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Stars to celebrate British theater at annual Olivier Awards

By The News · 10 of April 2019 10:29:52
AP Photo,, No available, FILE - In this Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2017 file photo, actor Ian McKellen poses on the red carpet at the 12th edition of the Rome Film Fest, in Rome. British stage stars were preparing Sunday, April 7, 2019 for the annual Olivier Awards, where musicals "Come From Away" and "Company" lead the race with nine nominations apiece. Other acting contenders include Ian McKellen for "King Lear," Gillian Anderson for "All About Eve" and Sophie Okonedo for "Antony and Cleopatra." (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini, file)

LONDON (AP) — Stars of the British stage are gearing up for the Olivier Awards ceremony in London, where the musicals “Come From Away” and “Company” lead this year’s race for recognition with nine nominations apiece.

“Come From Away,” about the Newfoundland town of Gander that hosted thousands of travelers stranded by canceled flights after the 9/11 attacks, is up for best new musical at Britain’s equivalent of Broadway’s Tony Awards.

A gender-switched production of Stephen Sondheim’s “Company” is nominated in categories including best musical revival.

The epic gay-history drama “The Inheritance” has eight nominations, including best new play, best actor for Kyle Soller and best supporting actress for Vanessa Redgrave.

A revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “The King and I” starring Kelli O’Hara and Ken Watanabe, which began life at New York’s Lincoln Center, has six nominations.

Other acting contenders include Ian McKellen for “King Lear;” Gillian Anderson for “All About Eve;” and Sophie Okonedo for “Antony and Cleopatra.”

Sally Field, Kelsey Grammer, Tom Hiddleston and Wendell Pierce are among stars expected on the red carpet Sunday at London’s Royal Albert Hall.

Named for the late British actor Laurence Olivier, the prizes honor achievements in London theater, musicals, dance and opera. Winners in most categories are chosen by a panel of stage professionals and theatergoers.

This year’s show will also salute long-running musicals “The Lion King” and “Mamma Mia,” each celebrating 20 years in London’s West End.

Matthew Bourne — the choreographer behind an iconic production of “Swan Lake” — is set to receive a lifetime achievement honor, presented by Prince Charles’ wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall.