BROADWAY RECALL: Remembering Olivier

April 14
8:54 AM 2012

Welcome to BROADWAY RECALL, a bi-monthly column where's Chief Theatre Critic, Michael Dale, delves into the archives and explores the stories behind the well-known and the not so well-known videos and photographs of Broadway's past. Look for BROADWAY RECALL every other Saturday.

The theatre award season always comes a bit earlier for our British chums and this weekend London puts on its Sunday clothes for 2012 Olivier Awards.  Inaugurated in 1976 as the Society of West End Theatre Awards, the frequent exchange of talent between Broadway and its West End counterparts means that the Oliviers offer Gotham theatre fans a glimpse of some of the hits that might be coming our way and a chance to see how some of our favorite shows and stars are doing across the Atlantic.

The British love a bit of glitz and glamour as much as we Yanks do, as evidenced by last year’s red carpet ceremony:

And here are some highlights from 2010’s acceptance speeches:

First gaining attention while performing with Noel Coward and Gertrude Lawrence in the original 1930 production of Private Lives, Laurence Olivier, arguably the English language’s finest actor of the 20th Century, commanded the stage and screen for 60 years.  He is perhaps best beloved by his countrymen for directing and starring in a 1944 film adaptation of Shakespeare’s Henry V, commissioned by Winston Churchill to serve as a morale booster for British troops during the final months of World War II:

Four years later, he brought the most famous role of the English stage to the screen:

British theatre was changing in the 1950s with the rise of the Angry Young Man movement.  Olivier embraced this change by appearing as Archie Rice, a washed-up stage comic, in John Osborne’s The Entertainer:





About the Author

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Michael Dale After 20-odd years singing, dancing and acting in dinner theatres, summer stocks and the ever-popular audience participation murder mysteries (try improvising with audiences after they?ve had two hours of open bar), Michael Dale segued his theatrical ambitions into playwriting. The buildings which once housed the 5 Off-Off Broadway plays he penned have all been destroyed or turned into a Starbucks, but his name remains the answer to the trivia question, "Who wrote the official play of Babe Ruth's 100th Birthday?" He served as Artistic Director for The Play's The Thing Theatre Company, helping to bring free live theatre to underserved communities, and dabbled a bit in stage managing and in directing cabaret shows before answering the call (it was an email, actually) to become's first Chief Theatre Critic. While not attending shows Michael can be seen at Citi Field pleading for the Mets to stop imploding. Likes: Strong book musicals and ambitious new works. Dislikes: Unprepared celebrities making their stage acting debuts by starring on Broadway and weak bullpens.

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