Interestingly, the National, which has dominated the eight shortlisted categories in recent years, has received only a single nomination this year, for Mike Leigh’s Two Thousand Years in the Best Play field.
In individual show tallies, the West End productions of As You Desire Me, Don Carlos (transferred from Sheffield Crucible) and Mary Poppins lead with three nominations apiece. As You Desire Me is in contention for Best Actress (Kristin Scott Thomas), Best Director (Jonathan Kent) and Best Designer (Paul Brown); Don Carlos for Best Actor (Derek Jacobi) and also Best Director and Designer.
The big budget Disney-Cameron Mackintosh musical Mary Poppins is also up for Best Director (Richard Eyre, though no mention for his co-director Matthew Bourne) and Best Designer (Bob Crowley) as well as Best Musical. Meanwhile, Death of a Salesman gets nods in both of the performance categories – Best Actor (Brian Dennehy) and Best Actress (Clare Higgins).
One notable omission from this year's nominations is the Ewan McGregor-headed box office hit Guys and Dolls. It’s absent from the Best Musical category – in favour of new musicals The Big Life, Billy Elliot and Mary Poppins - and while both director Michael Grandage and designer Christopher Oram figure in their respective categories, they are nominated for other productions (including Don Carlos).
Other high-profile names that are in contention for this year's Evening Standard awards include Simon Russell Beale, Eve Best, Harriet Walter, Richard Bean and Brian Friel. In the Outstanding Newcomer field, usually dominated by young actors, there’s just one performance-related nomination: Ben Silverstone, who co-starred with David Suchet in Man and Boy, is competing against Gate director Daniel Kramer and the venue, the Menier Chocolate Factory, launched in south London in summer 2004.
- by Terri Paddock
The full list of Evening Standard 2005 nominations is as follows:
BEST MUSICAL - The Big Life, Billy Elliot, Mary Poppins.
OUTSTANDING NEWCOMER - Daniel Kramer (director) for Hair and Woyzeck at the Gate, the Menier Chocolate Factor (co-directors David Babani and Danielle Tarento) and Ben Silverstone (actor) for Man and Boy.