The Snubs and Surprises of the 2024 Olivier Awards

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On Sunday night, the Olivier Awards — Britain’s equivalent to the Tonys — took place in London. As expected, “Sunset Boulevard” took home the most trophies (and will have a Broadway run later this year), but there were also some surprise winners. Matt Wolf and Houman Barekat, The New York Times’s London theater critics, joined the reporter Alex Marshall to discuss the winners, the snubs and the last year in British theater.

Jamie Lloyd’s stripped-back “Sunset Boulevard,” starring Nicole Scherzinger as Norma Desmond, took home seven awards. Do you think it deserved to dominate?

ALEX MARSHALL I saw “Sunset Boulevard” from the cheapest of cheap seats in the back row, but it was still my most memorable night in a theater last year. I’m not surprised that Andrew Lloyd Webber responded to the show’s wins by writing on X that it was “a highlight of my career.”

For me, the only downside to its sweep is that Nicholas Hytner’s “Guys and Dolls” failed to win any major awards (it picked up one for choreography). If Lloyd’s reimagining of “Sunset” was brutal and stark, Hytner’s revamp was all exuberance and joy.

Scherzinger in “Sunset Boulevard.”Credit…Marc Brenner

MATT WOLF I loved everything about “Sunset Boulevard,” so, yes, I do think it deserved to dominate. That said, it must have been galling for the “Guys and Dolls” company to open that show to universal raves last spring, only to have “Sunset” come along and blindside them. The radical daring of Lloyd’s “Sunset” doesn’t happen every day, and “Guys and Dolls” was the unfortunate victim of that fact.

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