London's WhatsOnStage Awards Matter on Broadway
Do you feel that Colman Domingo didn't get his due when The Scottsboro Boys played an abbreviated Broadway run? Now's his chance to claim that elusive accolade. Did you wish that John Tiffany could have been Tony-nominated twice for his direction of Broadway's Once? The Tony and Drama Desk winner is now in the running for a third recognition. Domingo and Tiffany are among the Broadway favorites nominated for 2014 WhatsOnStage Awards for their work in London theater.
The WhatsOnStage Awards are the only major theater awards in the United Kingdom where audience members serve as judges. Both nominees and winners are decided via theatergoer polling, with over 60,000 spectators logging on to nominate their favorites and then decide the victors. All professional productions that opened in London between December 1 of one year and November 30 of the next are eligible, along with long-running West End productions, off-West End shows, regional productions, and actors who've taken over a particular role. Voting is limited to one per person; that way, a certain Elphaba's fan base can't rig the system.
There is, however, a chance for special recognition (and vindication) for some of our Broadway favorites who have ventured across the pond. Take looks at which stars from the Great White Way have made the short list for this year's awards.
After nearly a decade of reliable service directing and choreographing on Broadway, Casey Nicholaw won long-awaited Tony and Drama Desk Awards for his staging of The Book of Mormon (losing out on the choreography honor to Kathleen Marshall's work on Anything Goes). This year he has the chance to reclaim the dance award for Mormon's London outing, after being overlooked in the directing category. Funny how those things work.
Despite the fact that the musical Once took London by storm this year, choreographer Steven Hoggett, who received a Tony nod for his work, received a WhatsOnStage Award nomination for a different show — the Tori Amos musical The Light Princess. This show hasn't yet played the Big Apple, but if his work is anything like his movement-based creations for American Idiot, Peter and the Starcatcher, and Broadway's current The Glass Menagerie, we know he's easily deserving of his slot.
As crafty candy entrepreneur Willy Wonka, Tony and Drama Desk winner Douglas Hodge has some huge shoes to fill, belonging to cinema greats Gene Wilder and Johnny Depp. Hodge put his own touch on the role in the stage musical Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, to the tune of a WhatsOnStage Award nomination for Best Actor in a Musical.
London locals have had the privilege of taking temporary custody of this two-time Tony-nominated crooner for the past West End season. Now in the role that earned Andrew Rannells 2011 Tony and Drama Desk nominations, Creel has received a nod from the WhatsOnStage voters for his performance as the ding-donging Elder Price in The Book of Mormon at the Prince of Wales Theatre. Though Broadway audiences know him best for his turns in Thoroughly Modern Millie, La Cage aux Folles, and Hair, West Enders will forever more greet him with a big Mormon "Hello!"
West Enders seem to be just as taken with John Tiffany's direction of the heartfelt musical Once as the Tony and Drama Desk voters were when he bested his fellow nominees in 2012. Even if he doesn't take home the WhatsOnStage Award, his recent Broadway mounting of The Glass Menagerie is sure to bring him another round of recognition on the Great White Way.
Daniel Radcliffe, best known, of course, as the title character of the Harry Potter films, isn't only the heartthrob of tween Muggles everywhere. He also has plenty of Broadway-based fans. The Brit's Great White Way credits include Equus and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. And in April, Radcliffe is heading back to the Broadway stage in Martin McDonagh's The Cripple of Inishmaan, the same production for which he is nominated for the WhatsOnStage Award for Best Actor in a Play.
Though The Scottsboro Boys played on Broadway for only a little over a month in the end of 2010, the musical (Fred Ebb and John Kander's final Broadway collaboration) was nominated for a host of 2011 Tony Awards. One of those was for Colman Domingo for Best Featured Actor in a Musical. Domingo didn't take home the award, and in fact, not a single one of the show's 12 other nominations panned out. Now, Domingo's WhatsOnStage Award nomination for The Scottsboro Boys' London run is offering a second chance.
Both sides of the Atlantic have been fairly bursting with the direction and choreography of multi-Tony Award winner Susan Stroman. This year, she'll be eligible for Tony and Drama Desk nominations for her direction/choreography on both Big Fish and the upcoming Bullets Over Broadway. New York award noms won't happen for another couple of months, though, so Stroman fans can't start their campaigning quite yet. They can, however, vote her into the WhatsOnStage Awards Best Choreographer win for The Scottsboro Boys, a Tony win she missed out on in 2011.