Friday, March 4

Special Sondheim Award at Olivier Awards hosted by Michael Ball

There is a special award for Stephen Sondheim at this year’s Olivier Awards on Sunday 13th March at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane.  The American composer and lyricist will be there to collect the special statuette to mark his contribution to London theatre in person and listen to a musical tribute performed by stars including Adrian Lester who appeared in Sondheim’s Company at the Donmar  last year.

Past recipients of the award include Harold Pinter, Ralph Richardson, Ian McKellen, Peter Hall, Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, John Gielgud and Laurence Olivier.

The honour comes in a year when a couple of major Sondheim shows are being staged in the UK with Michael Ball and Imelda Staunton (who are hosting the Oliviers for Radio 2) appearing at the Chichester Festival Theatre in Sweeney Todd. Daniel Evans will star as Bobby in a production of Company at Sheffield Theatres at the end of the year

There will also be a special performance by Kerry Ellis and Barry Manilow who is flying into the UK especially for the Oliviers.  Dance companies Thick Skin and Zoo Nation have been commissioned to create choreography  for the Awards show, and there will be highlights from all the nominated musicals including: Sweet Charity, Into the Woods, Love Story, Fela!, Passion, Legally Blonde and Love Never Dies.

The line-up of guest presenters will include Benedict Cumberbatch, Anne-Marie Duff, Elisabeth Moss, Rupert Everett, Mark Gatiss, Amanda Holden, Jonny Lee Miller, Elaine Page, Danielle Hope, Rachel Tucker, Tamara Rojo, Patrick Stewart, Matthew Fox, Olivia Williams and Alfie Boe.

The Oliviers will be televised on BBC this year for the first time since 2003 with live coverage throughout the night on the interactive Red button as well as with Michael Ball on Radio 2.

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