West End newcomer Sam Tutty has been named British theatre’s brightest rising star for his performance in the musical Dear Evan Hansen.
The 22-year-old has won two prizes at The Stage newspaper’s Debut Awards.
He shared the prize for best performer in a musical with Shan Ako of Les Misérables, and audience members voted him the best West End debut performer.
The Stage described Tutty’s turn in the title role of Dear Evan Hansen as “a truly star-making performance”.
When the show opened in November, the Evening Standard newspaper praised his “startlingly raw and convincing” portrayal, while The Times said he was “superb”.
The first time he tried out for the role – in his first professional audition – he froze. But he tried again after getting an agent, and this time impressed the casting director.
Tutty played the titular high-school student from November until theatres closed in March. He won a What’s On Stage award and earned an Olivier Award nomination earlier this year.
It was the first UK production of the hit show, which helped make a star of its original Broadway leading man Ben Platt.
At The Stage Debut Awards, the other nominees for best West End debut performer included comedian David Mitchell for The Upstart Crow and The Wire’s Wendell Pierce for Death of a Salesman.
The Stage went ahead with its awards despite the fact there have been virtually no theatre shows for six months. Sunday’s event was a virtual ceremony.
The Stage Debut Awards winners:
- Best performer in a play – Daniel Monks for Teenage Dick at the Donmar Warehouse, London; and Rachel Nwokoro for Little Baby Jesus at the Orange Tree Theatre, London
- Best performer in a musical – Shan Ako for Les Misérables at the Sondheim Theatre, London; and Sam Tutty for Dear Evan Hansen at the Noël Coward Theatre, London
- Best West End debut performer – Sam Tutty for Dear Evan Hansen
- Best writer – Temi Wilkey for The High Table at the Bush Theatre, London
- Best director – Martha Kiss Perrone for When It Breaks It Burns at the Battersea Arts Centre, London
- Best designer – Rose Revitt (set and costume) for Dr Korczak’s Example at Leeds Playhouse
- Best composer or lyricist – Jim Barne and Kit Buchan for The Season at the New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich and Royal and Derngate, Northampton
- Best creative West End debut – Femi Temowo (composer) for Death of a Salesman at the Piccadilly Theatre and Three Sisters at the National Theatre