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Oliviers Spotlight: Best Actress in a Musical


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The Oliviers, one of the UK’s most prestigious and exciting award ceremonies, is coming to London’s Royal Albert Hall on Sunday 9th April to celebrate aspects of theatre including opera, staging and acting.

As always, one of the most contested awards is for Best Actress in a Musical - and here are the nominees:

Glenn Close - Sunset Boulevard

Glenn Close returned to the role that won her a Tony this year, and it’s pleasing to see that she’s still got it.

Playing Norma Desmond, a faded silent movie star, Close uses her famed emotion to bring the role to life over 20 years since she starred in the show on Broadway. Her spine-tingling performance of As If We Never Said Goodbye can rarely be be beaten, and for that reason alone Close has a shot at winning the Olivier award.


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‘The Girls’ (Debbie Chazen, Sophie-Louise Dann, Michele Dotrice, Claire Machin, Claire Moore and Joanna Riding) - The Girls

The Girls, a new musical detailing the story of Yorkshire’s calendar girls, is the surprise success of the year. Hailed by critics for its acting and careful mix of hilarious quotes and soft, upsetting moments, the ensemble of ‘the girls’ might be the surprise shocking winner at this years’ Oliviers.

Songs including Sunflower and Dare truly demonstrate why the girls have received a nomination with their thought provoking production.

Joanna Riding’s performance of Scarborough is a personal favourite due to her simplistic yet upsetting delivery that revels in making normal life seem so endearing.

Also nominated for Best Actor in A Supporting Role and Best New Musical, The Girls is one of the best new shows to enter the West End this year - and those nominated are the main reason why.


Amber Riley - Dreamgirls

Dreamgirls began its debut run on the West End this year to critical acclaim, but the one individual who stood out was Amber Riley.

Known primarily for her role in US television show Glee, nobody knew how perfect Riley would be in the role of Effie, with The Guardian describing her as “a notch above them all”. Even if Riley wasn’t the main ‘star’ in the show, her talent is the one you’d be talking about while leaving.

The show is also nominated in four other categories, including Best New Musical and Outstanding Achievement in Music.

It wouldn’t be surprising if Riley won this category, with her large, belting voice and obvious talent at delivering emotion through song.

Sheridan Smith - Funny Girl

Sheridan Smith’s ride as the lead character Fanny Price hasn’t been an easy one, but her reputation as the comeback girl has earnt her yet another award nomination.

Leaving the stage in May 2016 for a matter of months due to exhaustion and stress, Smith returned last July to a standing ovation and a return that The Telegraph called “triumphant”.

It’s easy to see why she deserves to win: her comic timing is on cue, her facial expressions are enough to make anyone laugh out loud, and her ability to inhibit the character is something not many stars can do.

So much so, the show has also received a nomination for Best Musical Revival this year.

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