Theatre stars turn out for Olivier Awards

image copyrightUli Weber/Johan Persson
image captionBest actor nominee Mark Strong and best supporting actress nominee Angela Lansbury

Some of the biggest names in theatre have gathered at London's Royal Opera House for the annual Olivier Awards, hosted this year by Lenny Henry.

Dame Judi Dench, Anne-Marie Duff and Chiwetel Ejiofor are among the stars handing out prizes on Sunday night.

Memphis the Musical leads the pack with nine nominations, while Beautiful - The Carole King Musical has eight.

Details of all of the 2015 winners will be published here on the BBC news website from 21:30 BST.

The Oliviers, now in their 39th year, celebrate the London theatre scene.

media captionActor Mark Strong: "It's already a wonderful thing to have been noticed"

The best actor race sees Mark Strong and Richard Armitage nominated for their roles in Arthur Miller plays A View from the Bridge and The Crucible respectively.

They are up against James McAvoy for The Ruling Class and Tim Pigott-Smith for King Charles III.

The latter, Mike Bartlett's blank verse vision of a future monarchy, has six nominations in total, including best play and best director for Rupert Goold.

media captionBeverley Knight on Memphis and Olivier

Also up for best play are the Royal Shakespeare Company's adaptations of Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, "dark net" thriller The Nether, and Taken at Midnight - which stars best actress nominee Penelope Wilton as the mother of a young German lawyer imprisoned by the Nazis.

Joining Wilton on the best actress shortlist are Gillian Anderson for A Streetcar Named Desire, Dame Kristin Scott Thomas for Electra, and Imelda Staunton for Good People.

In the best new musical category, Memphis and Beautiful face competition from the Kinks-inspired Sunny Afternoon and Here Lies Love. Based on the life of Imelda Marcos, David Byrne and Fatboy Slim's musical transformed the National Theatre's Dorfman stage into a nightclub.

Dame Angela Lansbury is up for best supporting actress for her role as eccentric medium Madame Arcati in Blithe Spirit.

"No one can stand in the way of Angela Lansbury winning an Olivier for her West End comeback after over 40 years away, and no one should," said theatre critic Mark Shenton in his list of predictions for The Stage.

The veteran actress is up against Phoebe Fox for A View From the Bridge, the girls playing Iris for The Nether, and Lydia Wilson for King Charles III.

image copyrightVarious
image captionMemphis with Beverley Knight (left) and Beautiful with Katie Brayben (right) lead the nominations

The ceremony will include performances from many of this year's nominated shows. Best actress in a musical nominees Beverley Knight and Katie Brayben will perform songs from Memphis and Beautiful.

Also up for best actress in a musical are Gemma Arterton, for her first on-stage singing role in Made in Dagenham, and Tamsin Greig for Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.

Cats star Nicole Scherzinger, who is up for best supporting actress in a musical, will sing Andrew Lloyd Webber's song Memory.

Cats is nominated for best musical revival along with City of Angels, Miss Saigon and the Gershwins' Porgy and Bess.

image copyrightAlessandro Pinna
image captionNicole Scherzinger played Grizabella in Cats at the London Palladium

The Play That Goes Wrong, Handbagged and Shakespeare in Love are the three productions vying for best new comedy.

The shortlist for the This Morning audience award, the only category voted for by the public, features Billy Elliot, Matilda, Jersey Boys and Wicked.

London's Young Vic theatre has a total of 11 nominations - the most for a single venue - for its productions of A View from the Bridge, The Scottsboro Boys, Bull and A Streetcar Named Desire.

In the dance categories, Sadler's Wells and the Barbican receive four and two nominations each.

The best new opera nominees include the English National Opera's Benvenuto Cellini, directed by Monty Python's Terry Gilliam.

Kevin Spacey will be presented with a special award for his outstanding contribution to the Old Vic. The Oscar-winning actor became the theatre's artistic director in 2004 and steps down later this year.

The evening will also feature a tribute by Akram Khan to fellow dancer Sylvie Guillem.

The Olivier awards ceremony will be followed by a highlights programme on ITV later on Sunday.

The full list of nominations is on the Oliviers website.

More on this story

Related Internet Links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.