LONDON (Reuters) - "Enron," a play about the collapsed U.S. energy trading company, and "Jerusalem," a portrayal of less-than-idyllic life in rural England, were among the top nominations on Monday for the London Evening Standard Theater Awards.
The nominations pit the two dramas against each other in the best play, best actor and best director categories, while actress Rachel Weisz is shortlisted for her turn in "A Streetcar Named Desire."
"Enron" is Lucy Prebble's acclaimed portrait about Enron, which collapsed into bankruptcy in 2001 burdened with billions of dollars of debt.
Critics and audiences agreed the work took on added significance given the financial turmoil of the last two years.
Samuel West, nominated for best actor, plays Jeffrey Skilling, the Enron CEO indicted in 2004 for conspiracy, fraud and insider trading, and Rupert Goold has been nominated for best director.
"Jerusalem", about a drug dealer and wastrel called Johnny Byron, was written by Jez Butterworth. As well as best play, it is contesting also the best actor (Mark Rylance) and best director (Ian Rickson) categories.
Weisz faces competition in the best actress category from Juliet Stevenson, Penny Downie and Deanna Dunagan, and Lenny Henry, best known for his comic roles on British television, was nominated for best newcomer for his lead role in "Othello."
The awards will be announced on November 23.
Following is a list of the nominations:
Best Play - August: Osage County/Tracy Letts; Enron/Lucy Prebble; Jerusalem/Jez Butterworth; Punk Rock/Simon Stephens
Best Actor - Simon Russell Beale/The Winter's Tale; Mark Rylance/Jerusalem; Ken Stott/A View From The Bridge; Samuel West/Enron
Best Actress - Deanna Dunagan/August: Osage County; Penny Downie/Helen; Juliet Stevenson/Duet For One; Rachel Weisz/A Streetcar Named Desire
Best Director - Rupert Goold/Enron; Jeremy Herrin/Tusk Tusk; Ian Rickson/Jerusalem; Anna D Shapiro/August: Osage County
Best Musical - A Little Night Music; Been So Long; Hello, Dolly!; Spring Awakening
Best Design - Jon Bausor/Kursk; Miriam Buether/Judgment Day; Mamoru Iriguchi/Mincemeat; Ultz/Jerusalem
Most Promising Playwright - Alia Bano/Shades; Katori Hall/Mountaintop; Alexi Kaye Campbell/The Pride
Award for Outstanding Newcomer - Naana Agyei-Ampadu/Been So Long; Lenny Henry/Othello; Bel Powley/Tusk Tusk; Tom Sturridge/Punk Rock.
Reporting by Mike Collett-White, editing by Paul Casciato