Don Black to receive Special Award at Olivier Awards 2020 with Mastercard

Renowned lyricist Don Black will be honoured with this year’s Special Olivier Award in recognition of his outstanding contribution to theatre.

In a prolific career spanning six decades, Black has provided lyrics for many musical theatre productions, working with Andrew Lloyd Webber on Tell Me On A Sunday, Aspects Of Love, Whistle Down The Wind and Stephen Ward

His collaboration with Christopher Hampton on Sunset Boulevard won them a Tony Award for Best Book in 1995. Other stage credits include A. R. Rahman’s musical Bombay Dreams, John Barry’s Billy and Brighton Rock, and Frank Wildhorn’s Dracula, The Musical.

Alongside his theatre work, Black’s output includes numerous film and television themes, as well as hit songs. He has written lyrics for Quincy Jones, Lulu, Meat Loaf, Michel Legrand and Debbie Wiseman, among many others. 

Black is particularly known for his long association with the James Bond films, starting with the Thunderball theme in 1965, and continuing with John Barry’s Diamonds Are Forever and The Man With The Golden Gun. A further collaboration with Barry on the title song of the film Born Free won Black a 1966 Academy Award for Best Song.

‘The Society of London Theatre is delighted to honour Don Black with the Special Award, marking an extraordinary career encompassing many genres, but particularly musical theatre. Lyricists often do not receive the recognition they deserve, despite their words being known and loved by audiences worldwide – and having personally known Don for over 25 years, it makes it a particular pleasure to celebrate his impact on the face of theatre.’

Kenny Wax, President of the Society of London Theatre

The Special Award is given each year to recognise an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to theatre over the course of their career. Past recipients include Matthew Bourne, Kenneth Branagh, Stephen Sondheim, Judi Dench, Alan Bennett, Sam Mendes, Maggie Smith, Harold Pinter, Alec Guinness, John Gielgud, Joan Littlewood and Ian McKellen.

The Olivier Awards, widely recognised as Britain’s most prestigious stage honours, take place on Sunday 5 April at the Royal Albert Hall, hosted by Jason Manford. Nominations were announced earlier this week and are available to view on the Olivier Awards website.

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