PLAYBILL.COM’S THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW, Jan. 13-19: Nomination News, Here and Abroad

ICYMI   PLAYBILL.COM’S THEATRE WEEK IN REVIEW, Jan. 13-19: Nomination News, Here and Abroad The London production of Monty Python's Spamalot has done well in the land that gave birth to the Python troupe.
Tim Curry and Spamalot are nominated for Olivier Awards.
Tim Curry and Spamalot are nominated for Olivier Awards. Photo by Catherine Ashmore

It leads this year’s Olivier Awards nominations, which were announced this week. The Tony-winning musical comedy received nominations in seven categories, including Best New Musical, Best Actor (Tim Curry) and Best Actress (Hannah Waddingham).

Also receiving multiple nominations was the Menier Chocolate Factory's revival of Sunday in the Park With George, with Jenna Russell and Daniel Evans also cited for Best Actor and Best Actress awards and Sam Buntrock up for Best Director. The much-hyped, reality-show-cast Andrew Lloyd Webber-produced The Sound of Music only received one for Outstanding Musical Production. Wicked, meanwhile, which has broken West End box-office records, received four nominations, headed by Joe Mantello for Best Director.

A number of Olivier-nominated performances will soon be seen in New York: Frank Langella and Michael Sheen in Frost/Nixon; and Eve Best and Colm Meaney in A Moon for the Misbegotten.

The 31st annual Olivier Awards ceremony will take place in London's Grosvenor House Hotel Feb. 18.

*** Speaking of The Menier Chocolate Factory, its revival of another American musical, Little Shop of Horrors—co-starring Sheridan Smith as Audrey and Paul Keating as Seymour — will transfer to London's West End. It will begin previews at London's Duke of York's Theatre March 6 and reopen March 12. The West End production of Little Shop is being co-produced by Americans Bob Boyett and the Frankel/Baruch/Viertel/Routh Group, which may or may not mean something about its future.

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The Tonys made some eligibility decisions this week. The score to Mary Poppins, which features songs from the classic film as well as new tunes, will be eligible for nomination in the Best Score field. This is good news for producers Disney and Cameron Mackintosh. But the Les Miserables revival, which is basically a ditto of the original production, is ineligible for nominations for direction as well as set, costume and lighting design. This is not so good news for Mackintosh. Similarly, the revival of A Chorus Line is ineligible for nomination in the Best Director, Best Choreography, Best Costume Design, Best Lighting Design and Best Scenic Design categories because the work is deemed a re-creation of the original.

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Amiri Baraka's fiery one-act play about race relations, Dutchman, which was one of the big topics of theatrical conversation back in 1964, returned to the theatre where it was originally staged, the Cherry Lane Theatre, on Jan. 16. Dulé Hill, of "The West Wing," stars and Bill Duke directs. The play opens Feb. 10.

Elsewhere Off-Broadway, Gutenberg! The Musical!, the musical comedy spoof of a bad backer's audition, by Scott Brown and Anthony King, transferred to Off-Broadway's The Actors' Playhouse, following a critically acclaimed limited engagement at 59E59 Theaters, where it played from Nov. 21-Dec. 31, 2006. It again stars Christopher Fitzgerald and Jeremy Shamos, who also appeared in the New York Musical Theatre Festival run of the show earlier last fall.

And, at Playwrights Horizons, performances began Jan. 13 for Richard Nelson's Frank's Home, the new drama about famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright — and the tension between his broken family and his career. The production follows a run at Chicago's Goodman Theatre.

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