Words: Steve Brown
The new musical & Juliet - which features songs by Max Martin - has taken home six gongs at the WhatsOnStage Awards.
& Juliet takes a new twist on the classic Shakespeare story and follows Juliet’s sensational journey of self-discovery and second chances.
The new musical is told through some of the most iconic pop anthems including ‘…Baby One More Time’, ‘Since U Been Gone’, ‘Roar’, ‘Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)’, ‘Love Me Like You Do’ and ‘Can’t Feel Me Face’.
And over the weekend, the musical - which plays at the Shaftesbury Theatre until 30 May 2020. For tickets, visit here - took home six out of the 13 nominations it received at the WhatsOnStage Awards.
Miriam-Teak Lee, who stars as the titular character, took home best actress in a musical and the show also received awards for technical categories such as sound, lighting, costume and set design.
The musical has been praised for its gender-inclusive characters including May - played by Arun Blair-Mangat - who, while appearing in Attitude's February Travel issue, told us how May's gender-identity storyline marks the first time a mainstream musical has featured this.
He said: “May’s gender-identity storyline is front and centre in a way I’ve never seen in a mainstream musical before.
“To allow May to be May without having to stick a label on it speaks volumes to me.
“I spoke to a lot of my non-binary and queer friends about whether it was right to take the role, and they think it’s incredible.
“His trajectory has been pretty consistent but, as society has evolved, it’s kind of informed the role and made us braver with it.
“I feel proud to step on stage every night and share May’s journey. Hopefully, people are seeing versions of themselves within May."
Other winners of the night included Andrew Scott - who took home best actor in a play for Present Laughter - and Dear Evan Hansen won two major prizes - best actor for Sam Tutty and best supporting actor for Jack Loxton.
See the full list of winners below:
Best actor in a play - Andrew Scott, Present Laughter
Best actress in a play - Claire Foy, Lungs
Best actor in a musical - Sam Tutty, Dear Evan Hansen
Best actress in a musical - Miriam-Teak Lee, & Juliet
Best supporting actor in a play - Hammed Animashaun, A Midsummer Night's Dream
Best supporting actress in a play - Sophie Thompson, Present Laughter
Best supporting actor in a musical - Jack Loxton, Dear Evan Hansen
Best supporting actress in a musical - Rachel Tucker, Come From Away
Best new play - Life of Pi
Best new musical - Come From Away
Best play revival - Betrayal
Best musical revival - Mary Poppins
Best direction - Jamie Lloyd, Evita
Best musical direction - Ian Eisendrath, Alan Berry and team, Come From Away
Audience award - Six
Best choreography - Kelly Devine, Come From Away
Best costume design - Paloma Young, & Juliet
Best graphic direction - Dewynters, & Juliet
Best set design - Soutra Gilmour, & Juliet
Best lighting design - Howard Hudson, & Juliet
Best sound design - Gareth Owen, Come From Away
Best video design - Andrzej Goulding, & Juliet
Best off-West End production - Falsettos
Best regional production - The Color Purple
Equity award for services to theatre - ERA 50:5