This show has been named the best in the West End

Normally, theatre awards are a mysterious business, with major showbiz gongs handed out by shadowy panels of industry insiders. But the WhatsOnStage Awards are an altogether different affair, because its winners selected by public vote amidst much online fanfare.

In years gone by, this approach has yielded some slightly odd results: reflecting the fact that canny shows can mobilise their fanbases on social media in order to rake in the accolades. Still, it’s hard to argue with this year’s big winner.

Hotshot director Jamie Lloyd’s stunning take on Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ‘Sunset Boulevard’ landed a whopping five stars in Time Out, with theatre critic Andrzej Lukowski praising its ‘wonderfully weird and audacious’ approach. Now, it’s landed seven wins at the 2024 edition of the WhatsOnStage Awards, with its star Nicole Scherzinger being anointed as best performer, and Lloyd being named best director. 

However, Sunset Boulevard didn’t manage to land the coveted best musical gong, which went to ‘Cabaret’ at Playhouse Theatre. It’s arguably a bit weird for the title of best musical to go to a show that’s been open for well over two years, instead of celebrating fresh blood in the West End.

But unlike other awards, the WhatsOnStage Awards have categories specifically designed to celebrate long-running shows. And they also delve much deeper than most awards around, highlighting backstage talent as well as regional and small-scale shows that don’t get a look in elsewhere.

Curious to see the full rundown of 2024’s awards? Here are this year’s winners, so you can get inspo for your next theatre trip. And if you don’t agree, well, get your votes in next year: this is democracy in action.

Best Supporting Performer in a Play

Luke Thompson, ‘A Little Life’, Harold Pinter Theatre / Savoy Theatre

Best Lighting Design 

Jack Knowles, ‘Sunset Boulevard’, Savoy Theatre

Best Takeover Performance

Aimee Lou Wood, ‘Cabaret’, Kit Kat Club at the Playhouse Theatre

Best Graphic Design

Muse Creative, ‘Guys and Dolls’, Bridge Theatre

Best Professional Debut Performance

Grace Hodgett Young, ‘Sunset Boulevard’, Savoy Theatre

Best Choreography

Matt Cole, ‘Disney’s Newsies’, Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre

Best Musical Direction/Supervision

Alan Williams, ‘Sunset Boulevard’, Savoy Theatre

Best Costume Design

Ryan Dawson Laight, ‘La Cage aux Folles’, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre

Best Video Design

Nathan Amzi and Joe Ransom, ‘Sunset Boulevard’, Savoy Theatre

Best Casting Direction

Jill Green, ‘The Little Big Things’, @sohoplace

Best Play Revival

‘VANYA’, Duke of York’s Theatre

Best Performer in a Play

James Norton, ‘A Little Life’, Harold Pinter Theatre / Savoy Theatre

Best Off-West End Production

‘Flowers for Mrs Harris’, Riverside Studios

Best Sound Design

Adam Fisher, ‘Sunset Boulevard’, Savoy Theatre

Best Set Design

Bunny Christie, ‘Guys and Dolls’, Bridge Theatre

Best Concert Event

‘Love Never Dies in Concert’, Theatre Royal Drury Lane

Best Supporting Performer in a Musical

Jack Wolfe, ‘Next to Normal’, Donmar Warehouse

Best Regional Production

‘The Lord of the Rings’, The Watermill Theatre

Best Direction

Jamie Lloyd, ‘Sunset Boulevard’, Savoy Theatre

Best West End Show

‘Cabaret’, Kit Kat Club at the Playhouse Theatre

Best Performer in a Musical

Nicole Scherzinger, ‘Sunset Boulevard’, Savoy Theatre

Best Musical Revival

‘Guys and Dolls’, Bridge Theatre

Best New Play

‘Stranger Things: The First Shadow’, Phoenix Theatre, by Kate Trefry with original story by Jack Thorne, Kate Trefry and the Duffer Brothers

Best New Musical

‘Operation Mincemeat’, Fortune Theatre, with music, book and lyrics by SpitLip, composed of David Cumming, Felix Hagan, Natasha Hodgson and Zoë Roberts

Planning a night in the stalls? Check out Time Out’s latest theatre recommendations.

Listen to Time Out’s brilliant podcast ‘Love Thy Neighbourhood’: the newest episode with Saoirse-Monica Jackson in Soho is out now.

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