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"Dog in the Night-time" earns eight nods in British stage awards

LONDON (Reuters) - A stage version of a novel about a boy with autism is the frontrunner for Britain's top theatre prizes with eight Olivier Award nominations, while actress Helen Mirren was shortlisted for reprising her role as Queen Elizabeth.

"The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time," a play based on Mark Haddon's 2003 award-winning novel of the same title, opened at the National Theatre in London in 2012 and transferred to London's West End theatre district this year.

Organizers of the awards said its nominations included Best New Play, Best Director, Best Actor for Luke Treadaway, Best Actress in a Supporting Role, as well as best lighting, sound, and set design, and Best Theatre Choreographer.

The new musical, "Top Hat," based on the film starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, received the second most nominations, put forward in seven categories.

The West End transfer of a revival of the musical "Sweeney Todd" about the demon barber of Fleet Street received six nominations while "The Audience" starring Mirren as the Queen and musical "Kiss Me, Kate" received five each.

Mirren, 67, was nominated for Best Actress after playing Queen Elizabeth II for a second time. She won a Best Actress Oscar in 2007 for her performance in the film "The Queen".

She is up against another renowned British actress, Kristin Scott Thomas, 52, for her role in "Old Times". Also vying for the top female award are singer-turned-actress Billy Piper in "The Effect" and Hattie Morahan in "A Doll's House".

Rupert Everett, was nominated for Best Actor for "The Judas Kiss" competing alongside James McAvoy for "Macbeth", Mark Rylance for "Twelfth Night", Rafe Spall for "Constellations," and Treadaway.

"Congratulations to all of this year's Olivier Award nominees whose incredible talents contributed to a record-breaking year for London Theatre," Mark Rubinstein, president of the Society of London Theatre (SOLT), said in a statement.

London theatres have enjoyed a ninth successive year of record box office in 2012 with SOLT figures showing they earned 530 million pounds ($830 million) last year, a marginal rise on 2011, when attendance nudged up to 14 million.

The winners of the Olivier Awards, set up in 1976, will be announced at a ceremony at the Royal Opera House on April 28.

Following is a list of the main nominations:

- Best New Play:

Constellations; The Audience; The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time; This House

- Best New Musical:

Loserville; Soul Sister; The Bodyguard; Top Hat

- Best Actor:

Rupert Everett/The Judas Kiss; James McAvoy/Macbeth; Mark Rylance/Twelfth Night; Rafe Spall/Constellations; Luke Treadaway/The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time

- Best Actress:

Helen Mirren/The Audience; Hattie Morahan/A Doll’s House; Billie Piper/The Effect; Kristin Scott Thomas/Old Times

- Best Director:

Stephen Daldry/The Audience; Marianne Elliott/The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time; Jeremy Herrin/This House;

Simon McBurney/The Master And Margarita

- Best Actor in a Musical:

Michael Ball/Sweeney Todd; Alex Bourne/Kiss Me, Kate; Tom Chambers/Top Hat; Will Young/Cabaret

- Best Actress in a Musical:

Heather Headley/The Bodyguard; Imelda Staunton/Sweeney Todd; Summer Strallen/Top Hat; Hannah Waddingham/Kiss Me, Kate

- Best Entertainment and Family:

Cinderella; Goodnight Mister Tom; Hansel And Gretel; Room On The Broom

(Reporting by Belinda Goldsmith; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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