British theatre talent leads the way in nominations for Tony awards

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The cream of Britain's thespian talent is vying for prizes at America's top theatre awards, the Tony's.

British actors Patrick Stewart, Rufus Sewell, Mark Rylance and Ben Daniels have all been nominated for best actor, while Eve Best and Kate Fleetwood will compete for the title of best actress.

Three out of the four nominations for best play are for shows that were first staged in London before moving to Broadway, including Rock 'n' Roll, The Seafarer and The 39 Steps.

Boeing-Boeing and Macbeth, which both made their debut in the UK, are also nominated for best revival of a play, in the awards ceremon that takes place at New York's Radio City Music Hall on 15 June.

Best is tipped for her role in the recent New York production of Harold Pinter's The Homecoming, while Fleetwood is nominated in the same category for her performance as Lady Macbeth in her husband Rupert Goold's production of the Shakespeare tragedy, which debuted at the Chichester Festival in May 2007. In total, Macbeth, which transferred to Broadway after an award-winning run in the West End, received six nominations, including best actor for Stewart as the play's flawed hero.

His competition includes the dashing Rufus Sewell, who is nominated for his role in Tom Stoppard's Rock 'n' Roll. The story, set between British academia and the fall of Communism in the former Czechoslovakia, has four nominations, including best supporting actress for Irish star Sinead Cusack.

Marc Camoletti's farce Boeing-Boeing scooped six nominations, including best actor for Rylance as the sexually timid Robert who succumbs to the advances of a libidinous air-hostess.

Also up for best actor is Ben Daniels, for his Broadway debut playing opposite American actress Laura Linney as the Vicomte de Valmont in Les Liaisons Dangereuses.

London theatre producer Sonia Friedman, who has picked up 10 nominations for Boeing-Boeing and Rock 'n' Roll, said: "The producers are coming to Britain because this is where we have exciting new work."