Monty naked in noms as 'Words' tops list

See nomineesLONDON — Matthew Bourne’s “Play Without Words,” a dance theater piece that was briefly seen at the National Theater late last summer, led the list of nominees Thursday for the 2003 Laurence Olivier Awards, earning five citations.

Americans Susan Stroman, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kenneth Lonergan and Elaine Stritch were among those named in an unusually diverse spread of nominees that contained some surprising omissions.

Oscar winner Paltrow goes head to head with two-time Oscar nominee Emily Watson, both cited for plays seen during Sam Mendes’ farewell year running the Donmar Warehouse. Paltrow was nommed for the U.K. bow of David Auburn’s Pulitzer Prize-winning “Proof,” while Watson got the nod for her Sonya in “Uncle Vanya.” Completing the category are Clare Higgins, who already has an Evening Standard Theater Award to show for her performance as the young Vincent van Gogh’s landlady in the National Theater staging of “Vincent in Brixton,” and Anita Dobson, for another National Theater entry, “Frozen.”

Watson’s co-star in “Vanya,” Simon Russell Beale, will compete for best actor alongside Michael Gambon (“A Number”), Mark Rylance (“Twelfth Night,” in which he played the heartsick Olivia), and, most surprising, David Tennant, for the London preem of Kenneth Lonergan’s “Lobby Hero.”

Lonergan’s play is itself up for best new comedy alongside Alan Ayckbourn’s “Roleplay,” Moira Buffini’s “Dinner” and Martin McDonagh’s “The Lieutenant of Inishmore.” The nod for McDonagh marked the only nomination for the Royal Shakespeare Co., compared to 21 for the Royal National Theater and nine for the tiny Donmar.

Sam Mendes is up for best director for his farewell pairing of Donmar productions, “Vanya” and “Twelfth Night,” which open this weekend at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York. Mendes’ competish includes Bourne — his choreographer on “Oliver!” — for “Play Without Words,” Richard Eyre for “Vincent in Brixton” and Edward Hall, son of 72-year-old helmer Sir Peter, for his Shakespeare conflation “Rose Rage.”

Notably absent from the lineup is the National’s a.d. Trevor Nunn, who directed three of the year’s highest-profile shows: Tom Stoppard’s nine-hour “Coast of Utopia,” which is up for best play; the Glenn Close-Iain Glen revival of “A Streetcar Named Desire,” whose stars were similarly blanked (though supporting player Essie Davis did get a nod); and “Anything Goes.”

Bizarrely, the year’s two best-received musicals were scarcely mentioned. “The Full Monty,” winner in November of the Evening Standard Theater Award, got no nominations at all, while Nunn’s current National “Anything Goes” is up for a single prize — outstanding musical production.

The new musical category pits Boy George against Madness via the shows “Taboo” and “Our House,” respectively, and Bollywood against an airborne car via “Bombay Dreams” and “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.”

Making a stronger-than-expected showing was the flop West End bow of “My One and Only,” the Gershwin show that got four nods, including musical actor (Tim Flavin) and actress (Janie Dee).

Also up for four prizes is the West End incarnation of “Contact,” which has been named in the category of best entertainment. Stroman was herself given a nod for choreography, a prize she has already won twice at the Oliviers.

“Elaine Stritch at Liberty,” the solo show that got arguably even better reviews in London than it did last season in New York, received two nods — for entertainment and actress in a musical.

But in a year rife with Americans, many failed to make the cut. In addition to Close, that list includes Gillian Anderson for “What the Night Is For” as well as the entire American ensembles of “Take Me Out” and “Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train,” along with “This Is Our Youth” stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Hayden Christensen, who apparently were ineligible since the Olivier judging panel never saw them.

Named for Laurence Olivier, the awards are London’s closest equivalent to Broadway’s Tonys, though the U.K. gongs have yet to demonstrate any box office clout. Winners of this year’s 27th annual ceremony will be announced in a lunchtime ceremony at the Lyceum Theater on Feb. 14, which should make for a happy Valentine’s day for some.

And The 2003 Laurence Olivier Awards nominees are . . .

ACTRESS

Anita Dobson, “Frozen” (Cottesloe)

Clare Higgins, “Vincent in Brixton” (Cottesloe and Wyndham’s)

Gwyneth Paltrow, “Proof” (Donmar Warehouse)

Emily Watson, “Uncle Vanya” (Donmar Warehouse)

ACTOR

Michael Gambon, “A Number” (Jerwood Theater Downstairs at the Royal Court)

Simon Russell Beale, “Uncle Vanya” (Donmar Warehouse)

Mark Rylance, “Twelfth Night” (Shakespeare’s Globe)

David Tennant, “Lobby Hero” (Donmar Warehouse and New Ambassadors)

PERFORMANCE IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Essie Davis, “A Streetcar Named Desire” (Lyttelton)
Jessica Stevenson, “The Night Heron” (Jerwood Theater Downstairs at the Royal Court)
Mark Strong, “Twelfth Night” (Donmar Warehouse)
Sian Thomas, “Up for Grabs” (Wyndham’s)

BBC AWARD FOR NEW PLAY

“Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train” by Stephen Adly Guirgis (Donmar Warehouse)
“The Coast of Utopia: Voyage, Shipwreck, Salvage” by Tom Stoppard (Olivier)
“The York Realist” by Peter Gill (Jerwood Theater Downstairs at the Royal Court and the Strand)
“Vincent in Brixton” by Nicholas Wright (Cottesloe and Wyndham’s)

NEW COMEDY

“Damsels in Distress” (“Roleplay”) by Alan Ayckbourn (Duchess)
“Dinner” by Moira Buffini (the Loft)
“Lobby Hero” by Kenneth Lonergan (Donmar Warehouse and New Ambassadors)
“The Lieutenant of Inishmore” by Martin McDonagh (the Pit and the Garrick)

REVIVAL

“Abigail’s Party” by Mike Leigh (New Ambassadors)
“A Streetcar Named Desire” by Tennessee Williams (Lyttelton)
“Twelfth Night” by William Shakespeare and “Uncle Vanya” by Anton Chekhov, a version of the play by Brian Friel, in repertory (Donmar Warehouse)
“Twelfth Night” by William Shakespeare (Shakespeare’s Globe)

HILTON AWARD FOR NEW MUSICAL

“Bombay Dreams,” music by A R Rahman, lyrics by Don Black, book by Meera Syal based on an idea by Shekhar Kapur and Andrew Lloyd Webber (Apollo Victoria)
“Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,” music and lyrics by Richard M Sherman and Robert B Sherman, adapted for the stage by Jeremy Sams, based on the MGM/United Artists Motion Picture (London Palladium)
“Our House” by Tim Firth, music and lyrics by Madness (Cambridge)
“Taboo” music and lyrics by Boy George, book by Mark Davies (the Venue)

MUSICAL PRODUCTION
“Anything Goes,” music and lyrics by Cole Porter, original book by PG Wodehouse and Guy Bolton and Howard Lindsay & Russel Crouse, new book by Timothy Crouse & John Weidman (Olivier)
“Oh What a Lovely War,” Joan Littlewood’s musical entertainment by Theater Workshop, Charles Chilton, Gerry Raffles and Members of the Original Cast (Open Air)

ENTERTAINMENT

“Contact” by Susan Stroman and John Weidman (Queen’s)
“Elaine Stritch at Liberty” constructed by John Lahr, reconstructed by Elaine Stritch (Old Vic)
“Play Without Words” devised by Matthew Bourne, music by Terry Davies (Lyttelton)
“Rory Bremner With John Bird and John Fortune” (Albery)

ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL OR ENTERTAINMENT

Janie Dee, “My One and Only” (Piccadilly)
Joanna Riding, “My Fair Lady” (Theater Royal Drury Lane)
Elaine Stritch, “Elaine Stritch at Liberty” (Old Vic)
Sarah Wildor, “Contact” (Queen’s)

ACTOR IN A MUSICAL OR ENTERTAINMENT

Tim Flavin, “My One and Only” (Piccadilly)
Alex Jennings, “My Fair Lady” (Theater Royal Drury Lane)
Michael Jibson, “Our House” (Cambridge)
Euan Morton, “Taboo” (the Venue)

PERFORMANCE IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A MUSICAL OR ENTERTAINMENT

Paul Baker, “Taboo” (the Venue)
Sharon D. Clarke, “We Will Rock You” (Dominion)
Jenny Galloway, “My One and Only” (Piccadilly)
Nichola McAuliffe, “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” (London Palladium)
Craig Urbani, “Contact” (Queen’s)

DIRECTOR

Matthew Bourne, “Play Without Words” (Lyttelton)
Richard Eyre, “Vincent in Brixton” (Cottesloe)
Edward Hall, “Rose Rage” (Haymarket)
Sam Mendes, “Twelfth Night” and “Uncle Vanya” in repertory (Donmar Warehouse)

THEATER CHOREOGRAPHER

Matthew Bourne and the company, “Play Without Words” (Lyttelton)
Peter Darling, “Our House” (Cambridge)
Craig Revel Horwood, “My One and Only” (Piccadilly)
Susan Stroman, “Contact” (Queen’s)

SET DESIGN

Bunny Christie, “A Streetcar Named Desire” (Lyttelton)
Anthony Ward, “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” (London Palladium)
Lez Brotherston, “Play Without Words” (Lyttelton)
William Dudley, “The Coast of Utopia: Voyage, Shipwreck, Salvage” (Olivier)

COSTUME DESIGN

Mark Thompson, “Bombay Dreams” (Apollo Victoria)
Mike Nicholls, “Taboo” (the Venue)
William Dudley, “The Coast of Utopia: Voyage, Shipwreck, Salvage” (Olivier)
Jenny Tiramani, “Twelfth Night” (Shakespeare’s Globe)

LIGHTING DESIGN

Paul Pyant, “A Streetcar Named Desire” (Lyttelton)
Paule Constable, “Play Without Words” (Lyttelton)
Peter Mumford, “The Bacchai” (Olivier)
David Hersey, “The Coast of Utopia: Voyage, Shipwreck, Salvage” (Olivier)

NEW OPERA PRODUCTION

“Ariadne Auf Naxos,” Royal Opera (Royal Opera House)
“Duke Bluebeard’s Castle/Erwartung,” Royal Opera (Royal Opera House)
“Lulu,” English National Opera (London Coliseum)
“Wozzeck,” Royal Opera (Royal Opera House)

ACHIEVEMENT IN OPERA

Roberto Alagna and Angela Gheorghiu for their performances in the Royal Opera’s “La Rondine” (Royal Opera House)
Antonio Pappano for a distinguished opening to his tenure as music director of the Royal Opera with “Ariadne Auf Naxos” and “Wozzeck,” (Royal Opera House)
Lisa Saffer for her performance in English National Opera’s “Lulu” (London Coliseum)

NEW DANCE PRODUCTION

“Polyphonia,” New York City Ballet (Sadler’s Wells)
“Rain,” Rosas (Sadler’s Wells)
“Rome and Jewels,” Rennie Harris Puremovement (Peacock Theater)
“Tryst,” Royal Ballet (Royal Opera House)

ACHIEVEMENT IN DANCE

The company of “Kontakthof,” presented by Pina Bausch Tanztheater Wuppertal (Barbican)
Chiaki Nagao for her performance in Northern Ballet Theater’s “Madame Butterfly” (Sadler’s Wells)
Robyn Orlin for the creative originality of “Daddy, I’ve Seen This Piece Six Times and I Still Don’t Know Why They’re Hurting Each Other” (the Pit)
Christopher Wheeldon for his choreography of the Royal Ballet’s “Tryst” (Royal Opera House) and New York City Ballet’s “Polyphonia” (Sadler’s Wells)

MOST PROMISING PERFORMER

Noel Clarke, “Where Do We Live” (Jerwood Theater Upstairs at the Royal Court)
Toby Dantzic, “Where Do We Live” (Jerwood Theater Upstairs at the Royal Court)
Sam Heughan, “Outlying Islands” (Jerwood Theater Upstairs at the Royal Court)
Sid Mitchell, “The Dead Eye Boy” (Hampstead Theater)

MOST PROMISING PLAYWRIGHT

Charlotte Eilenberg, “The Lucky Ones” (Hampstead Theater)
Christopher Shinn, “Where Do We Live” (Jerwood Theater Upstairs at the Royal Court)

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