Entertainment & Arts

Mary Poppins musical dominates Helpmann Awards show

The musical production of Mary Poppins dominated this year's Helpmann Awards in Australia, winning eight of the 12 categories it was nominated in.

The show's stars, Matt Lee and Verity Hunt-Ballard, both won acting prizes. The Walt Disney production also took the coveted best musical award.

Geoffrey Rush and Cate Blanchett each won a prize and Andrew Lloyd Webber's Love Never Dies won three.

The awards took place at the Sydney Opera House on Monday night.

'Weird and unexpected'

Hunt-Ballard was named best female for playing the famous nanny with magical powers.

Lee, who was named best male, for playing Bert in the Disney show said it was "weird and unexpected" to beat theatre legend Anthony Warlow.

Speaking to Australian website News.com at the ceremony he said: "I performed at the first Helpmann Awards 10 years ago as the third chorus boy on the left.

"To receive one of these awards in a category with someone I've looked up to my entire life is crazy."

The production, based on the 1964 film, also won best choreography, sound design, direction and musical direction.

Poppins' Philip Quast also won best male musical supporting actor, while the only award for Hairspray went to Esther Hannaford for best female supporting actor.

In the theatre categories, Rush was named best male for The Diary of a Madman and Blanchett was awarded best female for Chekhov's Uncle Vanya.

Best new Australian work went to Tim Minchin, for his Tim Minchin vs the Sydney Symphony.

Hosted by actor and director Jonathan Biggins, the 11th annual ceremony featured performances by the casts of Dr Zhivago, Hairspray and Mary Poppins.

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