Billy Elliot trio dance into prime position for Olivier prize

They are only adolescents, and hardly household names. But the young boys who take it in turns to star as Billy Elliot will battle it out with the Guys And Dolls stars Ewan McGregor and Douglas Hodge for the title of best actor in a musical at this year's Laurence Olivier Awards.

James Lomas, 15, George Maguire, 15, and Liam Mower, 13, get a collective nomination in a haul of nine - including best director for Stephen Daldry - secured by the stage adaptation of the film. They are the youngest actors to be shortlisted in the 30 years of the awards.

Daldry said: "I am absolutely delighted, particularly for the boys who for more than two years have worked incredibly hard and continue to dazzle and amaze me." With eight chances of success, the Guys And Dolls director Michael Grandage can scarcely be regretting his decision to persuade McGregor to make his West End musical debut.

There were also multiple nominations for several heavyweight productions, notably six for Don Carlos by Friedrich Schiller starring Derek Jacobi.

In what proved an astonishing year for the 18th-century German playwright, the Donmar Warehouse production of Schiller's Mary Stuart also receives a clutch of nominations.

Its co-stars Janet McTeer and Harriet Walter go head-to-head as best actress in an impressive shortlist which also includes Eve Best's acclaimed Hedda Gabler.

Hedda Gabler, by Henrick Ibsen, transferred to the West End from the Almeida in London, helping to distribute nominations fairly equally between the capital's leading venues. The National Theatre secured seven, principally for the new play, Coram Boy, adapted by Helen Edmundson from a novel by Jamila Gavin.

The Royal Court, the traditional home of new writing, gets one shot at the best new play title, with Richard Bean's work on pig farming, Harvest, while the National secures three - for Coram Boy, On the Shore of the Wide World by Simon Stephens and Paul, the examination of the life of the apostle, by Howard Brenton.

Other productions to be recognised include the Young Vic's A Raisin in the Sun, The Big Life, which was the first British black musical in the West End, and Frank McGuinness's Someone Who'll Watch Over Me, for which David Threlfall gets a shot at best actor.

His rivals include the American Brian Dennehy for his performance as Willy Lomax in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman, Derek Jacobi in Don Carlos and Richard Griffiths for Heroes.

The nominations threw up some oddities. Though the critics had reservations about Victoria Wood's Acorn Antiques - the Musical! it is up for three awards. Ducktastic, the latest show from the Right Size duo directed by Kenneth Branagh, has a best entertainment nomination despite poor audiences which forced it to close early.

The winners will be announced in London on 26 February.

The contenders

BEST ACTRESS

* Eve Best for Hedda Gabler

* Clare Higgins for Death Of A Salesman

* Helen McCrory for As You Like It

* Janet McTeer for Mary Stuart

BEST ACTOR

* Brian Dennehy for Death Of A Salesman

* Richard Griffiths for Heroes

* Derek Jacobi for Don Carlos

* Con O'Neill for Telstar

* David Threlfall for Someone Who'll Watch Over Me

BEST ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL

* Haydn Gwynne for Billy Elliot - The Musical

* Jane Krakowskfor Guys And Dolls

* Jenna Russell Guys And Dolls

* Julie Walters for Acorn Antiques - The Musical!

BEST ACTOR IN A MUSICAL

* Douglas Hodge for Guys And Dolls

* Ewan McGregor for Guys And Dolls

* James Lomas, George Maguire and Liam Mower for Billy Elliot - The Musical

BEST DIRECTOR

* Stephen Daldry for Billy Elliot - The Musical

* Richard Eyre for Hedda Gabler

* Michael Grandage for Don Carlos

* Phyllida Lloyd for Mary Stuart

* Melly Still for Coram Boy

Arts and Entertainment
Blackman: Landscape of children’s literature does not reflect the cultural diversity of young people
booksMalorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Arts and Entertainment
'Eminem's recovery from substance abuse has made him a more potent performer, with physical charisma and energy he never had before'
musicReview: Wembley Stadium ***
Arts and Entertainment
‘Dawn of Planet of the Apes’ also looks set for success in the Chinese market

film
News
Arts and Entertainment
The successful ITV drama Broadchurch starring David Tenant and Olivia Coleman came to an end tonight

tv
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Chocolat author Joanne Harris has spoken about the financial struggles most authors face

books
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from How To Train Your Dragon 2

Review: Imaginative storytelling returns with vigour

film
Arts and Entertainment
Josh Hutcherson, Donald Sutherland and Jena Malone in Mockinjay: Part 1

film
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Characters in the new series are based on real people, say its creators, unlike Arya and Clegane the Dog in ‘Game of Thrones’
tv
Arts and Entertainment
A waxwork of Jane Austen has been unveiled at The Jane Austen Centre in Bath

books
Arts and Entertainment
Britney Spears has been caught singing without Auto-Tune

music
Arts and Entertainment
Unless films such as Guardians of the Galaxy, pictured, can buck the trend, this summer could be the first in 13 years that not a single Hollywood blockbuster takes $300m

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Miley Cyrus has her magic LSD brain stolen in this crazy video produced with The Flaming Lips

music
Arts and Entertainment
Gay icons: Sesame Street's Bert (right) and Ernie

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Singer Robin Thicke and actress Paula Patton

music
Arts and Entertainment
The new film will be shot in the same studios as the Harry Potter films

books
Arts and Entertainment
Duncan Bannatyne left school at 15 and was still penniless at 29

Bannatyne leaves Dragon's Den

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The French economist Thomas Piketty wrote that global inequality has worsened

books
Arts and Entertainment
David Tennant and Benedict Cumberbatch

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck plays a despondent Nick Dunne in David Fincher's 'Gone Girl'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Pete Doherty (L) and Carl Barât look at the scene as people begin to be crushed

music
Arts and Entertainment

tv
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

    How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

    A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
    The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

    The evolution of Andy Serkis

    First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
    You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

    You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

    Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
    Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

    Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

    Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
    Children's books are too white, says Laureate

    Children's books are too white, says Laureate

    Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
    Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

    Blackest is the new black

    Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
    Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

    Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

    The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
    Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

    Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

    From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
    Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

    Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

    Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
    Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

    Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

    When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
    Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

    Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

    The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
    Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

    Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

    The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

    Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

    Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
    Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

    Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

    The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
    The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

    The Open 2014

    Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?