sunday, April 13, 2014, at the Royal Opera House in London.
The ceremony, which was co-hosted by Gemma Arterton and Stephen Mangan, was notable for including a live performance by Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus of Abba, who appeared with the current London cast of Mamma Mia! at the end of the ceremony to celebrate the musical’s 15 years in the West End.
Other performers included Broadway star Bernadette Peters and Maltese tenor Joseph Calleja.