Presented by Rob Brydon, the awards were co-hosted by owner of the Evening Standard Evgeny Lebedev with Judi Dench and Ian McKellen who presented Stephen Sondheim the Lebedev Award for theatrical achievement at the end of the night.
Seventeen years after making her London stage debut, Nicole Kidman received Best Actress for her performance as Rosalind Franklin in Photograph 51 at the Noel Coward Theatre. The Award for Best Actor was presented to James McAvoy for his performance in The Ruling Class.
The award for Best Musical Performance went to Imelda Staunton for Gypsy who received the evening's first standing ovation as she collected her award. She later returned to the stage with co-star Gemma Sutton to perform 'Everything’s Coming Up Roses' and received a second standing ovation.
In the new talent categories, Molly Davies won Most Promising Playwright for God Bless the Child; the Emerging Talent Award was won by David Moorst, for his role in Violence and Son (both at the Royal Court Upstairs); and the Newcomer in a Musical Award went to Gemma Arterton for her musical theatre debut in Made in Dagenham.
The Royal Court Theatre won in a third category - with Anna Fleischle’s design for Hangmen. The venue came away from the night with the most awards for a single venue. During the first break from proceedings Pixie Lott performed 'Moon River' ahead of starring in the UK tour and West End run of Breakfast at Tiffany’s next year.
Imelda Staunton in Gypsy
The award for Best Play went to The Motherf**ker with the Hat by Stephen Adly Guirgis – the only award won by the National Theatre from their seven shortlisted candidates. The production’s director, Indhu Rubasingham, collected on behalf of Adly Guirgis. In the Best Director category, Robert Icke received his first Evening Standard Theatre Award for Oresteia.
The Audience Award for Best Musical (voted for by the public) went to Kinky Boots which is the hottest ticket in town at the Adelphi Theatre. The show has music and lyrics by Cyndi Lauper, book by Harvey Fierstein and is directed Jerry Mitchell. The musical's stars Matt Henry, Amy Lennox and Killian Donnelly accepted the award on behalf of the company.
Elsewhere V&A exhibition Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty won the Beyond Theatre Award and Vanessa Redgrave made an emotional speech upon collecting the Editor's Award for lifetime achievement.