LONDON — A gender-swapping version of Stephen Sondheim’s “Company” and the feel-good 9/11 musical “Come From Away” dominate the nominations for this year’s Oliver Awards — the British equivalent of the Tony Awards — which were announced on Tuesday.
“Company,” which got nine nominations including best musical revival, was expected to lead the way. The production has been one of the most acclaimed in London in the last year.
The Times’s theater critic Ben Brantley wrote that the “Company” revival, which replaces the musical’s male lead with a woman, “has emotional coherence and clout that it never possessed in my previous experiences of the show.”
“Come From Away,” which opened at the Phoenix Theater in January, is about the residents of a Canadian town who accommodated 6,700 travelers whose planes were diverted there after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. It also received nine nominations, including one for best new musical, despite receiving less positive reviews in London than it did when it opened on Broadway in 2017.
“It is musically vigorous and excellently staged,” wrote Michael Billington, the theater critic for The Guardian. He added: “I found something bludgeoning about its relentless celebration of civic virtue.”
In nonmusical categories, “The Inheritance,” a two-part, six-and-a-half hour play about the legacy of AIDS, received eight nominations. The play had rave reviews and is expected to transfer to Broadway. Dominic Cavendish, writing in The Daily Telegraph, called it “a theatrical marathon that instantly looks like a modern classic,” adding that it was “perhaps the most important American play of the century so far.”
It will compete for best new play against “The Lehman Trilogy,” a family saga, directed by Sam Mendes, about founders of the financial firm bearing their name (It opens at the Park Avenue Armory on March 22); “Sweat,” Lynn Nottage’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play set in working class Pennsylvania; and “Misty,” a one-man-show about a black artist trying to make it in a white world.
Other notable nominees in the awards, organized by the Society of London Theater, include Gillian Anderson for best actress for her role in Ivo van Hove’s adaptation of “All About Eve,” at the Noël Coward Theater. Also nominated in that category is Sophie Okonedo, for her role as Cleopatra in the National Theater’s "Antony and Cleopatra.”
Ian McKellen received a best actor nomination for “King Lear” at the Duke of York’s Theater. He is up against all three actors starring in “The Lehman Trilogy”: Adam Godley, Ben Miles and Simon Russell Beale.
Winners of the Oliver Awards will be announced April 7 at a ceremony at the Royal Albert Hall in London. The best director award will be called the Sir Peter Hall Award for the first time, after the founder of the Royal Shakespeare Company, who died in 2017. The change was announced last April, after the director was omitted from an in memoriam segment at the 2018 awards.
An earlier version of this article misidentified the location where “The Lehman Trilogy” will run in New York. It will open at the Park Avenue Armory on March 22, not on Broadway.
Source: Read Full Article