Show Boat has garnered most nominations at the UK Theatre Awards 2016, which will be presented on Sunday 9 October at Guildhall, London, compered by Lesley Manville OBE.
The show, directed by Daniel Evans, as a Sheffield Theatres Production, has been nominated for Best Musical Production, where it faces competition from Flowers for Mrs Harris – also a Sheffield Theatres Production directed by Evans, plus Half a Sixpence directed by Rachel Kavanaugh, a Chichester Festival Theatre and Cameron Mackintosh production.
Supported by Bruno Wang Productions, Show Boat’s nomination for Best Design recognises the work of designer Lez Brotherston who told whatsonstage.com “We very much wanted to compare the glittery showbiz life to the hard-working black chorus; we wanted the atmosphere to convey life and its harsh reality.”
Best Supporting Performance nominations go to both Emmanuel Kojo (Joe) and Rebecca Trehearn (Julie La Verne). The Daily Telegraph review said of their performances: “Most powerfully of all, Emmanuel Kojo’s Joe, one of the black shiphands, lends Show Boat’s most famous song, Ol’ Man River, a magnificent note of plangent fatalism. It is a note that, through the song’s repeated refrain, throbs throughout the show like a sorrowful heartbeat. Rebecca Trehearn’s Julie, forced to end her career on the Cotton Blossom when it’s revealed that she is half negro and thus guilty of inter-racial marriage, lends a gorgeously deep, oaky quality to the musical’s second big musical moment, Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man.
At the ceremony, Sir Ian McKellen will be given the award for Outstanding Contribution to British Theatre in recognition of his “tireless work both in championing diversity and for his commitment to theatre, including touring productions, across the country”. McKellen will open in No Man’s Land with Patrick Stewart later this month.