Broadway-Bound 'Matilda' Wins Big at UK's Olivier Awards

11:38 AM PST 04/16/2012 by David Rooney
Matilda: The Musical

Winner in a record seven categories of London's top theater honors, including best musical, the Roald Dahl adaptation is scheduled to open in New York in early 2013.

NEW YORK -- The Royal Shakespeare Company's Matilda: The Musical, adapted from Roald Dahl's magical story about a girl with extraordinary powers, walked away with a record seven wins at the Olivier Awards Sunday in London.

In addition to best musical, the hit show scored trophies for director Matthew Warchus and choreographer Peter Darling. The four young performers alternating in the title role (Cleo Demetriou, Kerry Ingram, Sophia Kiely and Eleanor Worthington Cox) shared the best actress in a musical prize, and Bertie Carvel took actor honors for his cross-dressing turn as Matilda's fearsome headmistress.

The RSC is teaming with commercial producer the Dodgers (Jersey Boys) on an early-2013 Broadway launch of the show, which also won Oliviers for set design and sound.

The black comedy Collaborators was named best new play, marking an auspicious start for Scottish screenwriter John Hodge (Trainspotting) in his first stage work. The production beat out its smash-hit National Theatre stablemate One Man, Two Guvnors, the Broadway transfer of which opens this week.

Another National production, Frankenstein, scored the ceremony's second win for multiple actors in a leading role. That prize was shared by Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller, who alternated their roles as creature and creator in the Danny Boyle-directed production. Both Collaborators and Frankenstein have been screened in the National's worldwide NT Live initiative.

The Donmar Warehouse staging of Eugene O'Neill's Anna Christie was named best revival and also won lead actress in a play for Ruth Wilson, who starred opposite Jude Law. While initial talk of a Broadway move for that production, directed by Rob Ashford, appears to have stalled, its success at the Oliviers may now put a transfer back on producers' radars.

The Regents Park Open Air production of the Gershwin confection Crazy For You won for musical revival, marking three consecutive wins in the category for the summer theater venue.

The Oliviers bestow single supporting performer awards in both categories. That prize went for play to Sheridan Smith for her role in Trevor Nunn's revival of the Terence Rattigan drama, Flare Path, and for musical to Nigel Harman as the height-challenged Lord Farquaad in Shrek: The Musical.

The 2012 Olivier Awards were presented at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, in a ceremony hosted by actors Michael Ball and Imelda Staunton, currently appearing together in a critically acclaimed revival of Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler's Sweeney Todd.

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