The National Theatre dominates the shortlists with a total of nine nominations. It's represented in all but one of the eight announced categories, while in the fields of Best Musical and Most Promising Playwright, two of the three nominees are NT originated: musicals Anything Goes and Jerry Springer - The Opera and playwrights Kwame Kwei-Armah (for Elmina's Kitchen) and Owen McCafferty (for Scenes from the Big Picture).
Elsewhere, Shared Experience joint artistic director Polly Teale is a forceful contender with her production of After Mrs Rochester, which she wrote and directed, about the life of novelist Jean Rhys, up for Best Play while she herself is nominated for Best Director.
Other high-profile names in contention include Kenneth Branagh, Warren Mitchell, Micheal Sheen (battling it out for Best Actor), Eileen Atkins and directors Michael Blakemore and Complicite's Simon McBurney.
- by Terri Paddock
The full list of Evening Standard nominations is as follows:
BEST DIRECTOR - Michael Blakemore for Democracy at the NT Cottesloe, Simon McBurney for The Elephant Vanishes at the Barbican Theatre, Polly Teale for After Mrs Rochester at the Lyric Hammersmith and Duke of York's.
BEST STAGE DESIGNER - John Gunter for Love's Labour's Lost at the NT Olivier, Christopher Oram for Caligula at Donmar Warehouse, Ultz for Fallout at the Royal Court and Hobson's Choice at the Young Vic.
BEST MUSICAL - Anything Goes at the NT Olivier and Theatre Royal Drury Lane, Jerry Springer - The Opera at NT Lyttelton and Cambridge Theatre, Simply Heavenly at the Young Vic.
MOST PROMISING PLAYWRIGHT - Kwame Kwei-Armah for Elmina's Kitchen at the NT Cottesloe, Owen McCafferty for Scenes from the Big Picture at the NT Cottesloe, Lucy Prebble for The Sugar Syndrome at the Royal Court Upstairs.
OUTSTANDING NEWCOMER - Lisa Dillon for The Master Builder at the Albery Theatre, Amanda Drew for Eastward Ho!, RSC at the Gielgud Theatre, Tom Hardy for Blood at the Royal Court Downstairs and In Arabia, We'd All Be Kings at the Hampstead Theatre.