It is one of the most adored theatre shows of recent times so there was little surprise when the musical Hamilton set a new Olivier awards record as the most nominated production ever.
The musical received a remarkable 13 nominations for what are the UK’s most prestigious theatre prizes, breaking a record jointly held by Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and Hairspray, both with 11.
The nominations for the 2018 awards were revealed on Tuesday by Elaine Paige and Alexandra Burke at an event broadcast live on Facebook.
Away from Hamilton, the standout candidates were the National Theatre, London, with 22 nominations for four separate productions, including 10 for Follies; the Royal Court’s production of Jez Butterworth’s The Ferryman, with eight nominations; the Almeida theatre in Islington, with seven; and Imelda Staunton, nominated for best actress in both a play and a musical.
But it was the unstoppable juggernaut of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hip-hop musical, telling the story of American founding father Alexander Hamilton, that made Olivier award history with nominations in 10 categories.
Newcomer Jamael Westman, who plays Hamilton, and Giles Terera, who plays his nemesis Aaron Burr, are both nominated for best actor in a musical, along with Ciarán Hinds for the Old Vic’s Girl from the North Country, which uses the music of Bob Dylan, and John McCrea for Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, a feelgood musical about a boy who wants to dress in girls’ clothes.
Three Hamilton actors, Michael Jibson, Jason Pennycooke and Cleve September, will compete in the best actor in a supporting role in a musical category with comedian Ross Noble, for his role as Igor in Young Frankenstein, the only non-Hamilton nominee in that category.
Rachel John, who plays Hamilton’s sister-in-law Angelica Schuyler, is the only woman from the show to be nominated. She is in the best actress in a supporting role in a musical category.
The show has won Tonys, a Grammy and a Pulitzer prize and is now poised to dominate the Oliviers at the ceremony next month, but Miranda, its composer-lyricist, has said that it was no overnight success and took him seven years to write.