March 21, 2010 / 10:08 PM / 9 years ago

Luther King drama "Mountaintop" wins UK play award

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - “The Mountaintop,” about civil rights campaigner Martin Luther King on the night before his assassination, scooped the best new play honor at the coveted Laurence Olivier awards on Sunday.

A woman looks at pictures and books of U.S. human rights activist Martin Luther King Jr at the commemorative exhibition "Justice Everywhere" in Colombo February 6, 2010. REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte

The win for 28-year-old U.S. playwright Katori Hall at Britain’s top theater awards came as a surprise, with corporate drama “Enron” and contemporary rural story “Jerusalem” both heavily fancied ahead of the evening ceremony.

British actress and Hollywood star Rachel Weisz won the best actress category for her portrayal of Blanche DuBois in “A Streetcar Named Desire,” but other big names in the movie world were overlooked including Keira Knightley and Jude Law.

Mark Rylance was named best actor for the second time for his performance as Rooster in Jerusalem, and best director went to Rupert Goold, also his second Olivier, for Enron, about the collapsed energy trading company.

The musical awards were dominated by “Spring Awakening,” the cult hit Broadway show, which took four prizes including best new musical.

A high-octane production of “Hello Dolly!” won three prizes, including best actress in a musical or entertainment for Samantha Spiro, her second Olivier, and best theater choreographer for Stephen Mear.

The Royal Opera House swept the board in the opera categories and won a further award in dance.

Its production of “Tristan und Isolde” picked up both best new opera production and outstanding achievement in opera for Swedish soprano Nina Stemme’s performance of Isolde.

The venue’s third title was best new dance production for “Goldberg: The Brandstrup Rojo Project.”

Following is a list of winners of the main categories:

Best Actress - Rachel Weisz/A Streetcar Named Desire

Best Actor - Mark Rylance/Jerusalem

Best Supporting Actress - Ruth Wilson/A Streetcar Named Desire

Best Supporting Actor - Eddie Redmayne/Red

Best New Play - The Mountaintop by Katori Hall

Best New Comedy - The Priory by Michael Wynne

Best Musical Revival - Hello Dolly!

Best New Musical - Spring Awakening

Best Entertainment - Morecambe

Best Actress in a Musical or Entertainment - Samantha Spiro/Hello Dolly!

Best Actor in a Musical or Entertainment - Aneurin Barnard/Spring Awakening

Best Director - Rupert Goold/Enron

Best Revival - Cat On A Hot Tin Roof

Best Theater Choreographer - Stephen Mear/Hello Dolly!

Audience Award for Most Popular Show - Wicked

Best New Opera - Tristan und Isolde

Reporting by Mike Collett-White, editing by Paul Casciato

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