Cabaret, the revival of a musical that transformed a West End theatre into a flamboyant yet sinister 1930s Berlin nightclub, has been nominated for 11 Olivier awards ahead of next month’s ceremony.
Eddie Redmayne, the club’s Emcee, and Jessie Buckley, who plays Sally Bowles, are in contention for best actor and best actress in a musical for their highly acclaimed performances.
But the show is up against the equally lauded revival of the classic Cole Porter musical Anything Goes, which smashed box office records at the Barbican last year when it grossed £717,000 in a week. The show has nine nominations, including best actress in a musical for Sutton Foster, and best actor in a musical for Robert Lindsay.
Both Cabaret and Anything Goes are nominated for best musical revival, along with Spring Awakening at the Almeida theatre in north London.
Life of Pi, the stage version of Yann Martel’s Booker-winning novel featuring giant puppets and extraordinary special effects, leads the field for plays, with nine nominations, including best new play. The seven performers who play the puppet tiger are all nominated for best actor in a supporting role.
Lily Allen is nominated as best actress for her West End debut in 2:22 A Ghost Story – which is also nominated as best new play – along with Cush Jumbo for the title role in Hamlet at the Young Vic.
The National Theatre’s production of Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart about the Aids epidemic in 1980s New York has five nominations, including best actor for Ben Daniels and best supporting actress for Liz Carr.
Moulin Rouge! The Musical also has five nominations, while the Bob Marley musical Get Up, Stand Up! and Frozen get four apiece. Beverley Knight, who stars in The Drifters Girl, is among the nominees for best actress in a musical.
Pride and Prejudice* (*Sort of), the joyful all-female retelling of Jane Austen’s classic novel that started life at the Edinburgh fringe, gets three nominations: best entertainment or comedy play, and two for best supporting actress. Despite positive reviews, the show was forced to close early in January after audiences plummeted due to Covid restrictions being reimposed.
Nominations for best director are Rebecca Frecknall for Cabaret, Michael Longhurst for Constellations, Kathleen Marshall for Anything Goes and Max Webster for Life of Pi.
Julian Bird, the chief executive of the Society of London Theatre and executive producer of the Olivier awards, said: “This year’s fantastic array truly demonstrates the breadth and diversity of London’s world-leading theatre industry, and its extraordinary creativity and resilience during an extremely challenging period for our sector.
“After a two-year hiatus, we are delighted to be able to bring the theatre community together again to celebrate our brightest talents.”
The awards ceremony takes place at the Royal Albert Hall on 10 April.