‘Legally Blonde’ wins 3 Oliviers as ‘Phantom’ sequel snubbed

“Legally Blonde” was named Best Musical at the Olivier Awards Sunday while “Love Never Dies,” Andrew Lloyd Webber‘s sequel to his long-running “Phantom of the Opera,” was shut out of these top London theater awards despite a leading seven bids. At the 2007 Tony Awards, “Legally Blonde” lost all seven of its races and did not even contend for Best Musical.

To triumph at the Oliviers, “Legally Blonde” edged out another Broadway transfer — “Fela!” — and a tuner version of 1970 Best Picture nominee “Love Story” as well as the revamped “Love Never Dies.” It also claimed two of the three awards given to musical performances with Sheridan Smith winning Best Musical Actress over the Lord’s latest leading lady, Sierra Boggess, Elena Roger (“Passion”) and Emma Williams (“Love Story”) while Jill Halfpenny claimed the catch-all supporting prize.

Best Musical Actor went to David Thaxton for a revival of Stephen Sondheim‘s 1994 Tony-winning tuner “Passion.” He edged out the Phantom, Ramin Karimloo,  Sahr Ngaujah (“Fela!”), David Thaxton (“Passion”) and Michael Xavier (“Love Story”).

An open-air production of Sondheim’s 1988 Pulitzer Prize champ “Into the Woods” won Best Musical Revival. And the composer-lyricist, who turned 80 last year, was feted with the 24th presentation of the Special Award. He joined an illustrious list of previous recipients including four knights (John Gielgud, Peter Hall, Ralph Richardson, Ian McKellen); two dames (Judi Dench and Maggie Smith); and the first theatrical lord — Laurence Olivier — for whom these kudos are named.

As part of the festivities at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, a musical tribute was led by Adrian Lester, who won an Olivier Award for his performance in a revival of Sondheim’s 1971 Tony champ “Company” in 1995. Five-time Tony winner Angela Lansbury and producer Sir Cameron Mackintosh made the presentation.

Best Play went to “Clybourne Park” over “End of the Rainbow,” “The Little Dog Laughed,” “Sucker Punch” and “Tribe.”  Best Play Actress went to Nancy Carroll who starred in Best Play Revival “After the Dance.” She edged out Tracie Bennett (“End of the Rainbow”), Tamsin Greig (“The Little Dog Laughed”) and Sophie Thompson (“Clybourne Park”). And the Best Play Actor award was given to Roger Allam (“Henry IV, Parts 1 & 2”) who prevailed over two other Shakespearean performances —  Derek Jacobi (“King Lear”) and Rory Kinnear (“Hamlet”) — as well as Mark Rylance (“La Bete”) and David Suchet (“All My Sons”).

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