Thursday, January 18, 2007

Laurence Olivier Award Nominations Announced

Laurence Olivier Award Nominations Announced

Broadway has the Tonys, and London's West End has its Laurence Olivier Awards.

Named for the man who was arguably the greatest actor of the 20th Century bar none, the Oliviers rank as the most prestigious award bestowed on London's theatre community, as well as for dance and opera.

The nominations for the 2007 Laurence Olivier Awards were announced yesterday and winners will be announced the evening of Sunday, February 18 at London's Grosvenor House Hotel.

Nominees include:

Best Actress
Eve Best, A Moon For The Misbegotten
Sinead Cusack, Rock 'N' Roll
Tamsin Greig, Much Ado About Nothing
Kathleen Turner, Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?

Best Actor
Iain Glen, The Crucible
David Haig, Donkey's Years
Frank Langella, Frost/Nixon
Rufus Sewell, Rock 'N' Roll
Michael Sheen, Frost/Nixon

Best Performance In A Supporting Role
Samantha Bond, Donkey's Years
Deborah Findlay, The Cut
Mark Hadfield, Thérèse Raquin
Colm Meaney, A Moon For The Misbegotten
Jim Norton, The Seafarer

Best New Play
David Harrower, Blackbird
Peter Morgan, Frost/Nixon
Tom Stoppard, Rock 'N' Roll
Conor McPherson, The Seafarer

Best New Comedy
Patrick Barlow (Adaptation from original concept by Simon Corble and Nobby Dimon, John Buchan's The 39 Steps
Patrick Marber after Molière, Don Juan In Soho
John Kolvenbach, Love Song

Best Revival
Arthur Miller, The Crucible
Michael Frayn, Donkey's Years
Eugene O'Neill, A Moon For The Misbegotten
Edward Albee, Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?

Best New Musical
Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx (Music and Lyrics) and Jeff Whitty (Book), Avenue Q
Tony Kushner (Book and Lyrics) and Jeanine Tesori (Music), Caroline, Or Change
Eric Idle (Book, Lyrics and Music) and John Du Prez (Music), Monty Python's Spamalot
George Gershwin, Dubose and Dorothy Heyward and Ira Gershwin, The Gershwins' Porgy And Bess

Outstanding Musical Production
Joe Masteroff (Book), John Kander (Music) and Fred Ebb (Lyrics), Cabaret
Tim Rice (Lyrics) and Andrew Lloyd Webber (Music), Evita
Richard Rodgers (Music), Oscar Hammerstein II (Lyrics) and Howard Lindsay and Russell Crouse (Book), The Sound Of Music
Stephen Sondheim (Music and Lyrics) and James Lapine (Book), Sunday In The Park With George

Best Actress In A Musical
Nicola Hughes, The Gershwins' Porgy And Bess
Tonya Pinkins, Caroline, Or Change
Elena Roger, Evita
Jenna Russell, Sunday In The Park With George
Hannah Waddingham, Monty Python's Spamalot

Best Actor In A Musical
Tim Curry, Monty Python's Spamalot
Daniel Evans, Sunday In The Park With George
Clarke Peters, The Gershwins' Porgy And Bess
Philip Quast, Evita

Best Performance In A Supporting Role In A Musical
Anna Francolini, Caroline, Or Change
Tom Goodman-Hill, Monty Python's Spamalot
Sheila Hancock, Cabaret
Summer Strallen, The Boy Friend

Best Director
Sam Buntrock, Sunday In The Park With George
Dominic Cooke, The Crucible
Joe Mantello, Wicked

Best Theatre Choreographer
Rob Ashford, Evita
Javier De Frutos, Cabaret
Bill Deamer, The Boy Friend
Stephen Mear, Sinatra

Best Lighting Design
Jean Kalman, The Crucible
Hugh Vanstone, Monty Python's Spamalot
Natasha Chivers and Mike Robertson, Sunday In The Park With George
Neil Austin, Thérèse Raquin
Kenneth Posner, Wicked

Best Set Design
Tim Hatley, Monty Python's Spamalot
David Farley and Timothy Bird, Sunday In The Park With George
Eugene Lee, Wicked

Best Costume Design
Tim Hatley, Monty Python's Spamalot
Alison Chitty, The Voysey Inheritance
Susan Hilferty, Wicked

Best Sound Design
Mic Pool, John Buchan's The 39 Steps
Ian Dickinson, Rock 'N' Roll
Gareth Fry, Waves

Outstanding Achievement In An Affiliate Theatre
Pied Piper at Theatre Royal, Stratford EastTheatre Royal, Stratford East for a powerful season of provocative work, reaching new audiences
Love And Money at the Maria, Young Vic
Roy Dotrice for his performance in The Best Of Friends at the Hampstead

Best New Opera Production
English National Opera's Jenůfa at the London Coliseum
English National Opera's The Makropulos Case at the London Coliseum
English National Opera's Orfeo at the London Coliseum
Opera North's Peter Grimes at Sadler's Wells

Outstanding Achievement In Opera
John Mark Ainsley, Orfeo
Joyce DiDonato, Hercules
Amanda Roocroft, Jenůfa
John Tomlinson, Götterdämmerung

Best New Dance Production
The Royal Ballet's The Sleeping Beauty
Kabuki Fuji Musume & Kasane
The Royal Ballet's DGV
The Royal Ballet's Chroma

Outstanding Achievement In Dance
Steven McRae, Homage To The Queen and Chroma
Carlos Acosta for his programme of work and his performances at Sadler's Wells
Marianela Nunez, Chroma and The Sleeping Beauty and in Carlos Acosta's programme at Sadler's Wells
Wayne McGregor for his choreography, Chroma

At first blush, there appeared to be some bias against American offerings that have migrated across the pond. Actors Bill Irwin (Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?) and Idina Menzel (Wicked) were both snubbed, despite having won Tonys for the sames roles they've recreated on the West End. Also, despite all the critical acclaim for Kevin Spacey's production of A Moon For The Misbegotten, as well as nominations, Spacey himself did not receive a nod.

However, after a closer look, American-made productions like Avenue Q, Caroline, Or Change, Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? and even -- dare I say -- Monty Python's Spamalot, fared fairly well, collectively earning a total of thirteen Olivier nominations; the last received six nods.

Although Menzel was overlooked, Wicked earned four nominations, including for its director Joe Mantello. Even playwright John Kolvenbach was nominated for Love Song in the Best New Play category. And lest I forget, Frank Langella received a nod for his portrayal of Richard Nixon in Frost/Nixon, while Floridian Rob Ashford was nominated for his choreography on Evita.

Finally, with so many nominated classics originating from playwrights and composers on the west "side" of the pond, one could argue that Americans have done quite well in this year's Oliviers. Not bad considering all the excellent homegrown fare the British have exported to the U.S.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

Click here for information on how to win two tickets to this closed-door gala.

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At 19 January, 2007, Anonymous Esther said...

Pretty cool to see what the award looks like! And I'm glad you didn't find an anti-American bias in the nominations.

Sure, I'm disappointed that Kevin Spacey wasn't nominated, but these things are subjective. It seems like every year there's a performer in some great role who gets bypassed for some award. Just look at all the great actors and directors who've never won an Oscar.

And like you said, there were numerous American actors and productions that were recognized.

Beyond that, look at the thousands of British theatergoers who have supported these plays and musicals. I think it's great that audiences on both sides of the Atlantic are interested in what the other is doing.

It is odd, though, to think of Monty Python's Spamalot as an American production! And I wonder why there aren't separate categories for actor and actress in supporting roles?

At 19 January, 2007, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Mind you, I don't think the American cousins need dominate the British awards, and hopefully my original message didn't imply that. I mean, it is for London theatre, after all.

Although Kevin Spacey wasn't nominated, he has the consolation of having a 1999 Olivier Award for The Iceman Cometh. Personally, I'm looking forward to seeing his portrayal of James Tyrone when A Moon For The Misbegotten cometh to Broadway. We'll see whether Tony nominators see something come May that Olivier did not!


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