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LONDON — The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time was the big winner at this year’s Olivier Awards, Britain’s top theater honors and the country’s equivalent of the Tony Awards.
The National Theatre production, adapted by Simon Stephens from Mark Haddon‘s 2003 novel, was up for eight awards and won seven, including for best new play and best director, Marianne Elliott (War Horse). That haul tied last year’s record seven Olivier Awards for the hit musical Matilda.
Actor Luke Treadaway, who plays the protagonist in Curious Incident — a math genius with Asperger’s Syndrome trying to find out who killed his neighbor’s dog — won the best actor award. The other nominees were Rupert Everett for his part in The Judas Kiss, James McAvoy‘s Macbeth, Mark Rylance for his role in Twelfth Night and Rafe Spall for Constellations.
Treadaway’s Curious Incident co-star Nicola Walker received the award for best supporting performance in a play. The production also won for set design, lighting and sound.
In the best new play category, Curious Incident beat out drama Constellations, political drama This House, and The Audience, which stars Helen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth II.
Mirren won the award in the lead actress category, beating out Kristin Scott Thomas for Old Times, Hattie Morahan for her role in A Doll’s House and Billie Piper for The Effect. Mirren’s co-star Richard McCabe won supporting actor honors for his role as Harold Wilson, one of the eight British Prime Ministers with whom the Queen meets over the decades in Peter Morgan‘s play.
Best revival of a play went to Long Day’s Journey Into Night, starring Laurie Metcalf and David Suchet.
The best new musical contenders were Loserville, Soul Sister, The Bodyguard and Top Hat, with Top Hat coming out on top. The production also won awards for choreography and costume design.
Sweeney Todd, nominated for six Olivier awards, won for best musical revival and also earned honors for Imelda Staunton as best actress and Michael Ball as best actor in a musical. Leigh Zimmerman won best supporting performance in a musical for her role in A Chorus Line.
Billy Elliot: The Musical beat out Matilda, The Phantom Of The Opera and Wicked for the BBC Radio 2 Audience Award, which is the only Olivier decided by public voting.
Playwright Michael Frayn (Noises Off, Copenhagen) received a special award Sunday night.
The Oliviers were announced and celebrated at the British capital’s Royal Opera House. Downton Abbey star Hugh Bonneville and London theater favorite Sheridan Smith hosted the awards show.
Among the presenters were Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe, Damian Lewis (Homeland) and Kim Cattrall, who has worked frequently on stage in the U.K. in the years since Sex and the City ended its HBO run.
Although no details have been confirmed, The Audience is expected to transfer to Broadway with Mirren in spring 2014. The awards magnet Curious Incident, which has transferred to London’s West End since its national debut, is also tipped to cross the Atlantic next season.
A Royal Shakespeare Company production, Matilda opened April 11 on Broadway to rave reviews and is considered one of the favorites in the upcoming Tony Awards, nominations for which will be announced on Tuesday.
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