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Wicked, Angela Lansbury, and More Win Olivier Awards

American shows Beautiful, Memphis, and Here Lies Love were edged out of the Best New Musical slot.

Kerry Ellis as Elphaba in This Morning Audience Olivier Award-winning musical Wicked.
(© Matt Crockett)

The 2015 Olivier Awards took place today at London's Royal Opera House, with actor Lenny Henry serving as host. The Oliviers, which are some of the U.K.'s highest theater honors, recognize the season's best actors, creatives, and productions.

At this year's awards, the Broadway transfers Memphis The Musical and Beautiful — The Carole King Musical, led the pack of nominees with nine and eight nominations, respectively. However, it was Sunny Afternoon, the only U.K.-original nominee, that took home the prize for Best Musical. The category also included Here Lies Love, Fatboy Slim and David Byrne's Imelda Marcos bio-musical, which premiered at New York's Public Theater.

Sunny Afternoon, which centers on the story of Ray Davies and The Kinks and which currently runs at the Harold Pinter Theatre, also had the distinction of leading the pack as the show with the most wins overall. In addition to the Best New Musical honor, the show took home awards for its leading men John Dagleish and George Maguire as well as Outstanding Achievement in Music and Best Sound Design.

Though Beautiful and Memphis were edged out for the Best Musical recognition, each was recognized in other categories. Beautiful saw Katie Brayben and Lorna Want win for Best Actress in a Musical and Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Musical for their portrayals of Carole King and Cynthia Weil, respectively, while Memphis won for Sound Design (Gareth Owen) and Choreography (Sergio Trujillo).

The This Morning Audience Award, the only Olivier Award voted for by the public, also featured two U.S. musicals, Jersey Boys and Wicked, with Billy Elliot The Musical and Matilda The Musical filling out the roster. In the end, it was Stephen Schwartz and Winnie Holzman's beloved Wicked that came out on top.

In addition, five-time Tony winner Dame Angela Lansbury won her first Olivier Award for her portrayal of Madame Arcati in Blithe Spirit — the same role for which she won her most recent Tony in 2009.

The ceremony included performances by Nichole Scherzinger and David Byrne and ended with Special Award winner Kevin Spacey and nominee Beverley Knight (Memphis The Musical) dueting on a once-in-a-lifetime rendition of American duo Simon and Garfunkel's "Bridge Over Troubled Water."

For more details about the evening, read WhatsOnStage.com's recap here.

For the WhatsOnStage full list of winners, click here.

Dame Judi Dench and Kevin Spacey embrace on the Olivier Awards red carpet.
(© Dan Wooller)
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