Erin Doherty, a 22-year-old from Crawley, Sussex, who is in her final term at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School after training for a year at the Guildford School of Acting, took the £1,000 top prize with ‘Broadway Baby’ and Darren Clark’s new-song entry ‘The Angel at the top of the tree’.
ArtsEd’s Leah West who performed two songs, ‘I Read’ from Passion and the ‘Love Me’, from a new musical by Laura Kaye Thomson won the second prize, a cheque for £500, while highly commended was the GSA’s Grant McConvey, who did a fabulous job with the Best New Song winner ‘Don’t Look Down’, an hilarious take on a divorced vertigo sufferer who foolishly agrees to climb Big Ben for a charity stunt.
Erin Doherty with Julia McKenzie, Elaine Paige and the judges
Erin Doherty and Leah West with Lynne Chapman and the student finalists
Richy Hughes (left) and Joseph Finlay (right) who won the Stiles and Drewe (back) best new song for Don’t Look Down from The Superhero, which was sung by finalist Grant McConvey (centre).
Each of the 12 finalists from nationwide schools of musical theatre had to perform one Sondheim song and one new composition in the Stiles & Drewe competition.
Special guest Elaine Paige, sang ‘I’m Still Here’, from Follies (she played Carlotta on Broadway two years ago) but with new lyrics written by Anthony Drewe to celebrate Paige’s 50-year showbiz career.
Elaine Paige sings ‘I’m Still Here’
The show was compered by Michael Xavier, another star who recently appeared in Assassins at the Menier. But when he put down his script and sang, it was to Into the Woods that he turned, reprising the ‘Agony’ duet with Simon Thomas they did superbly in the 2010 Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre revival.
He chose Into the Woods again for one of two solos, ‘No One is Alone’, the other being ‘They Don’t Make Glass Slippers’ from Stiles and Drewe’s Soho Cinders, a show he also starred in.
Michael Xavier with Elaine Page
Corrine Priest the 2014 SSSSPOTY winner returned to reprise her winning ‘Don’t Laugh’ entry from Hot Spot.
Music critic Edward Seckerson chaired the judging panel once again which included Julia McKenzie, Elaine Paige, Laura Pitt-Pulford, Assassins director Jamie Lloyd and orchestra leader John Wilson, while the Best New Song prize was judged by Stiles and Drewe with Jake Brunger and Pippa Cleary.