×

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.

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.

Popular on Variety

More Legit

  • Mark Rylance Oscars 2016

    'Bridge of Spies' Actor Mark Rylance Leads Union Drive for Coronavirus Relief Donations

    U.K. entertainment industry union Equity has pledged £1 million ($1.2 million) to support its members who have been affected by the pandemic-induced industry shutdown. Equity is asking for more donations, stating that the vast majority of its 47,000 members earn modest sums and do not have savings as a fall-back option. The appeal for further [...]

  • Directors Coronavirus

    Economic Package For Freelancers Elicits Mixed Response From U.K. Industry

    The long-awaited economic measures for the self-employed revealed by U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak on Thursday have elicited mixed response from the film and TV industry’s predominantly freelance workforce. Self-employed individuals can claim 80% of their average income over the last three years up to £2,500 ($3,000) a month, which is taxable. To [...]

  • The Inheritance review

    Critic’s Notebook: The Night Before Broadway Went Dark

    Let me preface this by saying the story I’m about to tell is not the smartest thing I’ve ever done. Two weeks ago, I rushed to New York City to catch “The Inheritance” before it closed on Broadway. I’d been tracking the play by Matthew Lopez — a multigenerational, six-and-a-half-hour monument that resurrects E.M. Forster [...]

  • Mark Blum dead

    Mark Blum, 'Desperately Seeking Susan' Star, Dies From Coronavirus Complications

    Actor Mark Blum, who appeared in “Desperately Seeking Susan,” “Crocodile Dundee” and the TV series “You,” has died due to complications from coronavirus. He was 69. The Playwrights Horizons theater group and SAG-AFTRA executive vice president Rebecca Damon confirmed the news on Thursday. It is with such deep sorrow that I’m writing to share the news [...]

  • U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi

    U.K. Chancellor Announces Emergency Measures for Freelancers

    The U.K. has finally announced an economic relief package for freelancers not in employment after much of the country’s creative industries shuttered due to the coronavirus pandemic. Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak announced a new self-employed income support scheme on Thursday. Self-employed individuals can claim 80% of their average income over the last three [...]

  • Celia Keenan-Bolger73rd Annual Tony Awards, Show,

    Tony Awards Postponed Due to Coronavirus Pandemic

    The Tony Awards are the latest industry event to be postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic. The American Theatre Wing, which backs the show, announced on Wednesday that the 74th edition of the annual celebration of the best of theater will be pushed back indefinitely. The ceremony was originally scheduled to air live on CBS, [...]

  • Debra Messing Golden Globes

    'Caroline, Or Change,' 'Birthday Candles' Postpone Broadway Runs Due to Coronavirus

    Roundabout Theatre Company is moving its hotly anticipated revival of “Caroline, Or Change” to the fall, as well as its upcoming production of “Birthday Candles” with Debra Messing. The shifts are an acknowledgment of a painful reality. Theaters in New York City have been closed due to the coronavirus pandemic and with the rate of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content