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Olivier Award nominations announced

‘Mary Poppins,’ ‘Producers’ lead London honors
/ Source: The Associated Press

BC-Theater-Olivier Awards,0422

‘Mary Poppins’ and ‘The Producers’ lead Olivier Award nominations

With BC-Olivier Awards List

AP Photo NYET198

LONDON (AP) — “Mary Poppins” and “The Producers” lead the nominations for this year’s Laurence Olivier Awards, honoring achievement in London theater, opera and dance during 2004.

“Mary Poppins” had nine nominations including best new musical, best actress in a musical for the show’s star Laura Michelle Kelly and best actor in a musical for Gavin Lee, who plays Bert the chimney sweep in Cameron Mackintosh’s big-budget production.

The Mel Brooks musical “The Producers,” which was a smash-hit on Broadway and won a record 12 Tony Awards, received eight nominations at Thursday’s announcement. Co-stars Lee Evans and Nathan Lane — who is no longer in the show — are up for the actor in a musical prize. Leigh Zimmerman, who plays Swedish secretary Ulla, is a nominee in the musical actress category.

“Mary Poppins” and “The Producers” opened late last year in London and have proved huge hits with critics and audiences.

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s latest West End production “The Woman in White,” which has been less well received, had five Olivier nominations. They include new musical and supporting performance in a musical for Michael Crawford, who also starred in the original production of Webber’s “Phantom of the Opera.”

The nominees for new play were Alan Bennett’s “The History Boys,” which has been a hit for Britain’s National Theatre; Edward Albee’s “The Goat, Or Who Is Sylvia?”; “Festen”; and “By the Bog of Cats,” starring Holly Hunter.

The actor category includes a nomination for newcomer Ben Whishaw, who won rave reviews for his lead role performance in “Hamlet” at the Old Vic. He is up against veterans Michael Gambon for “Endgame”; Richard Griffiths for “The History Boys”; and Jonathan Pryce for “The Goat, Or Who Is Sylvia?”

Best actress will go to Victoria Hamilton for “Suddenly Last Summer”; Clare Higgins for “Hecuba”; Anna Maxwell Martin for “His Dark Materials”; or Caroline O’Connor for “Bombshells.”

Judi Dench received her 13th Olivier nomination for her supporting role as the Countess of Rossillion in “All’s Well That Ends Well.” She competes with Samuel Barnett, “The History Boys”; Amanda Harris, “Othello”; and Eddie Redmayne, “The Goat, Or Who Is Sylvia?”

The 29th Olivier Awards ceremony will be held on Feb. 20.