UK Roundup - Olivier awards, Ralph Fiennes and more!

With the 'big three' musicals - The Woman in White, The Producers and Mary Poppins - this year's Laurence Olivier Awards were bound to have some exciting nominations, and sure enough they do not fail to disappoint. With all three the only nominees for Best New Musical, the judging panel's decision may form a closure on the debate of which is the best. The three shows were the only nominees in a total of three categories; Best Musical, Best Actress in a Musical and Best Performance in a Supporting Role. Though a strenuous run proved tough for Nathan Lane, the actor has picked up a nomination along with co-star Lee Evans for Best Actor in a Musical. Leigh Zimmerman, Maria Friedman and Laura Michelle Kelly battle out the Best Actress category.

For other awards, Victoria Hamilton – who was Tony-nominated for A Day in the Death of Joe Egg – is in the running for Best Actress, as is Australian musical theatre star Caroline O'Connor (for her series of monologues Bombshells). SirMichael Gambon faces Jonathan Pryce, Richard Griffiths and Ben Whishaw for Best Actor and Susan Stroman has tough competition from two of the industry's strongest directors SirRichard Eyre and Nicholas Hytner. Despite protest against the decision to not screen them last year, the awards will be presented at a private ceremony at the Hilton Hotel.

The full list of nominees is here on the official Laurence Olivier Award website

Prepare for an epic Shakespeare outing as Ralph Fiennes leads a cast of over one hundred in Julius Caesar, directed by Debroah Warner. Prior to a European tour it will play at the Barbican Theatre with a cast including Simon Russell Beale (currently receiving excellent reviews as Macbeth at the Almeida) and Paul Rhys. Rhys is another Shakespeare regular, last appearing at The National Theatre in Measure for Measure, whilst the title role is taken by John Shrapnel, whose screen credits include epic films Troy and Gladiator. The ambitious production will embark to Paris, Madrid and Luxembourg after its London run ends on May 14th (previews from 14th April).


Actor Paul Nicholls, who became a British household name aged just sixteen, has returned to the West End in the third cast of Festen. Nicholls played the schizophrenic Joe Wicks in long-running soap EastEnders, but is no stranger to stage work. Having appeared alongside Jessica Lange in Long Day's Journey Into Night, in which he played Edmund, he has also performed at The National Theatre in Vincent in Brixton. Joining him at the Lyric Theatre is William Beck, who lists Snatch and Redcap amongst his screen appearances, and Carol Royle, who replaces Jane Asher. The play, an adaptation of the Dogme film, opened at The Almeida Theatre in March to great critical acclaim, and subsequently transferred in September. It is due to close on 9th April ahead of an anticipated Broadway run.

There's been lots of bits of casting news this week. Alison Jiear, one of the best things about JerrySpringer the Opera, has already found life after her pole dancing character – she'll appear in On The Town as nightclub singers Diana Dream and Dolores Dolores. Joining her there will be Tim Howar as Ozzie, who was last seen in Tonight's the Night but has just become a father again with wife Ruthie Henshall. Over at Guys and Dolls it is Jenna Russell who will play Ewan McGregor's Sarah Brown, completing all principal casting. And finally, Fraser Hadley joins the casting of new musical The Far Pavilions, and PenelopeWilton takes the title role in The House of Bernada Alba at The National Theatre. Phew! Some great names and great casting to look forward to.


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From This Author Jake Brunger

Jake is currently studying at Bristol University and hopes to eventually pursue a career in the theatre industry as a writer/director. His favourite writers include (read more...)