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Gay-themed musical sweeps London theatre award nominations

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Camp musical La Cage Aux Folles has been nominated for seven Laurence Olivier Awards.

The lead actors, Denis Lawson and Douglas Hodge, were nominated alongside the show’s director, costume designer and choreographer.

It is also nominated for Best Musical Revival.

In La Cage aux Folles, flamboyant and loveable drag artiste Albin’s idyllic existence with partner Georges is threatened when Georges’ son announces his engagement to the daughter of a right-wing politician who wants to close down the local nightlife – and their Saint Tropez drag nightclub.

The 1973 original French play made into a French film in 1978 and was later adapted for Hollywood as The Birdcage  (1996), starring Robin Williams as George and Nathan Lane as Albin.

The original US production of La Cage aux Folles opened at the Palace Theatre on Broadway on 21st August, 1983 where it became the biggest new American musical of the decade.

It ran for 1,761 performances and won six Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Score and Best Book of a Musical.

Last month TV presenter and comedian Graham Norton took over the role of Albin in the London stage production.

Although best-known for his TV appearances, the Irish star trained at Central School of Speech and Drama.

This year’s Olivier nominees include Penelope Wilton and Margaret Tyzack, co-stars in The Chalk Garden, Tony Award-winner Deanna Dunagan (August: Osage County) and previous winner, That Face’s Lindsay Duncan, in the Best Actress category.

The Best Actor category also features colleagues, No Man’s Land’s David Bradley and Michael Gambon, who compete against recent Critics’ Circle Award winner Derek Jacobi (Twelfth Night) and Adam Godley (Rain Man).

Hamlet’s Oliver Ford Davies and Patrick Stewart also find themselves competing in the same category, Best Performance in a Supporting Role, where they are joined by Ivanov’s Kevin R McNally and The Norman Conquests’ Paul Ritter.

The title of Best New Musical is a two horse race, to be run by Jersey Boys and Zorro, with La Cage Aux Folles, Piaf, Sunset Boulevard and West Side Story vying for the title of Best Musical Revival.

The Laurence Olivier Awards will be presented at a ceremony on March 8th.

They were established in 1976 as The Society of West End Theatre Awards, and Lord Olivier agreed to have his name associated with them in 1984.

The bronze award presented to all winners represents the young Laurence Olivier as Henry V at The Old Vic in 1937.

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