Friday, 28 July 2017

The Helpmann Awards - the night of nights for the live performance industry in Australia

Helpmann Awards Red Carpet
The Annual Helpmann Awards were held last Monday Night at the Capital theatre in Sydney. The Helpmann Awards recognise and celebrate the live and performing arts industry In Australia.

42 Awards were presented to worthy recipients in 9 categories which included Cabaret, Comedy, Contemporary Music, Dance and Physical Theatre, Musicals, Opera and Classical Music, and Presentations for Children.,

The Red Carpet before the Awards saw many famous people from the world of theatre dressed in their glamorous finest. Black was the dominant colour, but many women (and men) brightened up the night with their glittering colourful gear.

The Helpmann Awards were hosted by Jan van de Stool and Tim Draxl. Jan kept the audience in stitches of laughter with her changes of clothing, talking, and singing. Various presenters came on stage to present the awards, with only two slight Oscar moments. A wrong winners envelope was handed to presenter Deborah Hutton, but fortunately she realised the mistake before reading out the wrong winner. The right envelope was quickly produced and the correct winner read out. The other goof was where the winner of an award was put up on the screens before presenter Joel Creasey opened the envelope with the winners name in it.

This year it was good to see several Musicals being nominated for awards and receiving them.This was unlike the year when one Musical, Matilda, scooped the pool. 
  • The Book of Mormon won Best Musical, Direction of a Musical Trey Parker and Casey Nicholaw),
  • My Fair Lady won the Best Female Actor in a Musical (Anna O'Byrne), Female Actor in a Supporting Role in a Musical (Robyn Nevin),
  • Kinky Boots won Male Actor in a Musical (Callum Francis), Choreography in a Musical  (Jerry Mitchel), 
  • Aladdin won Costume Design (Gregg Barnes), Male Actor in a Supporting Role in a Musical (Michael James Scott) 

Capital Theatre - Helpmann Awards
Scattered amongst the awards being handed out was a varied entertainment program. Songs were presented by the casts of Kinky Boots, The Book of Mormon, Aladdin, Green Day's American Idiot, , Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, My Fair Lady and Velvet. The highlight was a very funny energetic dance called Construct with 3 dancers from the Australian Dance Theatre.

Two big awards were presented to two worthy recipients,. Richard Tognetti was presented the JC Williamson Award and Rob Brookman the Sue Nattrass Award. I really liked the way Barry Jones presented his award. He spoke with much enthusiasm and sincerity.

Special thanks were given to two people stepping down from their Helpmann roles - Ross Cunningham and Jon Nicholls. They have been heavily involved in staging the Helpmann Awards over many years.

The In Memoriam segment, where people from the performing arts industry who had passed way during the last year were honoured, was accompanied by the beautiful singing of the Sydney Children.s Choir.

Helpmann Awards After Party
The Helpmann Awards After Party was held at the Grand Ballroom of the Hyatt Regency Sydeny, a much better location than the cramped upstairs foyer at the Capital Theatre where it has been held in previous years.

Congratulations to all this years Helpmann Awards nominees  The winners, and losers all help to entertain, educate, and stimulate Australian audiences. I can not wait to the 2018 Helpmann Awards when it will all happen again.

The full list of Helpmann Awards 2017 winners can be seen at

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