A clutch of British productions on Broadway - two musicals and two play revivals - have garnered 20 nominations across the 23 categories announced yesterday for this year's Tony Awards. Winners of the 56th annual Tony Awards, America's most prestigious stage honours, will be named at a ceremony held at New York's Radio City Music Hall on 2 June 2002.

Leading the field of British imports with no fewer than seven nominations is Trevor Nunn's revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Oklahoma!, first seen at the National Theatre in 1998. It's followed by Howard Davies' revival of Private Lives (which opened at the West End's Albery Theatre in October 2001) with six nominations - including Best Actor and Best Actress - Abba musical Mamma Mia (still playing at the West End's Prince Edward, where it opened in April 1999) with five nominations and Michael Frayn's backstage farce Noises Off (still playing at the West End's Comedy Theatre) with two.

Other productions originated in the US but heavily reliant on British talent have also fared well. NT artistic-director designate Nicholas Hytner, with The Sweet Smell of Success, goes head to head in several musical categories with his South Bank predecessor Nunn, while former NT artistic director Richard Eyre's revival of Arthur Miller's The Crucible is also up for six awards. Briton Sean Mathias' revival of The Elephant Man, featuring fellow Brits Rupert Graves and Kate Burton, also received three nominations.

Indeed, in the Best Direction of a Play category, Eyre is up against compatriot Howard Davies (for Private Lives) in a field of four. In both Best Actor and Best Actress, three out of five contenders are British. In the former, Alan Rickman (for Private Lives), Alan Bates (for Fortune's Fool) and Northern Ireland's Liam Neeson (for The Crucible) are all nominated; while in the latter, Lindsay Duncan (for Private Lives), Helen Mirren (for The Dance of Death) and Kate, daughter of Richard, Burton (for Hedda Gabler) are vying for top honours. (Burton has also been nominated for Best Supporting Actress for The Elephant Man). Similarly, in Best Play Revival, British productions - Private Lives and Noises Off - comprise two out of the four nominations.

The British imports face stiff competition from homegrown Broadway hits, including the musicals Thorough Modern Millie (with 11 nominations), Urinetown (with 10) and the revival of Stephen Sondheim's Into the Woods (with 10).

The full list of nominations for the four UK-originated productions are as follows:

Oklahoma! (7) - Best Revival of a Musical, Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical (Patrick Wilson), Best Direction of a Musical (Trevor Nunn), Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical (Shuler Hensley), Best Performances by a Featured Actress in a Musical (Andrea Martin), Best Lighting Design (David Hersey), Best Choreography (Susan Stroman)

Private Lives (6) - Best Revival of a Play, Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play (Alan Rickman), Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play (Lindsay Duncan), Best Direction of a Play (Howard Davies), Best Scenic Design (Tim Hatley), Best Costume Design (Jenny Beavan)

Mamma Mia (5) - Best Musical, Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical (Louise Pitre), Best Book of a Musical (Catherine Johnson), Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical (Judy Kaye), Best Orchestrations

Noises Off (2) - Best Revival of a Play, Best Performances by a Featured Actress in a Play (Katie Finnernan)

- by Terri Paddock