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Jodie Comer wins big at national stage awards

1 year ago

Jodie Comer wins big at national stage awards

Jodie Comer led a host of female stars who have scooped top gongs at the WhatsOnStage Awards in its first year with gender-neutral acting categories.

Jodie Comer won the best performer in a play award for her role as Tessa in Prima Facie, a one-person production by Suzie Miller.

She fought off tough competition from David Tennant, Bridgerton’s Jonathan Bailey, The Big Short’s Rafe Spall, Carrie Hope Fletcher and Mei Mac to claim the prize.

After receiving critical acclaim for her West End debut at the Harold Pinter Theatre, Comer will now be taking the play to Broadway this spring.

The award ceremony, held on Sunday at the Prince of Wales Theatre in London’s West End, also saw Gwyneth Keyworth take home the best supporting performer in a play award for her portrayal of Scout Finch in To Kill A Mockingbird at the Gielgud Theatre.

Continuing the night of female triumph, Courtney Bowman picked up the best performer in a musical award for her role as Elle Woods in Legally Blonde at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, while Lauren Drew won the best supporting performer in a musical prize for her role as Brooke in the show.

Heartstopper’s Joe Locke also scored the best professional debut gong for his performance in The Trials and Lucie Jones won best takeover for her turn as Elphaba in Wicked.

Jodie Comer
Jodie Comer with the best performer in a play award for her role as Tessa in Prima Facie. Picture – PA

The big winner of the night was the enchanting My Neighbour Totoro, with five wins from nine nominations – including best direction for Phelim McDermott.

The best new musical award went to Bonnie & Clyde the Musical while Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! won best musical revival for its sell-out run at the Young Vic, while also winning best video design for Joshua Thorson.

In the play categories, Prima Facie won the coveted best new play award, and the best play revival went to the West End premiere of Cock at the Ambassadors Theatre.

Homegrown hit musical SIX triumphed yet again in the best West End show category, picking up the prize for the third time.

Curve Leicester’s production of Billy Elliot the Musical earned best regional production while best off-West End production went to But I’m A Cheerleader: The Musical at The Turbine Theatre.

Producer and theatre owner Nica Burns was also honoured with the services to theatre award in recognition of her “extraordinary career and her unfailing commitment to the health of the theatre industry”.

Alongside Max Weitzenhoffer she co-founded the Nimax Theatres which comprises of six West End theatres – the Palace, Lyric, Apollo, Garrick, Vaudeville and Duchess.

The 23rd Annual WhatsOnStage Awards, which are decided entirely by theatregoers, was hosted by Bowman, Laurie Kynaston and Billy Luke Nevers.

WhatsOnStage’s Sarah Coleman and Alex Wood said: “Today’s awards demonstrate that our theatre industry is going from strength to strength, and with the continued support of our wonderful audiences, there has been another vibrant year of productions across the UK.

“We are proud to be the first theatre awards to introduce gender-neutral performance categories to honour our world-leading on-stage talent, and it is heartening to see the ongoing prevalence of new work in our theatres.

“Our thanks as ever go to the audiences who have remained with us, who have bought tickets, who have seen shows and who have decided our award winners from such a wellspring of creativity.

“All of us at WhatsOnStage look ahead with anticipation to another year of stories brought to life in our theatres.”

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