The Oliviers honor achievements in London theater, musicals, dance and opera.
Held for the past few years as an industry dinner, the awards were relaunched this year as a glitzy stage show, with performances by West End stars, dance troupes and Barry Manilow, who performed “Copacabana” to a startled but enthusiastic audience.
The evening closed with Angela Lansbury presenting the Olivier Special Award _ a lifetime achievement prize _ to 80-year-old composer and lyricist Sondheim.
If proof were needed of his continuing popularity, a production of Sondheim’s “Into the Woods” at the Open Air Theatre in London’s Regent’s Park was named best musical revival.
Winners in most categories are chosen by a panel of theater professionals and members of the public
The publicly voted prize for most popular show went to Queen musical “We Will Rock You.” Guitarist Brian May noted the show is still running 10 years after opening to “the (worst) reviews ever known to mankind” _ using an expletive instead of “worst.”