Broadway’s ‘Memphis,’ ‘Beautiful’ Lead London’s Olivier Nominations

American musicals dominated the 2015 Olivier Award nominations, with “Memphis” and “Beautiful” leading the pack with a combined total of 17 nods. The National Theatre, meanwhile, had its worst showing in the awards’ 40-year history, garnering only three nominations, all for the David Byrne and Fatboy Slim tuner “Here Lies Love,” another American-bred project.

Elsewhere, the Donmar Warehouse’s revival of Cy Coleman’s “City of Angels” received five nominations, including a first inclusion for artistic director Josie Rourke, while “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” and “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown” landed two apiece. Kinks musical “Sunny Afternoon” led the all-British contingent with five.

Broadway alumni “Memphis” and “Beautiful” will go head to head for new musical, with both shows’ leading ladies — Beverley Knight and Katie Brayben, respectively — up for actress in a musical.

American plays also fared well. Ivo Van Hove’s acclaimed production of Arthur Miller’s “A View From the Bridge” was the most-nominated drama, earning seven of the 11 nominations that made the Young Vic the leading venue. Its production of “A Streetcar Named Desire” is up for revival, alongside Yael Farber’s staging of “The Crucible, “while Jennifer Haley’s “The Nether” (currently playing Off Broadway) received four nominations, including one for new play.

Popular on Variety

Haley’s play will compete in that category with Mike Bartlett’s “King Charles III,” which picked up six nominations; Mike Poulton’s Broadway-bound adaptations of Hilary Mantel’s novels “Wolf Hall” and “Bring Up the Bodies” for the Royal Shakespeare Company; and Mark Hayhurst’s “Taken at Midnight.”

The acting categories look particularly competitive. Mark Strong, who won a Critics’ Circle award for his portrayal of Eddie Carbone, will face off with James McAvoy, up for “The Ruling Class,” as well as Tim Piggott-Smith (“King Charles III”) and Richard Armitage (“The Crucible”).

Gillian Anderson, Kristin Scott-Thomas, Imelda Staunton and Penelope Wilton are all in the mix for actress, while Gemma Arterton, Tamsin Grieg, Jon Jon Briones and Killian Donnelly are among those nominated for the equivalent musical categories.

Supporting performances recognized include Angela Lansbury’s Madame Arcati in “Blithe Spirit” (a role for which she previously won a Tony),and Nathaniel Parker’s Henry VIII in “Wolf Hall,” a part he will reprise on Broadway next month.

The Olivier Awards changed their voting system two years ago, allowing SOLT members a say in the process. It’s notable that the overwhelming majority of nominations come from productions that played in the West End at some point in their life, with only three theater productions that played exclusively in the subsidized sector earning recognition in the main categories.

The full list of nominations can be found at the Oliviers website.

More Legit

  • Gregg Smith, Dancer and Choreographer Assistant,

    Gregg Smith, Dancer and Choreographer Assistant, Dies at 73

    Gregg Smith, a dancer, casting director and assistant choreographer who had a long association with director Kenny Ortega, has died. He was 73. Smith died on Jan. 1. The industry veteran worked as a performer in the national touring company of the musical “Hair” and in a Los Angeles production of “Jesus Christ Superstar.” He [...]

  • Frozen review musical

    Warmth and Humor Pervade Pantages Production of 'Frozen' the Musical

    In 2013, Disney’s “Frozen” hit screens like a 100 mile-per-hour snowball, sparking a pop cultural phenomenon in which little girls and boys pranced about dressed in Anna and Elsa and Olaf costumes while belting aloud “Let It Go,” Elsa’s feminist anthemic response to ice powers rendering her a societal outcast. The animated movie won two [...]

  • My Name Is Lucy Barton review

    'My Name is Lucy Barton': Theater Review

    Laura Linney is in love. Just watch the radiant expression on her face as she wraps her arms around the character of Lucy Barton, a role she played in two separate engagements at the Bridge Theater in London, and is now reprising on Broadway in “My Name is Lucy Barton.” The feeling is obviously mutual, [...]

  • 'Broadway Profiles with Tamsen Fadal' to

    'Broadway Profiles with Tamsen Fadal' to Air Weekly, Syndicate Nationally (EXCLUSIVE)

    “Broadway Profiles with Tamsen Fadal” will become nationally syndicated, marking a first for a program about the Great White Way. Beginning in fall 2020, the monthly show will increase frequency to air weekly. The show is hosted and executive-produced by 12-time Emmy Award winner Tamsen Fadal, a news anchor at WPIX, the channel that initially [...]

  • Laura Linney My Name Is Lucy

    Listen: What Laura Linney Learns From Bad Shows

    For Laura Linney, every stage experience is a learning experience. “Even the bad ones!” she cheerfully declared on the new episode of Stagecraft, Variety’s theater podcast. Listen to this week’s podcast below: “Even the ones that are really bad, and I’ve been really bad in some things,” continued the Emmy winner, currently back on Broadway [...]

  • 'Betrayal' Star Zawe Ashton Signs With

    'Betrayal' Star Zawe Ashton Signs With CAA (EXCLUSIVE)

    Zawe Ashton has signed with CAA, Variety has learned. Most recently seen on Broadway in the hit revival of Harold Pinter’s “Betryal,” Ashton is the definition of a multi-hyphenate. In addition to being an in-demand actress, Ashton is a director, playwright and author. While earning critical raves for “Betrayal,” Ashton made her debut as a [...]

  • Michael Feinstein Kristin Chenoweth Sutton Foster

    Jerry Herman Memorial Set for Feb. 3 at Lunt-Fontanne Theatre

    A memorial service for Broadway composer and lyricist Jerry Herman will be held at 3 p.m. on Feb. 3 at Broadway’s Lunt-Fontanne Theatre. Michael Feinstein is producing the tribute, which will feature performances from a number of notable legit stars, including Kristin Chenoweth, Harvey Fierstein, Sutton Foster, Kelli O’Hara, Bernadette Peters and Betty Buckley. Angela [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content