British productions took home eight awards from the 76th Tony Awards, which took place last night at the historic United Palace in New York City’s Washington Heights.
Jodie Comer, star of BBC’s Killing Eve, won the award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play for her role in the one-woman show Prima Facie (Lead Producer: SOLT member Empire Street Productions). Jodie won an Olivier Award earlier this year for the same role in the production’s 2022 London run. Collecting her Olivier Award in April this year, Jodie said, “Don’t let anybody tell you it isn’t possible… It might take the stars to align and for you to be met with such generous, kind, and nurturing people, but it is possible.”
Tom Stoppard’s Leopoldstadt, whose lead producer is SOLT member Sonia Friedman Productions, won four awards, including Best Play, Best Direction of a Play for Patrick Marber, Best Featured Actor in a Play for Brandon Uranowitz and Best Costume Design of a Play for Brigitte Reiffenstuel. Leopoldstadt originally opened in London in 2020, where it won two Olivier Awards, including Best New Play.
Leopoldstadt’s success in the Best Play category means that for the 5th time in a row the Tony Awards for Best New Play and Best Direction of a Play have gone to British productions and directors.
Finally, Life of Pi’s creatives were recognised in three further awards in the design categories – Tim Hatley and Andrzej Goulding for Best Scenic Design of a Play, Tim Lutkin for Best Lighting Design of a Play and Carolyn Downing for Best Sound Design of a Play.
Life of Pi originally opened at the not-for-profit Crucible Theatre, Sheffield, in 2019, where the production picked up four UK Theatre Awards. The 2021 London transfer saw it collect five Olivier Awards. The production’s lead producers are SOLT members Simon Friend Productions and Playing Field. It was originally produced in collaboration with UK Theatre member Sheffield Theatres.
Society of London Theatre & UK Theatre Co-CEOs Claire Walker and Hannah Essex were at last night’s awards and said:
“It was a great honour and pleasure to be able to represent the Society of London Theatre and UK Theatre at last night’s awards, particularly in a year when there was such a strong performance from our members, British shows and producers on Broadway. As both London and New York’s theatre sectors recover from COVID-19 links between the two great global hubs of theatre are as strong as ever, and we’d like to thank Charlotte St. Martin, Heather A. Hitchens and the teams at the Broadway League and American Theatre Wing for being such generous hosts. We look forward to continuing to welcome great US productions in London and the UK.”
Upcoming West End transfers include one of this year’s nominees for the Tony Award for Best New Musical, Shucked, as well as previous Tony Award winners and nominees including A Strange Loop, MJ The Musical, and Hadestown, which was previously presented at SOLT and UK Theatre member the National Theatre.
Olivier Award winning musicals Back to the Future: The Musical and Merrily We Roll Along will open on Broadway later year, along with Olivier Award nominee, The Shark is Broken.
Welcoming the news, Eleanor Lloyd, President of the Society of London Theatre, said:
“Once again, we’ve seen a hugely strong showing from SOLT members and British productions on Broadway at this year’s Tony Awards, highlighting the power of the UK’s theatre sector overseas as both a commercial export and in promoting British culture. Congratulations to all the winners and particular congratulations to our colleague Sonia Friedman, who has now won 4 out of the 5 most recent Best New Play awards.”