London theatre’s biggest blowout, the Olivier Awards, are this Sunday, at the Royal Albert Hall and on ITV shortly thereafter. Here’s our take on the chances of the five biggest contenders.
THE FRONTRUNNER ‘HAMILTON’
What is it? Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hip hop musical masterpiece about US founding father Alexander Hamilton.
How many nominations? 13.
How will it do? Can ‘Hamilton’s almost superhuman reputation translate into a record haul of Oliviers? Potentially: it’s up for 13 awards, and could take home ten. But while it’s virtually assured some gongs, it’s not a technically flashy production and may struggle in the creative categories.
‘Hamilton’ is at the Victoria Palace Theatre. Until Dec 15
THE CHALLENGER ‘FOLLIES’
What is it? the National Theatre’s big Sondheim revival.
How many nominations? Ten.
How will it do? Dominic Cooke’s tour de force production could conceivably end up the night’s biggest winner. Visually ravishing, it’s strong in the categories where ‘Hamilton’ is weak. Still, it’s probably the night’s great unknown: Best Musical Revival aside, it faces stiff competition in every category.
‘Follies’ will return to the National Theatre. Dates tba.
THE MEGA-HIT PLAY ‘THE FERRYMAN’
What is it? Jez Butterworth’s sprawling Northern Ireland-set tragedy.
How many nominations? Eight.
How will it do? ‘The Ferryman’ has been London’s most successful new piece of serious drama in aeons, running for almost a year, with two casts changes. That’s not the sort of thing that gets overlooked by the Oliviers these days, and Butterworth is all but assured the Best New Play win denied to him for ‘Jerusalem’. Sam Mendes is in with an extremely good shout of taking home Best Director, with his fame probably giving him the edge over chief rival Dominic Cooke.
‘The Ferryman’ is at the Gielgud Theatre. Until May 19.
THE DARK HORSE ‘ANGELS IN AMERICA’
What is it? The National Theatre’s starry revival of Tony Kushner’s magical realist Aids-era epic.
How many nominations? Six.
How will it do? Very difficult to say. A huge hit for the NT that scored warm London reviews, it nonetheless left town with a slight sense of failing to live up to all the hype. But it’s gone on to a much more rapturous Broadway reception, which may sway voters. Could win big, but could find that the Almeida’s ‘Hamlet’ (three nominations) encroaches on its turf.
‘Angels in America’ is on Broadway until Jun 30.
THE OUTSIDER ‘GIRL FROM THE NORTH COUNTRY’
What is it? Conor McPherson’s sort-of Bob Dylan musical.
How many nominations? Five.
How will it do? Strange, dark and wary of Dylan’s hits, ‘Girl from the North Country’ is not going to steal the night from ‘Hamilton’ or ‘Follies’. But it stands an excellent chance of bagging two major awards: Best Actress in a Musical (Shirley Henderson may well nab it from Imelda Staunton) and Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical (Sheila Atim has to be the favourite).
The Olivier Awards are on ITV1. Sun Apr 8, 10.20pm.
Follow Time Out’s live commentary @TimeOutTheatre. Sun Apr 8, from 6.30pm