Sir Ian McKellen has been recognized at the WhatsOnStage Awards for his fundraising efforts on behalf of theaters and arts organisations.
The 82-year-old actor received the Services to Theater award to celebrate his long career, which has seen him star in countless productions, including a return to the stage last year as Shakespeare’s Hamlet, 50 years later having played the doomed Danish prince for the first time.
The ceremony, held at the Prince of Wales Theater in London’s West End on Sunday night, also saw Eddie Redmayne, Lily Allen and James McAvoy receive top awards.
The West End musical Frozen topped the pack with seven wins from its 13 nominations, including best direction for Michael Grandage and best set design and best costume design for Christopher Oram.
It also won Best Choreography, Best Video Design, Best Musical Direction or Supervision, and Best Graphic Design.
However, the coveted Best New Musical award went to Back To The Future.
The stage version of the cult 1980s film also won three other awards – Best Male Performer in a Musical for Hugh Coles, Best Lighting Design and Best Sound Design.
Redmayne won best male performer in a music award for his portrayal of Emcee, the flamboyant emcee, in Cabaret, while former WhatsOnStage award winner Carrie Hope Fletcher won the female equivalent for her role in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cinderella.
Anything Goes triumphed in the Best Musical Revival category, while Carly Mercedes Dyer received the Best Supporting Female award for her role in the series.
Dominating the straight acting categories was 2:22 A Ghost Story, a supernatural thriller from Danny Robins about four friends caught up in a night of high tension, which picked up three wins including Best New Play.
Singer Allen was named best female performer in a play for her West End debut, while EastEnders star Jake Wood won best male performer in a supporting role.
Cyrano de Bergerac, which has just been adapted for the cinema with Peter Dinklage, won the prize for best play. X-Men actor McAvoy received the Best Male Performer award for his critically acclaimed role in the play.
Rounding out the Stage Actor categories, Akiya Henry won Best Supporting Actress for his role in The Tragedy of Macbeth.
The 22nd Annual WhatsOnStage Awards was hosted by Jodie Prenger and Tom Read Wilson.
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Sarah Coleman of WhatsOnStage said: “The awards are a testament to the brilliance and resilience of an industry which, even in the darkest times of the past two years, kept the faith and carried on.
“The breadth of talent being honored – at the first major theater awards to return in the midst of post-pandemic – demonstrates that theater is back, and more.
“And today, we also honor the public who stuck with us and who voted this year in numbers never seen before. We are nothing without them and are extremely grateful for their unwavering support. Together, we are rebuilding our industry. .
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