Billy Elliot dances off with top Olivier Awards

BY admin

March 01 2006 12:00 AM ET

A trio of young
stars from Billy Ellio
t, the musical tale of a miner's son who wants to
dance, stole the show at the U.K.'s prestigious
Olivier Awards on Sunday. James Lomas, George Maguire,
and Liam Mower, the young actors who alternate in the
title role, eclipsed Star Wars star Ewan
McGregor, nominated for his turn as New York gambler
Sky Masterson in an acclaimed revival of Guys and
Dolls
, to win the award for best actor in a musical.

Billy Elliot
, whose gritty story line and energetic tunes
have made it a critical and popular hit, took awards
in three other categories, including new musical. The show,
which has music by Elton John and the book and lyrics
by Lee Hall, also scooped up prizes for theater
choreographer—Peter Darling—and for sound
design, by Paul Arditti.

Though McGregor
lost out, his American costar Jane Krakowski took the
award for best actress in a musical for her performance as
Miss Adelaide. Brian Dennehy was named best actor in a
play for his portrayal of Willy Loman in a revival of
Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman. The
Laurence Olivier Awards, the U.K. equivalent of
the Tonys, honor achievements in theater, musicals, dance,
and opera.

A revival of
Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen was the most
successful production of the evening: Eve Best took the best
actress in a play award for her role as Ibsen's heroine,
director and revival went to Richard Eyre, and
Hedda Gabler also took the set-design prize
for Rob Howell.

On the Shore of the Wide World by Simon
Stephens received new play honors, and the new comedy prize
was won by Heroes by Gerald Sibleyras in a
translation by Tom Stoppard. This year's special award
went to Ian McKellen—an out stalwart of
stage and screen for four decades—for his
contribution to theater and his support of the industry.

The English
National Opera, which has endured a tumultuous year that saw
it lose both its artistic director and chairman, had
all four nominations in the opera production
category—which was won by Madam Butterfly.
Simon Keenlyside's performances in the national
opera's Billy Budd and the Royal Opera House's
1984 won outstanding achievement in opera. (AP)

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