Words: Will Stroude
It was the most important piece of LGBTQ theatre of 2018 - and quite possibly the decade - and Matthew Lopez's acclaimed gay stage epic The Inheritance was justly rewarded at the Olivier Awards in London on Sunday night (7 April).
The seven-hour, two-part play charting the interlocking lives of gay men in New York was one of the night's big winners alongside Company and Come From Away, taking home four awards, including 'Best New Play', 'Best Lighting Design' and 'Best Director' for Stephen Daldry.
The show's lead, American actor Kyle Soller, took home the 'Best Actor' gong for his portrayal of Eric Glass, the comfortable mid-thirties professional who begins to question his life and beliefs after the breakdown of his relationship and election of the United States' 45th President.
Soller, who is married to English actress Phoebe Fox, paid tribute to the gay men who lost their lives during the height of the Aids crisis and those who continue to risk death in countries such as Brunei as he collected his award.
“To the people that died during the AIDS epidemic, to those that were lost, to those who continue the fight in a world where you can still be stoned to death for loving who you love - thank you," he told the audience at the Royal Albert Hall.
The actor previously called for more LGBT stories to be told in mainstream theatre, saying earlier this year: “I think the more voices and the more writers that come forward and put on things like The Inheritance, the better.
“When you feel represented and see a piece of art or a film or some theatre or read a novel, and it’s being embraced by the public, that is unbelievably empowering and further change can then be made.
“The only way to inspire the younger people is to push and shove these stories into the centre spotlight, because they are there and they are amazing, they’re just not being told.”
Meanwhile, the West End revival of Stephen Sondheim's Company, which generated headlines after gender-swapping several key characters and putting an LGBT twist on the 1970 myusical, also picked up four awards on the night, including a 'Best Supporting Actor in a Musical' win for Jonathan Bailey, who touched on the LGBT schools row as he accepted his award.
You can read our interview with Matthew Lopez and the cast of The Inheritance here.
Check out the full list of winners from the Olivier Awards 2019 below - and for great deals on tickets for shows click here.
Best new play - The Inheritance
Best new musical - Come From Away
Best new comedy - Home, I'm Darling
Best revival - Summer and Smoke
Best musical revival - Company
Best director - Stephen Daldry (The Inheritance)
Best actor - Kyle Soller (The Inheritance)
Best actress - Patsy Ferran (Summer and Smoke)
Best supporting actor - Chris Walley (The Lieutenant of Inishmore)
Best supporting actress - Monica Dolan (All About Eve)
Best actor in a musical - Kobna Holdbrook-Smith (Tina: The Musical)
Best actress in a musical - Sharon D Clarke (Caroline or Change)
Best supporting actor in a musical - Jonathan Bailey (Company)
Best supporting actress in a musical - Patti LuPone (Company)
Best entertainment and family - A Monster Calls
Best set design - Bunny Christie (Company)
Best lighting - Jon Clark (The Inheritance)
Best new dance production - Blkdog
Best new opera - Katya Kabanova at Royal Opera House
Best costume design - Catherine Zuber (The King and I)
Best sound design - Gareth Owen (Come From Away)
Best theatre choreographer - Kelly Devine (Come From Away)
Outstanding achievement in music - Come From Away
Outstanding achievement in dance: Akram Khan (Xenos)
Outstanding achievement in opera - The ensemble of Porgy and Bess at London Coliseum
Outstanding achievement in affiliate theatre - Flesh and Bone at Soho theatre
Special award - Matthew Bourne