The National Theatre leads the London Evening Standard Theatre Awards shortlist with seven nominations including best actor for Ralph Fiennes and best actress for Denise Gough.
For the first time this year, there are three musical awards, including the Evening Standard Radio 2 Audience Award for best musical, the winner of which will be announced live on the night by Radio 2 host Elaine Paige.
In the Best Actor category, Fiennes’ performance as philosophical revolutionary Jack Tanner in Man and Superman will compete against four-time Evening Standard Award winner Simon Russell Beale for his lead turn in Temple at the Donmar Warehouse, Kenneth Cranham in The Father, and James McAvoy in The Ruling Class.
Returning to the London stage in Photograph 51 after a 17-year absence, Nicole Kidman is shortlisted for the Natasha Richardson Award for Best Actress alongside Gough for People, Places and Things, rising star Gugu Mbatha-Raw for Nell Gwynn, and Lia Williams as the husband-murdering Clytemnestra in Oresteia.
Stephen Adly Guirgis’ The Motherf***** with the Hat and Florian Zeller’s The Father, translated by Christopher Hampton, vie for best play with Martin McDonagh’s Hangmen.
The Motherf*****’s Indhu Rubasingham appears in the best director category against Jamie Lloyd for Assassins at the Menier Chocolate Factory and Robert Icke for Oresteia.
The Royal Court and the Donmar trail behind the national with five and four nominations respectively.
Imelda Staunton will be recognised for her role as pushy showbiz mother Mamma Rose in the inaugural best musical performance category alongside Kinky Boots’ Killian Donnelly, Beautiful’s Katie Brayben and City of Angel’s Rosalie Craig.
Gemma Arterton, who played factory girl Rita in Made in Dagenham, will be competition with High Society’s Ellie Bamber and Bend it Like Beckham’s Natalie Dew for newcomer in a musical.
The London Evening Standard’s owner Evgeny Lebedev said, “This fantastic shortlist bears witness to the fact that Londoners are living through a theatrical golden age.
“With ground-breaking director-led seasons, visionary new writing dominating the West End and the world¹s finest thespian talent queuing up to perform here, London¹s theatre scene is the envy of the world.”
Winners will be announced at an awards ceremony on November 22, hosted by Rob Brydon and co-hosted by Evgeny Lebedev, Dame Judi Dench and Sir Ian McKellen.