Chimerica, Mojo and Once head NHB nominees at WhatsOnStage Awards 2014

Friday, December 06, 2013

The shortlists for the publicly-voted WhatsOnStage Awards 2014 were announced today (6 December), with Once (four nominations), Chimerica and Mojo (three nominations each) heading an extensive collection of Nick Hern Books nominees.

Once, the charming and irresistable musical based on the Academy Award-winning film, is nominated for Best New Musical. With a book by NHB author Enda Walsh, and music and Lyrics by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglová, Once tells the story of an Irish busker and a young Czech woman who meet on the streets of Dublin, and strike up an intense, blossoming friendship grounded in a shared love of songwriting. The production, which opened at the Phoenix Theatre in March, is also nominated for Best Original Music, Best Actress in a Musical (Zrinka Cvitesic) and Best Actor in a Musical (Declan Bennett).

Lucy Kirkwood's gripping thriller Chimerica is shortlisted for Best New Play. A gripping political examination and engaging personal drama about an American photojournalist searching for the subject of his most famous photograph - the mysterious Tinananmen Square Tank Man, Chimerica transferred to the Harold Pinter Theatre after a sell-out run at the Almeida Theatre in the summer. It is also nominated for Best Supporting Actress in a Play (Claudie Blakley) and Best Set Designer (Es Devlin). Chimerica will be hoping to add to its awards success, having recently scooped the Evening Standard Award for Best Play.

Also nominated for Best New Play is Rory Kinnear's powerful family drama The HerdA witty and heartfelt look at a family falling apart – and pulling together – when life doesn’t turn out quite the way they imagined, this powerful debut play premiered at the Bush Theatre in September. Rory Kinnear is also shortlisted for Best Actor in a Play for his performance as Iago in the National Theatre's production of Othello.

Mojo, Jez Butterworth's slick, violent black comedy set in 1950s Soho, is nominated for Best Play Revival. The hit debut play by the author of Jerusalem, Mojo won the Olivier Award for Best New Comedy when it premiered at the Royal Court in 1995. The new production, the play's first major revival, opened at the Harold Pinter Theatre in October. Mojo is also nominated for Best Supporting Actor in a Play (Daniel Mays) and London Newcomer of the Year (Rupert Grint).

Two other NHB plays are also nominated for Best Play RevivalThe Pride by Alexi Kaye Campbell and The Weir by Conor McPherson. Alexi Kaye Campbell's The Pride, a striking debut drama that addresses changing attitudes to sexuality across half a century, was revived at the Trafalgar Studios as part of the Trafalgar Transformed season earlier this year, and is also nominated for Best Actress in a Play (Hayley Atwell). Conor McPherson's modern classic chiller The Weir, which won the Olivier Award for Best New Play when it debuted at the Royal Court in 1997, is also nominated for Best Ensemble Performance. The new production transfers to Wyndham's Theatre from January, having been revived at the Donmar Warehouse in April.

Howard Brenton's #aiww: The Arrest of Ai Weiwei is nominated for Best Off-West End Production. Based on Barnaby Martin's book Hanging Man, Howard Brenton's drama tells the true story of the Nobel Laureate's eighty-one-day imprisonment by the Chinese authorities, a story by turns surreal, hilarious, and terrifying. The play premiered at Hampstead Theatre in April. It made headlines when a special live-streamed performance was watched by tens of thousands around the world, amongst them Ai Weiwei himself.

A number of other Nick Hern Books plays are up for awards across a variety of categories. Eugene O'Neill's Strange Interlude, revived at the National Theatre in May, is nominated for Best Actress in a Play (Anne-Marie Duff) and Best Supporting Actor in a Play (Charles Edwards). Richard Eyre's production of his own version of Henrik Ibsen's classic tragedy Ghosts, which transfers this month to Trafalgar Studios after its initial successful run at the Almeida Theatre, is nominated for Best Lighting Designer (Peter Mumford). Terence Rattigan's family drama The Winslow Boy, revived at the Old Vic in March, is shortlisted for Best Supporting Actress in a Play (Naomi Frederick).

The scripts to these plays, and all of the above nominees, are published by NHB and available to order through our website. Public voting for the WhatsOnStage Awards is open until 31 January 2014, with the winners announced at an awards ceremony on 23 February - click here to cast your vote.

  • Once: The Musical
  • Chimerica
  • Mojo