The Olivier Awards for British theater are back after a hiatus imposed by COVID

LONDON (AP) — “Cabaret” stars Eddie Redmayne and Jessie Buckley are among the acting nominees for the Olivier Awards for British Theatre, who return on Sunday with a live ceremony and a black-tie crowd after a three-year gap imposed by COVID-19.

London’s celebration of theatre, opera and dance returns to London’s Royal Albert Hall for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic shut down UK performance venues more than two years ago, weeks before the Oliviers show scheduled for 2020.

Kit Harington, Tom Felton, Emma Corrin and Jonathan Pryce were among the stars expected to step onto the sustainable green carpet, made from reusable grass, on a sunny afternoon in London ahead of the glitzy and musical ceremony.

Redmayne and Buckley are nominated for their roles as emcee and Sally Bowles in an intimate production of “Cabaret” that transformed London’s Playhouse Theater into a Kit Kat Club in 1930s Berlin. The show has 11 nominations for the Olives, the UK’s equivalent of Broadway’s Tony Awards.

Redmayne is up for Best Actor in a Musical alongside Olly Dobson for ‘Back to the Future – The Musical’; Arinzé Kene for “Get Up! The Bob Marley Musical; and Robert Lindsay for “Anything Goes”.

Buckley is competing for Best Actress in a Musical against Sutton Foster for “Anything Goes”; Beverley Knight for “The Drifters Girl”; and Stephanie McKeon for “Frozen.”

Knight said the theater community is ready to celebrate after a tough few years.

“We’ve been deprived of theater for so long, we just had nothing. And people only realize the importance of the place that theater and live entertainment played in any society when it was taken down,” she said.

“We bring in millions of dollars and it’s week after week. We therefore contribute to giving dynamism to the economy, but more than that, we nourish the soul of the nation,” she added.

The contenders for Best New Musical are “Back to the Future – The Musical”; “The Wanderer’s Daughter;” “Frozen;” “Get up! The Bob Marley Musical; and “Moulin Rouge!” The nominees for Best New Play are “2:22 A Ghost Story”; “The best of enemies”; “Cruise;” and “The Life of Pi”.

Nominees for Best Actors and Actresses for Plays include Lily Allen for “2:22 A Ghost Story”; Cush Jumbo for “Hamlet”; Omari Douglas for “Constellations”; and Ben Daniels for “The Normal Heart”.

The show will also host a musical tribute to a titan of theater – composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim, who died last year at 91.

The last Olives Ceremony, held largely remotely in October 2020, rewarded the work done before the UK government ordered UK theaters to close in March 2020. Theaters began to reopen at the mid-2021 and shows are largely up and running again, although the number of international visitors, essential to sustaining West End shows, remains well below pre-pandemic levels.

The awards were created in 1976 and are named after the late actor-director Laurence Olivier. Winners in most categories are chosen by a panel of performing professionals and theatergoers.


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Edward L. Robinett