‘History’ made with London Drama crix

'Producers' named best musical of 2004

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 kudos each in the lunchtime ceremony at the Theater Royal, Drury Lane.

Drury Lane’s current tenant, 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 December’s Evening Standard Theater Awards. As was true then, the drama crix gave best play to Bennett’s hugely popular “The History Boys,” expected to reach Broadway around this time next year, and the actor trophy to its leading man, Richard Griffiths.

“Summer’s” mesmerizing co-star, Victoria Hamilton, took the actress prize for her perf as the damaged Catherine Holly; that production’s designer, Christopher Oram, was cited for his imposing cylindrical set.

The year’s Shakespearean perf trophy was awarded to Paul Rhys, 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 the gay son in the London preem of Edward Albee’s “The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?”

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

Most promising playwright went to one-time actress Rebecca Lenkiewicz for another National Theater entry, “The Night Season.”

Next up is the last in London’s annual parade of legit prizes, the Olivier Awards — London’s equivalent of the Tony — Feb. 20.

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