Sweet Charity has tied with the big-budget musical The King & I to collect three titles at the Helpmann Awards in Sydney.
Aussie theatre stars such as Cate Blanchett shone alongside ambitious operas and musicals of all sizes as Australia’s performance industry took centre stage at the Helpmann Awards.
Everyone from Strictly Ballroom director Baz Luhrmann to The King & I star Lisa McCune to Geoffrey Rush turned out to recognise and celebrate the 14th annual Helpmann Awards in Sydney on Monday night.
Sweet Charity showed that size doesn’t matter, with the Sydney show tying with big-budget The King & I with three awards, winning awards for direction, choreography and best female actor in the musical categories.
The King & I won the coveted Best Musical, along with gongs for Best Sound Design and Best Costume Design – beating out Academy Award winner Catherine Martin.
But Baz Luhrmann’s talented other half’s creations were on show with Strictly Ballroom the Musical one of those performing on the night. Luhrmann’s dazzling production won one award, with veteran Aussie performer Heather Mitchell winning for Best Female Supporting Actor in a Musical.
Opera Australia was the most successful company, leading the pack with a total of nine awards throughout the night – six awarded to ambitious opera The Melbourne Ring Cycle and three through it’s partnership with John Frost on The King & I.
Meanwhile Sydney Theatre Company won five awards, including acting gongs for Richard Roxburgh and Cate Blanchett for their roles in Waiting for Godot and The Maids respectively.
McCune, who missed out on Best Female Actor in a Musical to Sweet Charity’s Verity Hunt-Ballard, said earlier on Monday that the Helpmann’s “are a celebration of our industry.”
“It’s lovely to get a gong if you do, but if you don’t, I mean god Opera Australia have given me the greatest gift ever by the roles that I’ve had for the last couple of years, so I’m completely happy with that,” she told AAP.
And McCune thinks the vibe of the Helpmann’s is one of joy rather than pitting people against one another.
“We’re so appreciative to be working in these wonderful jobs in this wonderful industry,” she says.
“(And) I must say as I get older one of the things I do love is I love seeing new talent come to floor…
“It’s an exciting thing, because we want our industry to keep getting better.
“And we get better when we support each other and we bring people from the outside and we grow.”
2014 HELPMANN AWARD WINNERS:
Best Male Actor in a Supporting Role in a Play
Luke Mullins – Waiting for Godot (Sydney Theatre Company)
Best Female Actor in a Supporting Role in a Play
Robyn Nevin – Angels In America (Belvoir)
Best Male Actor in a Supporting Role in a Musical
Reg Livermore – Wicked (Marc Platt, David Stone, Universal Pictures, The Araca Group, Jon B. Platt, John Frost)
Best Female Actor in a Supporting Role in a Musical
Heather Mitchell – Strictly Ballroom The Musical (Global Creatures)
Best Costume Design
Roger Kirk – The King and I (Opera Australia and John Frost)
Best Scenic Design
Gabriela Tylesova – Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (Sydney Theatre Company)
Best Lighting Design
Nick Schlieper – Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (Sydney Theatre Company)
Best Sound Design
Michael Waters – The King and I (Opera Australia and John Frost)
Best Male Performer in a Supporting Role in an Opera
Warwick Fyfe – The Melbourne Ring Cycle (Opera Australia)
Best Female Performer in a Supporting Role in an Opera
Jacqueline Dark – The Melbourne Ring Cycle (Opera Australia)
Best Comedy Performer
Sam Simmons in Sam Simmons – Death Of A Sails-Man (Token Events)
Best Cabaret Performer
Sarah Ward – Yana Alana Between The Cracks (Ebony Bott at fortyfivedownstairs)
Best International Contemporary Concert
Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band 2014 (Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band & Frontier Touring)
Best Contemporary Music Festival
Bluesfest Byron Bay 2014 (Bluesfest)
Best Australian Contemporary Concert
Hunters & Collectors (Hunters & Collectors, Frontier Touring and Roundhouse Entertainment)
Best Choreography in a Dance or Physical Theatre Work
Stephanie Lake – A Small Prometheus (Melbourne Festival, Arts House and Insite Arts)
Best Choreography in a Musical
Andrew Hallsworth – Sweet Charity (Luckiest Productions & Neil Gooding Productions in association with Hayes Theatre Co.)
Best Direction of a Musical
Dean Bryant – Sweet Charity (Luckiest Productions & Neil Gooding Productions in association with Hayes Theatre Co.)
Best Direction of an Opera
Neil Armfield – The Melbourne Ring Cycle (Opera Australia)
Best Direction of a Play
Michael Kantor – The Shadow King (Malthouse Theatre in association with the Confederation of Australian International Arts Festivals – Adelaide Festival, Brisbane Festival, Melbourne Festival, Perth International Arts Festival and Sydney Festival)
Best Male Performer in an Opera
Terje Stensvold – The Melbourne Ring Cycle (Opera Australia)
Best Female Performer in an Opera
Christine Goerke – Elektra (Sydney Symphony Orchestra)
Best Original Score
Iain Grandage – When Time Stops (Expressions Dance Company and Queensland Performing Arts Centre in association with Brisbane Festival)
Best Individual Classical Music Performance
Julia Lezhneva – Julia Lezhneva with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra (Hobart Baroque)
Best Chamber and/or Instrumental Ensemble Concert
The Jerusalem Project (Melbourne Recital Centre and Sydney Opera House)
Best Symphony Orchestra Concert
Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (Arts Centre Melbourne, Perth Concert Hall, Queensland Performing Arts Centre and Sydney Opera House)
Best Music Direction
Pietari Inkinen – The Melbourne Ring Cycle (Opera Australia)
Best Regional Touring Production
Jack Charles V The Crown (ILBIJERRI Theatre Company toured by Performing Lines)
Best Special Event
Vivid Sydney 2013 (Destination NSW)
Best Presentation for Children
Pinocchio (Windmill Theatre & State Theatre Company of South Australia)
Best New Australian Work
Rosemary Myers with Julianne OBrien – Pinocchio (Windmill Theatre & State Theatre Company of South Australia)
Best Visual or Physical Theatre Production
Whelping Box (Branch Nebula, Matt Prest & Clare Britton, produced by Intimate Spectacle & Performing Lines, presented by Performance Space & Arts House)
Best Male Dancer in a Dance or Physical Theatre Work
James Vu Anh Pham – 247 Days (Chunky Move)
Best Female Dancer in a Dance or Physical Theatre Work
Charmene Yap – 2 in D Minor as part of Interplay (Sydney Dance Company)
Best Male Actor in a Musical
Craig McLachlan – Richard O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Show (Howard Panter for Ambassador Theatre Group & John Frost)
Best Female Actor in a Musical
Verity Hunt-Ballard – Sweet Charity (Luckiest Productions & Neil Gooding Productions in association with Hayes Theatre Co.)
Best Male Actor in a Play
Richard Roxburgh – Waiting For Godot (Sydney Theatre Company)
Best Female Actor in a Play
Cate Blanchett – The Maids (Sydney Theatre Company)
The Melbourne Ring Cycle (Opera Australia)
Angels In America (Belvoir)
Best Ballet or Dance Work
Chroma (The Australian Ballet)
The King and I (Opera Australia and John Frost)