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LONDON (Reuters) - Broadway imports "Memphis The Musical" and "Beautiful - The Carole King Musical" collected the most nominations on Monday, with nine and eight nods, respectively, for London's Olivier Awards to be announced in April.
Mark Strong and Richard Armitage both received best actor nominations for roles on the London stage in revivals of Arthur Miller plays -- Strong for "A View from the Bridge" and Armitage for "The Crucible".
They are competing with James McAvoy for his performance in "The Ruling Class" and Tim Pigott-Smith in "King Charles III".
Nominees for best actress in a play are Gillian Anderson for "A Streetcar Named Desire", Kristin Scott Thomas for "Electra", Imelda Staunton for "Good People" and Penelope Wilson in "Taken at Midnight".
The best director nominees are Rupert Goold for "King Charles III", Jeremy Herrin for "Wolf Hall" and "Bring Up the Bodies", Josie Rourke for "City of Angels" and Ivo Van Hove for "A View from the Bridge".
Caro Newling, president of the Society of London Theatre, which runs the awards, said it had been "an absolutely wonderful year" for British theater and she was not at all concerned that two American imports were leading the nominations list.
"There's nothing wrong with imports and I think actually given how many British plays are on the other side of the Atlantic it feels great that we're welcoming American musicals," she said.
"People talk all the time about the future of new musicals and I think what we have this year is representatives on both sides of the Atlantic alive and kicking."
"Memphis" and "Beautiful" were both nominated in the categories of best sound design, best costume design, best theater choreographer, best achievement in music, best actress in a musical and best new musical.
"Memphis" got a nod for best actor in a musical and "Beautiful" was nominated for best actress in a supporting role in a musical but "Memphis" edged out "Beautiful" with two nominations to one for "Beautiful" in best actor in a supporting role in a musical.
Editing by Jeremy Gaunt