It is the only award to be decided by a public vote rather than the expert panel who the Standard appoint to choose the other awards. The danger, as reported here previously, is that "there's no second guessing a public vote, of course, except that instead of being a vote for what's best it … inevitably turns out to be for what is most popular — and there's no guarantee that those who cast their votes will have even seen the shows, but could be voting following social media pressure instead."
On Elaine Paige's weekly Radio 2 show broadcast Oct. 4, the presenter opened the voting and announced that the shortlisted musicals are:
- Assassins, Menier Chocolate Factory
- Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, Aldwych
- Bend it Like Beckham, Phoenix
- Gypsy, Savoy Theatre
- Kinky Boots, Adelphi
The winner of the award will be announced live from the awards ceremony Nov. 22, as part of Claire Teal's Sunday night programme on BBC Radio 2 between 9 PM-11 PM. Radio 2 will then broadcast highlights of the awards with backstage interviews, performances and reporting from the red carpet in a special Radio 2 Arts Show, presented by Anneka Rice, Nov. 27.
Listeners have until midnight Oct. 25 to cast their vote at bbc.co.uk/radio2.