OLIVIERS 2014: Live Blog!
It's the biggest night in the West End theatre calendar - the great and the good are gathered in Covent Garden to celebrate the best stage work of the last year.
Stick with us throughout the night for all the winners, as well as gossip from the Party in the Piazza, and a running commentary on the TV highlights show!
11.52pm: Time for the Mamma Mia! celebration. Benny and Bjorn look so happy to be singing 'Thank You For The Music', which kicks in to a medley, obviously, with the whole cast in full costume. Big bows all round, and that's the end of the 28th Olivier Awards. Hope you enjoyed them, and our coverage - see you back here in June for the Tonys? Goodnight!
11.45pm: Hooray, it's Benny and Bjorn! I still genuinely believe Chess to have one of the best scores ever. They say they are delighted to be at the Oliviers to mark 15 years of Mamma Mia!, and also note that it's been 40 years since they won Eurovision. That gets a big round of applause. They hand over Best Musical to The Book of Mormon team.
11.35pm: Bernadette Peters in her special guest turn - performing 'Losing My Mind' from Follies. The Oliviers do seem to like to do this - a few big-name folk with no obvious connections to the awards or the show (like Matthew Morrison last year) but crowd-pleasing stuff none the less. Also, good for rumours about what West End show they might be over for...
11.26pm: Best Musical nominee The Scottboro Boys perform next. They'll be back in the West End this autumn.
11.22pm: Oh, Barbara Windsor is accompanied to the stage by Richard Fleeshman, and she is so happy. Bless her. Zrinka Cvitesic has a beautiful fluffy white dress on. She makes an adorable comment about winning the Best Actress in a Musical award and not even singing or dancing this evening.
11.15pm: Here's Elaine Paige and the high-kicking wonder that is Anna-Jane Casey to present the Audience Award to Les Mis.
11.08pm: The Audience Award showcase - Matilda singing 'Quiet', and the company of Phantom 'Masquerading' through the aisle on to the stage.
11.01pm: All the less high-profile awards get a 10-second soundbite for their thank-yous. Ouch.
10.58pm: Best Director Lyndsey Turner wonders if her mum is crying because of the award or because it's the first time she's seen her in a dress since her first Holy Communion.
10.54pm: Stephen Mangan is rightly proud of himself for getting Zrinka Cvitesic's name right as he introduces the cast of Once.
10.51pm: Lesley Manville says the other Best Actress nominees are not just talented, but are lovely women, and she is privileged to know them all. That's a sweet touch.
10.48pm: Gavin Creel is in a bright blue jacket to accept his award. Shame that the ITV captions misspell the word "Mormon". He thanks his dresser. I'm sorry, Gavin, your speech thanking your dresser is never going to be as good as Sutton Foster's at the Tonys.
10.47pm: I quite want to offer Gemma Arterton a hairslide. Her beautiful locks keep dropping over her eyes.
10.43pm: More whooping for the cast of Les Mis, and the theatre fans rush to the front of the stage to film 'One Day More' on the phones.
10.41pm: Willemijn Verkaik is on the balcony at the Piazza, while people also up there try to pretend that there isn't a witch belting out Defying Gravity next to them.
Kathryn says: "Definitely a load of Wicked fans in Covent Garden...can tell from the high-pitched 'wooooos'!"
10.40pm: Highlights from the Piazza - Myleene and Michael are surrounded by lots of young people, most of whom have very lovely and shiny hair.
10.35pm: Rory Kinnear calls playing Iago at the National one of the most thrilling experiences of his life, and thanks Adrian Lester for his portrayal of Othello. Then there's lots of awwws as he thanks his partner, who gave birth to their baby three weeks ago. And then gasps and giggles as he explains just how tired they are.
10.33pm: Gemma Arterton is really good at this hosting lark. She even puts in a little Kathleen Turner impression!
10.30pm: As Gavin Creel and co perform 'I Believe', some more reading for you - in case you missed the Party in the Piazza earlier, our reporter Gary Naylor was there. Here's his write-up of the show.
10.27pm: Director of Ghosts Richard Eyre regales us with a tale of missing his plane and riding his motorbike and being mistaken for Peter Stringfellow.
10.22pm: Arterton and Mangan make their way down the aisles to the stage, and begin their spiel with jokes about Downton Abbey, and the girls and the gays loving musicals.
10.19pm: We begin with some Oompa-Loompaing, followed by Alex Jennings singing 'Pure Imagination' with a quartet of identically-dressed Charlie Buckets.
Kathryn Pintus notes: "Nice to see all four Charlies performing - not seen the show yet, but looking forward to it. Can't say that first song inspired me, though! Oompa Loompas are cleverly done, just not a fan of the song! However, Pure Imagination is a classic!"
10.17pm: I'm so proud that we have to preface our theatre awards with warnings for strong language.
The Olivier Award Winning Musical, Once. #Nice- David Hunter (@thedavidhunter) April 13, 2014
10.15pm: All sitting comfortably? Well, after the weather forecast for the week, it's time for the highlights of the ceremony.
'The Scottsboro Boys' lost Best Musical to 'The Book of Mormon' and went home empty-handed. It's 2011 all over again. #OlivierAwards- Kevin Daly (@kevinddaly) April 13, 2014
And while we're on the subject of Best Musical, Kathryn comments: "My pick for Best New Musical was Once. Beautifully simple, heartbreakingly real. Loved it."
9.45pm: Our reviewer Kathryn Pintus is pleased for the Best Actor and Actress in a Musical: "Thrilled for Zrinka and Gavin - both very different performances, both stars. Zrinka has such heart, depth and passion, and Gavin is loveable, amusing and full of energy. Thoroughly enjoyed both of their performances and hope to see them again."
9.42pm: Ready for the big Mamma Mia!-themed finale? Well, we can all see it on the highlights show on ITV1 in about half an hour. We'll be blogging on - let us know your thoughts on the show!
9.41pm: Olivier-nominated choreographer Andrew Wright:
Congratulations to all the nominees and winners tonight. #Oliviers2014- Andrew Wright (@AndrewWright5) April 13, 2014
9.36pm: Ah, our reviewer Natalie O'Donoghue is one of the folk not best pleased that Rosalie Craig missed out:
Rosalie Craig was ROBBED #Oliviers2014- Natalie O'Donoghue (@Nataliealana87) April 13, 2014
9.32pm: Well, there were some surprises in there, but all in all there were some consistent big winners again - the Almeida will be delighted with their eight wins for their plays Ghosts and Chimerica, and The Book of Mormon got four overall.
9.30pm: And Best New Musical is The Book of Mormon.
9.29pm: Probably not that surprising bearing in mind what's gone before - Best New Play is Chimerica!
9.26pm: And we're down to the big two at the end of the show now - Best New Play and Best New Musical. Who's your money on?
9.23pm: Time for a turn from the one and only Bernadette Peters!
9.18pm: Zrinka Cvitesic accepts the award for Best Actress in a Musical from the absolutely legendary Barbara Windsor. I think this category and decision might be the most hotly-debated now - it was a very tough one, to my mind, with Rosalie Craig, Jenna Russell and Charlotte Wakefield also nominated. Certainly the fans of The Light Princess were hoping for a win for Craig; even those who didn't enjoy the show have been extremely complimentary about her performance.
9.16pm: Yes, OK, Lesli...we'll never forget your 2009 win for Zorro!
9.15pm: Robert Lindsay - Best Actor in a Musical 30 years ago for his role in Me and My Girl - presents this year's award to Gavin Creel for The Book of Mormon.
9.13pm: Our reviewer Kathryn Pintus on Merrily's Best Musical Revival win: "Am pleased for Merrily - it was an intelligent, insightful piece, but I would like to have seen The Sound of Music win Best Revival. I am not an avid Sondheim fan - I adored A Little Night Music, and thoroughly enjoyed Into the Woods, but some of his other work does not resonate with me, Merrily among them. However, I know many who raved about it, so perhaps I missed something! It was certainly packed with fantastic performances, particularly from Jenna Russell, Mark Umbers and Josefina Gabrielle. Perhaps The Sound of Music has been around too recently in the West End to truly pack a punch, but I loved the outdoor setting, which brought much of the story to life, particularly during the concert scene. But congrats to Merrily, and all cast and crew involved!"
9.11pm: Stephen Ashfield wins Best Supporting Performance in a Musical for his role in The Book of Mormon!
9.07pm: Time for the In Memoriam montage.
9.04pm: Our reviewer Kathryn Pintus on Les Mis's Audience Award win: "I love Les Mis, and it's a West End classic, but I would like to have seen Matilda win - full of life, energy, humour and warmth. Still - the audiences have spoken! Congratulations, Les Mis."
9.02pm: It had to be, really - Merrily We Roll Along wins Best Musical Revival.
8.56pm: Beverley Knight is the next presenter on the stage, for Best Choreographer. to Book of Mormon's Casey Nicholaw, and Outstanding Achievement in Music, to Once.
We couldn't have done it without all of you amazing people who voted for us! This award is for YOU! #Oliviers- LES MISERABLES (@lesmisofficial) April 13, 2014
8.45pm: A thought from our reviewer Kathryn Pintus, which I think a lot of readers will identify with: "I'm thrilled the awards are getting a spot on mainstream TV [a highlights show on ITV1 at 10.15pm], but I hope some year the entire event will be televised. The Oliviers are a true celebration of British theatre and should be made fully accessible to all, just as the BAFTAs, Golden Globes & Oscars are for film and TV."
8.40pm: Dame Gillian Lynne and Marianela Nunez present the dance awards.
Congratulations to Michael Hulls! He has won the Outstanding Achievement In Dance award! #olivers- Olivier Awards (@OlivierAwards) April 13, 2014
8.38pm: And Ruth Wilson presents Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre to the Tricycle.
8.34pm: It's Les Miserables! That's the second time they've won this prize!
8.31pm: Now, who'll take that BBC Radio Two Audience Award?
8.30pm: Another win for Chimerica! Best director goes to Lyndsey Turner.
8.27pm: The first performance of the second act will be tenor Joseph Calleja.
7.58pm: We're about to draw the first part of the show to a conclusion with a musical performance - Matilda, followed by the evergreen Phantom of the Opera.
7.56pm: And it goes to Lesley Manville! Thoroughly deserved for her critically acclaimed performance in Ghosts, she's obviously delighted.
7.55pm: And last year's best actor winner Luke Treadaway is here to present Best Actress.
7.54pm: Rory Kinnear wins, and that'll be a relief to all tables in London as one of his castmate just tweeted:
Fair warning: if Rory Kinnear doesn't win tonight I will turn over every table in London.- Jon Dryden Taylor (@jondrytay) April 13, 2014
7.53pm: It's Kathleen Turner! Here to present Best Actor.
7.46pm: First special award of the evening is about to be presented.
Delighted that Nigel Planer & Kate Moss are here to give this award to its worthy recipient, legendary producer Michael White. #oliviers- Olivier Awards (@OlivierAwards) April 13, 2014
7.38pm: Our reporter Gary is very complimentary about the evening's hosts, Stephen Mangan and Gemma Arterton, as they throw over to the Piazza and a live performance from the cast of Wicked!
Wicked Witch joins us! pic.twitter.com/1DQc0tDL1J- Gary Naylor (@garynaylor999) April 13, 2014
What a well deserved win - English Touring Opera take the Outstanding Achievement In Opera Award. #oliviers- Olivier Awards (@OlivierAwards) April 13, 2014
Outstanding Achievement in Opera to English Touring Opera, a magnificent company whose work I have seen at Hackney Empire.- Gary Naylor (@garynaylor999) April 13, 2014
Lesley Garrett presents the Olivier for Best New Opera to Les Vespres Sicilliennes at the ROH. Operas have impressed in 2013- Gary Naylor (@garynaylor999) April 13, 2014
7.25pm: And now a performance from the cast of Once, nominated for Best New Musical.
7.22pm: Who'll pick up Best New Play? The audience get a little taster from each of the nominees with a short film.
7.18pm: Jeeves and Wooster: Perfect Nonsense wins Best New Comedy! Our reviewer Adrian Bradley went to see it when it opened; and chief reviewer Gary Naylor will be casting his eyes over the new cast just after Easter.
7.17pm: We interviewed Will Kemp of Olivier-winning The Wind in the Willows just as it transferred to the West End - the Royal Opera House's first ever transfer!
Best Entertainment / Family Show is being milked by [presenter] Alastair McGowan. Winner - Wind in the Willows- Gary Naylor (@garynaylor999) April 13, 2014
7.12pm: And yet another win for the Almeida! Es Devlin wins Best Set Design for Chimerica.
Best Set Design to Chimerica. Es Devlin also did the amazing set for I Can't Sing at the Palladium.- Gary Naylor (@garynaylor999) April 13, 2014
And the set design at the Royal Opera House this evening!
7.10pm: Best Costume Design goes to Mark Thompson for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
7.03pm: Time for another musical interlude - this time from The Scottboro Boys.
7.01pm: Same thing has happened for Sound Design! Caroline Downing wins for Chimerica; Gareth Owen wins for Merrily We Roll Along.
Wow - the judges couldn't choose between the nominees so we have 2 winners for Best Lighting Design! #oliviers- Olivier Awards (@OlivierAwards) April 13, 2014
6.55pm: The Book of Mormon has already got a plethora of Tonys to its name - can it add a few Oliviers? They showcase their wares for us.
Girl near me mouthing along to every word of the song. Must be a fan!- Gary Naylor (@garynaylor999) April 13, 2014
6.51pm: Here's our last chat with Olivier winner Sharon D Clarke - during her stint at the Hackney Empire just before Christmas.
Best Actress in a Supporting Role is Sharon D Clarke whom I last saw at The Hackney Empire. Amen Corner the show.- Gary Naylor (@garynaylor999) April 13, 2014
Best Actor in Supporting Role goes to Jack Lowden in Ghosts (again). Fringe 2 West End 0 so far. Won't stay that way!- Gary Naylor (@garynaylor999) April 13, 2014
6.45pm: James McAvoy presents Best Revival to Ghosts.
6.37pm: Hosts Stephen Mangan and Gemma Arterton are on stage, ready to compere the rest of the evening.
Stephen Mangan and Gemma Arterton hosting. Gemma makes a goodish gag welcoming all the women and gay men watching at home.- Gary Naylor (@garynaylor999) April 13, 2014
Of course, the TV broadcast isn't live - it'll be on air later.
6.32pm: The Oliviers ceremony begins with a performance from the cast of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, nominated for Best New Musical. Check out our preview of the category. Douglas Hodge, in the role of Willy Wonka, is nominated for Best Actor in a Musical.
6.29pm: The party is continuing out in Covent Garden, though:
Avenue Q live. pic.twitter.com/XEsP2gNM63- Gary Naylor (@garynaylor999) April 13, 2014
6.28pm: The red carpet is about to be rolled up as the ceremony is about to begin. If you don't want spoilers, look away now and stay away for the rest of the evening!
6.26pm: Some slips and glitches in the script according to Gary in the Piazza - but host Michael Xavier is quick to say: "We didn't rehearse anything!"
Crowd loved the big Les Mis anthem. Which shows that the big outdoor stage needs big belting songs.- Gary Naylor (@garynaylor999) April 13, 2014
6.15pm: It's now time for the Les Miserables showcase on the Piazza stage, and Gary reports that's met with the biggest cheer so far.
Myleene and Michael in pink and yellow. pic.twitter.com/Z6Fzede6bL- Gary Naylor (@garynaylor999) April 13, 2014
6.05pm: Our Liverpudlian correspondent reports:
Myleene Klass has just told us that Michael Xavier is from Liverpool! There is no clue in his voice!- Gary Naylor (@garynaylor999) April 13, 2014
5.55pm: Big cheers in the Piazza when there's an ad for Wicked on the big screen.
5.48pm: Gary isn't impressed with the acoustics in the Piazza - he can't hear the little Matilda currently performing 'Naughty' on the stage!
5.40pm: Are you at the Party in the Piazza? Tweet us @BroadwayWorldUK with your pics and comments!
Slightly surprised to have been here 15 minutes and not seen a streetdance act. Usually turn up more frequently than tubes.- Gary Naylor (@garynaylor999) April 13, 2014
The view this evening. pic.twitter.com/QBlxPn8S11- Gary Naylor (@garynaylor999) April 13, 2014
5.30pm: Gary Naylor: "West End Gospel choir all in black have moved things up a notch or two from the Saturday night cruise ship atmosphere."
5.25pm: Our reporter Gary Naylor is in the Piazza, and informs us: "Made it to Covent Garden where Mylene Klass is on stage in a Schiaparelli pink gown with someone who looks like David Beckham." Would that be the inimitable Mr Xavier?
5pm: Good evening, all. So - are you excited for this year's Olivier Awards? Who are you tipping for the big prizes? It's likely to be a packed evening - the Party in the Piazza, with performances from the shows nominated for the BBC Radio Two Audience Award, begins now, hosted by Michael Xavier and Myleene Klass; the ceremony starts at 6.30pm, and then from 10.15pm there'll be TV highlights on ITV1. And I'll be here for the duration.