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Thursday, 17 January, 2002, 12:53 GMT
Classic musicals top Olivier list
Martine McCutcheon has a nomination for My Fair Lady
Martine McCutcheon has a nomination for My Fair Lady
Classic musical revivals have scooped the most nominations for this year's Laurence Olivier Awards, the most prestigious prizes in UK theatre.

The revival of Kiss Me, Kate got nine nominations, while My Fair Lady was given eight, including one best actress nod for former TV soap star Martine McCutcheon.

Marin Mazzie is up for best actress for Kiss Me, Kate
Marin Mazzie is up for best actress for Kiss Me, Kate
A recent staging of Noel Coward's comedy Private Lives leads the field of non-musical plays, with seven nominations.

Michael Blakemore's production of Kiss Me, Kate, which was a hit on Broadway before transferring to the West End, is up for the Hilton Award for outstanding musical production.

Its four visiting United States stars, Marin Mazzie, Brent Barrett, Nancy Anderson, and Michael Berresse, are all nominated for acting awards.

My Fair Lady is also up for the Hilton Award, while former EastEnders star McCutcheon, who repeatedly missed performances because of illness, is nominated in the best actress in a musical or entertainment category.

Advance sales

Her co-stars Jonathan Pryce, who played Higgins, and Nicholas le Prevost, who played Pickering, have a chance in the best actor and best supporting actor categories respectively.

The show began at the National Theatre in March and transferred to the West End, where advance sales reached 10m in just 18 weeks.

Lindsay Duncan is named twice in the same category
Lindsay Duncan is named twice in the same category
Another National Theatre revival, South Pacific, is the only other show up for the Hilton Award.

In the non-musical play categories, Lindsay Duncan will compete against herself after being nominated for roles in two different shows in the best actress category.

Her roles in Mouth To Mouth and Private Lives have both been lauded, and she is up against Victoria Hamilton for A Day in the Death of Joe Egg and Zoe Wanamaker for David Mamet's Boston Marriage.

Duncan's Private Lives leading man Alan Rickman is named in the best actor category.

He will compete with a joint nomination for Sean Foley and Hamish McColl, who have had rave reviews for their tribute to Morecambe and Wise, The Play What I Wrote.

Roger Allam, for Privates on Parade, and Simon Russell Beale, for Humble Boy, are also nominated for best actor.

Sean Foley and Hamish McColl in The Play What I Wrote
The Play What I Wrote has received rave reviews
US singer Barbara Cook is named for her tribute show to Stephen Sondheim, while another veteran performer, Ned Beatty, is nominated for his supporting role in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

Among the other shows with nods include The League of Gentlemen, The Vagina Monologues, Gagarin Way and Closer To Heaven.

The shortlist recognises "a fantastic range of wonderful productions and fine performances", according to Sir Stephen Waley-Cohen, chairman of the Olivier Awards Committee.

"They remind us just how good London Theatre has been in the past 12 months."

New categories

The awards were established in 1976 and also include categories for opera and dance as well as directing and technical awards.

New categories include most promising playwright and most promising performer.

And fans will have the chance to vote for their favourite show - from productions that have been running fore more than one year - for the first time.

The awards ceremony will be hosted by Clive Anderson on 15 February and broadcast on BBC Two the following day.

See also:

17 Dec 01 | Showbiz
Fair Lady breaks sales record
02 Nov 01 | Reviews
Kate's passionate kiss
02 Nov 01 | Reviews
Kiss Me Kate: Your views
26 Oct 01 | Arts
Blair boosts West End
12 Oct 01 | Reviews
Private Lives revealed
28 Dec 01 | Arts
The show must go on
26 Nov 01 | Arts
Greek tragedy does it again
23 Feb 01 | Entertainment
Julie Walters wins Olivier
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