Many #StageFaves make the running in this year's third annual West End Wilma Awards, for which the nominations are announced today ahead of public voting opening on 2 September 2016 and the awards ceremony on 4 November 2016.
In the Wilma Awards, musicals and plays often feature in the same category, including in the Best Actor and Best Actress categories, which are both for "in a West End Show". That said, musical performances often dominate. Best Actor, for instance, is a three-horse race between: Michael Xavier for Sunset Boulevard, Matt Henry for Kinky Boots and Jason Pennycooke for Guys and Dolls.
In the Best Understudy category, two StageFaves who made headlines by saving the day when their famous leading ladies fell ill - Glenn Close's Sunset Boulevard understudy Ria Jones and Sheridan Smith's Funny Girl understudy Natasha J Barnes - are both nominated alongside long-serving Phantom understudy Kieran Brown.
Other StageFaves performers nominated across these and other categories include: Bonnie Langford, CJ Johnson, Claire Machin, Jason Pennycooke, Jenna Russell, Kerry Ellis, Lauren Samuels, Matt Henry, Mazz Murray, Michael Xavier and Victoria Serra. While StageFaves musicals shortlisted are: in the West End, Guys and Dolls, Kinky Boots, Funny Girl, Beyond the Fence and Mrs Henderson Presents; and Off-West End, The Buskers Opera, Grey Gardens and Titanic.
The full list of 2016 Wilma Awards nominees are:
Best West End Musical (sponsored by TodayTix)
- Guys and Dolls (Phoenix Theatre)
- Kinky Boots (Adelphi Theatre)
- Funny Girl (Savoy Theatre)
Best West End Play (sponsored by Curtain Call)
- People, Places and Things (Wyndham’s Theatre)
- Nell Gwynn (Apollo Theatre)
- Bad Jews (Theatre Royal Haymarket)
- Four Femmes On The Thames
- Nina Conti
- Jest End
Most Underrated West End Show (sponsored by Free@Last TV Ltd)
- Beyond The Fence (Arts Theatre)
- McQueen (Theatre Royal Haymarket)
- Mrs Henderson Presents (Duke of York’s)
Best Off-West End Production
- The Buskers Opera (Park Theatre)
- Grey Gardens (Southwark Playhouse)
- Titanic (Charing Cross Theatre)
Best Touring Production
- Rocky Horror Show
Best Cabaret/Solo Performance (sponsored by Auburn Jam Music)
- Bonnie Langford (Hippodrome Casino)
- Katie Brennan (St James Studio)
- Kerry Ellis (Hippodrome Casino)
Best Actor In A West End Show (sponsored by London Weekly News)
- Michael Xavier (Sunset Boulevard)
- Matt Henry (Kinky Boots)
- Jason Pennycooke (Guys and Dolls)
Best Actress In A West End Show (sponsored by Planet Hollywood)
- Mazz Murray (Mamma Mia)
- Denise Gough (People, Places and Things)
- Jenna Russell (Doctor Faustus)
Best Actor/Actress In An Off-West End Show
- George Rae (Grand Hotel)
- Claire Machin (Titanic)
- Lauren Samuels (The Buskers Opera)
Best Understudy (sponsored by Free@Last TV Ltd)
- Ria Jones (Sunset Boulevard)
- Natasha J Barnes (Funny Girl)
- Kieran Brown (Phantom of the Opera)
Rising Star Award (sponsored by R&H Theatricals Europe)
- CJ Johnson - Wilma says: "Although CJ is already an established theatre performer, Beyond The Fence was the first time I had heard her name or seen her perform. Therefore, I feel that she deserves to be a more regular feature on the West End scene and therefore a Rising Star."
- Victoria Serra - Wilma says: "Victoria has been going from strength to strength, appearing in the International Tour of Mamma Mia! plus Grand Hotel (Southwark Playhouse), Spring Awakening (UK Tour), Parade (Southwark Playhouse), Love Story (Union Theatre) and most recently Titanic (Southwark Playhouse/Toronto/Charing Cross Theatre). She is going from strength to strength and a true rising star."
- Sam Wearing - Wilma says: "Sam is soon to start his Scholarship to Laine Theatre Arts, which Betty Laine personally gave to him because of his relentless passion and desire to live out his dreams regardless of the barriers he has faced. Sam already has a fan base on YouTube and has well over half a million views of his musical theatre cover songs."