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Last Updated: Wednesday, 18 January 2006, 00:39 GMT
Elliot show tops stage shortlist
Billy Elliot
Lomas (left), Maguire (2nd right), Mower (far right) meet Elton John
The musical version of Billy Elliot leads the nominations for this year's Laurence Olivier Awards, which honour the best of the London stage.

The show is up for nine awards at the 26 February gala, including best actor in a musical - shared between James Lomas, George Maguire and Liam Mower.

The trio, who each play Billy, face Ewan McGregor and Douglas Hodge from Guys and Dolls, which has eight nods.

Don Carlos, Hedda Gabler and Mary Stuart have six nominations each.

Billy Elliot's other nominations include best new musical and best director for Stephen Daldry.

Victoria Wood's West End version of Acorn Antiques is also in the best new musical category.

Janet McTeer and Harriet Walter are both shortlisted for best actress for the Donmar Warehouse production of Mary Stuart.

Their fellow nominees are Helen McCrory, from the Wyndham's Theatre production of As You Like It, Clare Higgins for Death of a Salesman at the Lyric, and Eve Best for Hedda Gabler at the Almeida and Duke of York's theatres.

Sir Derek Jacobi makes the best actor shortlist for his part in Don Carlos at the Gielgud Theatre, while Richard Griffiths is up for Heroes at Wyndham's Theatre.

Completing a distinguished line-up of nominees are Brian Dennehy for Death of a Salesman at the Lyric, Con O'Neill for Telstar at the New Ambassadors, and David Threlfall for Someone Who'll Watch Over Me.

'Array of talent'

For best director, Stephen Daldry is up against Richard Eyre for Hedda Gabler, Michael Grandage for Don Carlos, Phyllida Lloyd for Mary Stuart, and Melly Still for Coram Boy at the Olivier.

In the opera categories, the English National Opera's productions of Billy Budd, La Clemenza Di Tito, Madam Butterfly and On The Town all vie for the best new opera production prize.

Rosemary Squire, president of the Society of London Theatre, which hands out the awards, said the list "demonstrates what an array of theatrical talent we have in London Theatre".

She said it reinforced London's position "as the theatre capital of the world", and confirmed its "unique appeal as a premium destination for world-class entertainment."

This year's awards, the 30th, will be presented by actor Richard Wilson at the London Hilton hotel.

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