Hamilton wins first big British prize as musicals dominate Critics Circle Awards

30 Jan
Author: Staff
Critics' Circle Award winners

Musicals dominated the Critics’ Circle Theatre Awards in a ceremony held today at the West End's Prince of Wales Theatre (and organised by none other than Faves founder Terri Paddock). Full list of musical winners here. And have you seen our live-tweeting from the event itself?

This first major British award for the multi-award-winning Hamilton – voted as Best Musical in a secret ballot by London’s top theatre critics – can be added to its 11 Tony Awards, the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and Grammy for Best Musical Theatre Album in its trophy cabinet. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hip-hop flavoured show opened just before Christmas at the newly refurbished Victoria Palace Theatre and was one of 2017’s most eagerly-anticipated West End premieres.

The staging of Stephen Sondheim’s musical Follies in the Olivier at the National Theatre, with a cast of 37 and an orchestra of 21, saw Dominic Cooke named Best Director and Vicki Mortimer Best Designer. Meanwhile, two stars of acclaimed new British musicals, Sheila Atim in Girl From the North Country and John McCrea in Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, were jointly named Best Newcomer.

Drama Section Chair Mark Shenton said: “Critics are invited to reward their favourite contributions to creative excellence equally across plays and musicals, so it is particularly striking this year to see the National Theatre’s production of Follies rewarded for Best Director and Best Designer, as well as both of the Most Promising Newcomer recipients seen in other musical-led shows, plus the UK’s first major award so far for Hamilton.”

At today's event, the exclusive invited audience also enjoyed three special musical performances:

  • Joint Best Newcomer winner John McCrea sang a specially arranged version Out of the Darkness (Into the Spotlight) from Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, and was accompanied on guitar by the show's composer (and The Feeling frontman) Dan Gillespie-Sells.
  • Bethan Keen from the British Theatre Academy, which now also sponsors the awards, sang One Perfect Moment from Bring It On The Musical. Written by a crack team including Lin-Manuel Miranda (Hamilton), the Broadway musical will receive its UK premiere care of The BTA in The Large at Southwark Playhouse from 2 August 2018.
  • Renée Lamb sang Catherine of Aragon's anthem No Way from Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss' new British musical SIX, which sees the six wives of Henry VIII sing their way out of the history books and into the spotlight... from Tudor queens to pop princesses. She was accompanied by co-stars Aimie Atkinson, Christina Modestou and Natalie May Paris. A hit in Edinburgh, the concert-style musical has just completed six sell-out performances at the Arts Theatre. A full production will be announced soon.

Musical winners

The Jack Tinker Award for Most Promising Newcomer (a tie)
  • Sheila Atim for Girl From the North Country Old Vic & Noël Coward Theatres, London
  • John McCrea for Everybody’s Talking About Jamie Sheffield Crucible & Apollo Theatre, London
The Peter Hepple Award for Best Musical
  • Hamilton Victoria Palace Theatre, London
Best Designer
  • Vicki Mortimer for Follies National Theatre, London
Best Director
  • Dominic Cooke for Follies National Theatre, London