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The RSC's The Winter's Tale (off to Broadway) and the NT's Sweeney Todd are the front-runners in the Olivier Award stakes. With six nominations apiece, they face stiff competition from Hysteria, City of Angels and Machinal, each of which has chalked up five. Theatre-goers wishing to check out the form will have a hard time, though, as Sweeney Todd is the only one of the above still running.

Undeterred by recent megaflops, (remember Leonardo?) two more real-life musicals are imminent.

Shun Tokura, the composer of Out of the Blue, the story of American POWs in Nagasaki bombed by their own forces, has long been in search of a writer. One of those approached was attracted by the idea, but after listening to 'the frankly Europop music and lyrics', politely turned it down.

Despite its unofficial backstage title Hiroshima, the Musical, the producers are rumoured to be considering the Shaftesbury Theatre, on the grounds of its good track- record and size. They should remember that a recent show there was entitled Follies.

Meanwhile, Oscar (Wilde, not Schindler) opens tonight at the King's Head. Written by Mike Read, the show arrives trailing recommendations from Cliff Richard - 'I thought it was fabulous' - and Wilde's grandson - 'This is the tragedy that Oscar lived - but didn't live to write about.' Previous attempts at turning Wilde's plays into musicals have not been entirely successful. Anyone for a revival of the forgotten Earnest musical Born in a Handbag?

The theatre publisher Nick Hern Books has won the Small Publishers Award. The prestige (rather than the pounds 1,000 prize money) will give a boost to this wholly independent publishing house.

Nick Hern is 'thrilled that anyone has even noticed us'. In an area not noted for being an easy route to riches - the phrase 'a million copies sold' is unlikely to be splashed across a play-text - Hern's success is attributable to a canny mix of experience and personal taste.

April's list is typically eclectic: John Gielgud's youthful Notes from the Gods and the Royal Court writer-in- residence Phyllis Nagy's hot new play Butterfly Kiss, about to receive its world premiere at the Almeida.

(Photograph omitted)

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