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Bennett, Williams plays win London crix prizes

Scribes name 'Producers' top musical

LONDON — Alan Bennett’s “The History Boys” and a now-closed revival of Tennessee Williams’ “Suddenly Last Summer” dominated the 2005 London drama critics circle awards Tuesday, winning two awards each in the lunchtime ceremony at the Theater Royal, Drury Lane.

Drury Lane’s current tenant, the Mel Brooks tuner “The Producers,” was named best musical of 2004 against stiff competition from “Mary Poppins.” The award was accepted by the American musical’s English co-star, Lee Evans, who has to date played Leo Bloom opposite four different Max Bialystocks.

Winners for the most part echoed those at the Evening Standard Theater Awards in December. As was true then, the drama crix gave best play to septuagenarian Bennett’s hugely popular “The History Boys,” which is expected to reach Broadway around this time next year, and best actor to its portly leading man, Richard Griffiths.

“Summer”‘s mesmerizing co-star, Victoria Hamilton, was named best actress for her perf as the damaged Catherine Holly as she had been at the Evening Standard gala; that production’s designer, Christopher Oram, was cited for his imposing cylindrical set.

The year’s best Shakespearean perf was awarded to Paul Rhys, who was a notably sweaty Angelo in the National’s summer revival of “Measure For Measure,” while Eddie Redmayne was named most promising newcomer (other than a playwright) for his perf as Jonathan Pryce’s gay son in the London preem of Edward Albee’s “The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?”

Rufus Norris was cited best director for scribe David Eldridge’s “Festen”; the English-language stage preem of the Dogme film is due on Broadway in the fall at a Shubert house.

Most promising playwrignt went to onetime actress Rebecca Lenkiewicz for another National Theater entry, “The Night Sea-son,” which has since closed.

Next up is the last in London legit’s annual parade of prizes: the Olivier Awards — London’s equivalent of the Tony — on Feb. 20, where Hamilton, Griffiths, and Norris are all among the nominees.

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