After a stellar year of musicals in 2015, for the first time ever the Evening Standard have introduced the Evening Standard Radio 2 Audience Award for Best Musical, a new category in their much respected yearly Theatre Awards. Five shows have been shortlisted following selection by an advisory judging panel, including Radio 2’s head of programming Lewis Carnie. The announcement was revealed on Elaine Paige’s weekly Sunday Radio 2 show. The winner will be announced as part of the awards ceremony at the Old Vic on November 22, co-hosted by Dame Judi Dench, Sir Ian McKellen and the newspaper’s owner, Evgeny Lebedev following public voting which is now live. After such a high achieving year, 2015 seems the perfect year to give theatre fans a chance to vote for their own favourites.
Here’s our roundup of the shortlist…
A challenging piece from the Tony Award winning Stephen Sondheim, the musical looks at the men and women throughout history who have attempted and suceeded in assassinating presidents of the United States. The dark and unsettling work features deadly scores and notable performances from Jamie Parker and comedian Catherine Tate to name but a few.
Based on must-loved American singer-songwriter Carole King’s rise to fame from the ages of 16-29, the musical uncovers a jukebox of hits including a stunning rendition of (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman. Starring Olivier Award winning newcomer Katie Brayben in the lead role and Best Supporting Actress Olivier Award winner, co-star Lorna Want, the show already has an established track record for winning awards.
Bend it Like Beckham
Adapted by director Gurinder Chadha from her hit 2002 film, the musical focuses on ladies overcoming all manners of racial and sexual prejudice to make it as football stars. The musical follows football mad Jess as she balances her passion for football with the demands of her strict Sikh religion and family against a backdrop of Bollywood inspired hits.
An accomplished rivival of a popular favourite, classic Broadway musical Gypsy takes inspiration from the memoirs of burlesque star Gypsy Rose Lee. Jonathan Kent’s production stars the formidale Imelda Staunton as the unstoppable showbiz parent Momma Rose in this timeless musical hit.
Based on the 2005 Brit film of the same title, Kinky Boots follows a failing Northampton shoe manufacturer and their diversion in to the drag queen market. A celebration of overcoming adversity, the musical took home six Tony Awards after its spell on Broadway and features Cyndi Lauper’s showstopping power ballads.
Get involved with this years Audience Award and join the voting process here.