Olivier Awards: Curious Incident leads nominations

NIAMH CUSACK as Siobhan and LUKE TREADAWAY as Christopher Boone in Curious Incident Luke Treadaway plays Christopher Boone in The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time

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The stage version of The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time leads the pack for this year's Olivier Awards with eight nominations.

The National Theatre production, now in the West End, is up for best new play, with Luke Treadaway up for best actor.

Helen Mirren is nominated for best actress for reprising her Oscar-winning role as Queen Elizabeth II in The Audience.

Winners will be announced at the Royal Opera House on 28 April.

The ceremony will be hosted by Hugh Bonneville and Sheridan Smith.

MOST NOMINATED SHOWS

Tom Chambers (centre) with the male ensemble of Top Hat
  • The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time - 8
  • Top Hat (pictured) - 7
  • Sweeney Todd - 6
  • The Audience - 5
  • Kiss Me, Kate - 5
  • Constellations - 4

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, adapted by Simon Stephens, premiered at the National's Cottesloe Theatre last year and transferred to London's Apollo Theatre this month.

Treadaway plays 15-year-old Christopher Boone, a maths genius with Asperger's syndrome, who sets out to solve the mystery of who killed his neighbour's dog.

"I'm absolutely thrilled to have so many Olivier nominations for our show," said the play's director Marianne Elliott.

"What started out as an 'experimental' exploration of Mark Haddon's wonderful novel, turned into a very fulfilling and creative experience for all of us."

Elliott is shortlisted for best director, while Nicola Walker is up for best supporting actress. The play also features in the best lighting, sound, set design and choreographer categories.

Curious Incident is joined in the best new play category by Nick Payne's multi-verse drama Constellations, Peter Morgan's The Audience, and This House, James Graham's political drama at the National Theatre.

Dame Helen is up for best actress alongside Hattie Morahan for A Doll's House, Billie Piper for The Effect and Kristin Scott Thomas for Old Times. Dame Helen won the best actress Oscar in 2007 for her performance in the film The Queen, also written by Peter Morgan.

The best actor race sees Curious Incident's Treadaway up against Rupert Everett's Oscar Wilde in The Judas Kiss, James McAvoy's Macbeth, Mark Rylance for Twelfth Night and Rafe Spall for Constellations.

Both Macbeth and Twelfth Night are up for best revival, along with with Long Day's Journey Into Night and Old Times.

Helen Mirren as The Queen Helen Mirren is nominated for her role as the Queen in Peter Morgan's The Audience

The nominations were announced by Olivier Award-winners Ruth Wilson and Elaine Paige on Tuesday at London's May Fair Hotel, and broadcast live on BBC Radio 2's Ken Bruce show.

"This year's nominations show variety, strength and depth," said Julian Bird, chief executive of the Society of London Theatre.

He said that the subsidised sector was strongly represented in plays from the National Theatre and the Royal Court, while commercial theatre had "shone through" with plays and musicals such as The Audience, Top Hat and The Bodyguard.

'Long journey'

Top Hat, based on the 1935 film with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, has seven nominations, including nods for original cast members Tom Chambers and Summer Strallen.

Producer Kenny Wax said: "A lot of the company have been with the show since June 2011, so it's been a long journey and this is a testament to everybody's hard work."

Steven Sondheim's blood-soaked musical Sweeney Todd, which transferred to the West End from Chichester Festival Theatre, was shortlisted six times.

Michael Ball and Imelda Staunton are up for best actor and best actress in a musical for their respective roles as the demonic barber and the pie-making Mrs Lovett.

Ball competes against Alex Bourne for Kiss Me, Kate, Chambers for Top Hat and Will Young for Cabaret. Staunton's competition is Heather Headley for The Bodyguard, Hannah Waddingham for Kiss Me, Kate and Top Hat's Strallen.

Sweeney Todd is also up for best musical revival with A Chorus Line, Cabaret and Kiss Me, Kate.

Mark Goucher, A Chorus Line's producer, told the BBC: "It took 37 years to get A Chorus Line back to London - it's a classic show with the original creatives in charge who I think have produced a first class revival."

Sheridan Smith Double Olivier winner Sheridan Smith will co-host this year's ceremony

The best new musical contenders are Loserville, Soul Sister, The Bodyguard and Top Hat.

Billy Elliot The Musical, Matilda The Musical, The Phantom Of The Opera and Wicked are shortlisted for the BBC Radio 2 Audience Award - the only Olivier Award voted for by the public.

English National Opera Dance gets three out of four nominations for best new opera production - Billy Budd, Caligula and La Traviata are up against the Barbican Theatre's Einstein on the Beach.

Nominations for best new dance production and outstanding achievement in dance are all split between The Royal Ballet and Sadler's Wells.

Gillian Lynne, whose choreography credits include more than 50 shows including Cats and The Phantom of The Opera, and playwright and novelist Michael Frayn are to be honoured with awards for outstanding contributions to theatre.

The full list of nominations is available on the Olivier Awards website.

The 28 April ceremony will be live on BBC Radio 2 from 18.30 GMT and a television highlights package will also be broadcast on ITV later in the evening.

At last year's awards, Matilda the Musical set a new record by winning a total of seven trophies.

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