Harry Potter and the Cursed Child has woven its magic by winning best play at the London Evening Standard Theatre Awards.
The show, a sequel to JK Rowling’s books, opened in the West End this summer to five-star reviews.
Ralph Fiennes was named best actor for both The Master Builder and Richard III, while Billie Piper won best actress for Yerma at the Young Vic.
The ceremony, presented by Rob Brydon, was held at London’s Old Vic theatre.
Accepting the best play award from Dame Maggie Smith, Cursed Child director John Tiffany said: “It’s a show about the peril of isolation, about unity, about family and about love.”
JK Rowling sent a message read by actress Noma Dumezweni – who plays Hermione – praising Tiffany and writer Jack Thorne for “crafting the bare bones of a story into something very special”.
Among the celebrities handing out the awards were Orlando Bloom, Dame Joan Collins, Tom Hiddleston, Tom Hollander, James McAvoy, Mark Rylance, Sheridan Smith and Ruth Wilson.
Fiennes saw off competition from Sir Ian McKellen, Sir Kenneth Branagh, James McArdle and O-T Fagbenle in the best actor category.
Piper, who triumphed in the best actress category over Dumezweni, Helen McCrory and Sophie Melville, thanked Yerma director Simon Stone for “scaring” her with the role of a woman who is desperate for a child.
Glenn Close won the best musical performance prize for Sunset Boulevard at the London Coliseum, beating Sheridan Smith’s performance in Funny Girl and Andy Karl in Groundhog Day.
Accepting the award from Sir Elton John, Close said that reprising the role of Norma Desmond after 22 years had been a “once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
Evening Standard owner Evgeny Lebedev co-hosted Sunday evening’s ceremony alongside Sir Elton.
The Duke of Cambridge presented the first award of the evening, the beyond theatre award, to Sir David Attenborough for his outstanding contribution to broadcasting.
John Malkovich took home the award for best director for his production of Good Canary at the Rose Theatre, Kingston, beating Tiffany for Harry Potter and Dominic Cooke for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom at the National Theatre.
Sean Mathias’s production of Harold Pinter’s No Man’s Land at Wyndham’s theatre, starring Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Patrick Stewart, was named best revival.
Earlier, the theatrical knights had taken part in a comedy sketch in which Sir Ian appeared as a pantomime fairy godmother, complete with an illuminated wand.
Glee star Amber Riley entertained guests with a song from the musical Dreamgirls, which opens at the Savoy Theatre next month.
One of Riley’s co-stars in the show, Tyrone Huntley, was presented with the emerging talent award for his earlier role in Jesus Christ Superstar.
The ceremony ended with Sir Kenneth Branagh receiving the special Lebedev award for his season of plays – which included Romeo and Juliet and The Entertainer – at the Garrick Theatre.
The winners of the 62nd London Evening Standard Theatre Awards:
- BEST ACTOR – Ralph Fiennes – The Master Builder (Old Vic) & Richard III (Almeida)
- NATASHA RICHARDSON AWARD FOR BEST ACTRESS – Billie Piper – Yerma (Young Vic)
- BEST PLAY – Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – co-written by Jack Thorne, JK Rowling & John Tiffany (Palace)
- BEST MUSICAL PERFORMANCE – Glenn Close – Sunset Boulevard (Coliseum)
- EVENING STANDARD RADIO 2 AUDIENCE AWARD FOR BEST MUSICAL – Jesus Christ Superstar – Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre
- MILTON SHULMAN AWARD FOR BEST DIRECTOR – John Malkovich – Good Canary (Rose Kingston)
- BEST REVIVAL – No Man’s Land (Wyndham’s)
- BEST DESIGN – Gareth Fry with Pete Malkin (sound design) – The Encounter (Edinburgh International Festival/Barbican)
- CHARLES WINTOUR AWARD FOR MOST PROMISING PLAYWRIGHT – Charlene James – Cuttin’ It (Young Vic/Royal Court)
- EMERGING TALENT AWARD – Tyrone Huntley – Jesus Christ Superstar (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre)
- BEYOND THEATRE – Sir David Attenborough
- EDITOR’S AWARD – Good Chance Theatre
- LEBEDEV AWARD – Sir Kenneth Branagh