Theatre / Feature

8 of our favourite Olivier Award performances

Taking a look back at the UK's award-winning musicals.

The UK’s most prestigious award ceremony, the Olivier Awards, was due to be held on 5 April 2020 and will now instead broadcast a special programme celebrating award-winning productions from the last 10 years. Jason Manford will host the show, which will be packed with performances and speeches from an array of award winners.

While the award ceremony is postponed, it is likely that the nominees announced on 3 March will find out who the 2020 winners are this autumn. Leading the pack are & Juliet who have a grand total of nine nominations with Trevor Nunn’s revival of Fiddler On The Roof coming in a close second with eight.

To mark the televised special and looking towards the rescheduled ceremony later in the year, here are 8 of our favourite Olivier Award performances from across the years.


MAMMA MIA! in 2014

No ordinary Olivier performance, MAMMA MIA! celebrated its 15th birthday at the iconic ceremony. When the ABBA-inspired musical hit the milestone, the whole cast were joined by Benny Andersson and Bjorn Uvaeus to perform one show-stopping medley.


Gypsy in 2016

In 2015, the 1959-penned musical returned to London with Imelda Staunton taking home the Olivier Award for Best Actress In A Musical the following year. In total, Gypsy bagged four of the eight awards it was nominated for including Best Revival Of A Musical.


Come From Away in 2019

Last year, the West End production of Come From Away was nominated for nine awards, taking home four including Best New Musical. The cast treated viewers to a brilliantly rousing rendition of their opening number Welcome To The Rock.


Miss Saigon in 1989

This huge scale showcase included unforgettable performances from Lea Salonga and Jonathan Pryce, both of whom would celebrate wins in the Best Actress and Best Actor in a Musical categories later that night.


A Chorus Line in 2013

It had been almost 30 years since London last saw A Chorus Line on stage when the original creators returned the show to the West End in 2013. Nominated for Best Musical Revival, this wonderfully glam performance included Leigh Zimmerman, who won Best Performance In A Supporting Role In A Musical that year.


In The Heights in 2016

Before he wrote the music and lyrics for Hamilton, Lin Manuel Miranda won the Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement In Music for In The Heights, which also scooped up three of the four awards for which it was nominated. The performance included Christine Allado who would go on to star in the West End productions of Hamilton and The Prince Of Egypt.


Hamilton in 2018

The 2018 awards were all about Hamilton, bagging a phenomenal thirteen nominations and winning in seven categories including Best New Musical. Most notably, three of the cast were nominated for the same award, Best Actor In A Supporting Role, which was then won by Michael Jibson for playing King George. Making the night one to truly remember, the West End cast took to the stage at London’s Royal Albert Hall for a rousing performance of show opener, Alexander Hamilton.


Les Misérables in 1985

As the longest running musical in the West End, Les Misérables has seen over 30 years’ worth of Olivier Awards. In that time, it has won Audience Award For Most Popular Show twice in 2012 and 2014, but we’re taking you back to its opening year when Patti LuPone took home the award for Best Actress In A Musical, and took part in a medley of the show’s since-iconic music.


Jason Manford hosts a very special celebration of the Olivier Awards on Sunday 5 April 2020 at 22:15, available to watch on ITV. Discover more from the world of theatre in our West End Guide.

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