Updated: Nov 20, 2019
I had the privilege of attending the Olivier Awards at the Royal Albert Hall in London on 7 April and what an inspiring event it was. My niece, Millie O’Connell, is starring in Six the Musical which is a show about the six wives of Henry VIII, and she was nominated along with the other Queens for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical. The gorgeous Beverly Knight opened the show by singing the British National Anthem as HRH Dutchess of Cornwall made her entrance. Beverly Knight performed a 2nd song, Memories from Cats, during the In Memorium section of the evening.
America was well represented at the ceremony with Kelsey Grammar presenting the very first award of the evening for Best New Play. Broadway royalty Patti Lupone was in the house and was a nominee in the same category as my niece for her role as Joanne in Company. Sally Field and Bill Pullman also presented awards during the ceremony. They will be appearing in Arthur Miller’s All My Sons at The Old Vic opening later this month.
There were two magical moments during the show for me. The first was when Millie and the Queens of Six the Musical rocked the house as they opened the second half of the ceremony performing the opening number from their show. Even though the fab six didn’t win their category, with the honour having gone to Patti Lupone, they showed everyone in that room why they deserve all of the accolades they are receiving! They are fierce and fabulous!
The second magical moment came from Sharon D. Clarke when she gave an outstanding performance of one of the songs from her show Caroline, Or Change which only just closed back in March (check this). She received a thunderous round applause when she was announced to perform and then proceeded to take the entire audience on an emotional journey which finished in an applause eruption. Sharon appeared in the west end run of Ghost, who my friend Jez starred with and I had the pleasure of meeting Sharon when we were both attending a show that Jez was in. She made an impression then and again at the Olivier's. She went on to win the Best Actress in a Musical award and gave the type of seasoned acceptance speech that conveyed that she both deserved and was humbled by the win.
At the end of the Awards ceremony as I was walking down the stairs of the beautiful Albert Hall I was wondering, is it over for me? In a world that is blinded by youth, as an older perform should I just go quietly into the night. And then in an instant, I thought of Patti Lupone, Sally Field and Sharon D. Clarke and thought, hell no. I still have dreams and I’m going for them.
So, I leave the Royal Albert Hall and meet up with Millie and a few of her uber talented co-stars and I’m basking in the air of creativity and accomplishment that surrounds me, and as I am walking past a group of girls I hear them whisper, that’s Beverly Knight! My sister-in-law Marie says, they think you’re Beverly Knight. Well, what a perfect end to a perfect day, being mistaken for the gorgeous Beverly Knight!