Sheridan Smith and Elena Roger head-to-head for Evening Standard Theatre Awards

The Evening Standard has published their Theatre Awards shortlist ahead of a glitzy ceremony at the newly reopened Savoy Hotel this Sunday, 28 November.

Sophie Thompson up for Best Actress for Clybourne Park

Sophie Thompson up for Best Actress for Clybourne Park

Hosted by Stephen Fry, the 56th annual awards will see stars of stage and screen join an impressive list of nominees for this year’s event.

In the Best Actress category, in honour of Natasha Richardson, two musicals stars are pitted against each other: Sheridan Smith, in Legally Blonde at the Savoy Theatre, and Elena Roger, star of Passion at the Donmar Warehouse and soon to be Ricky Martin co-star on Broadway in Evita. They are shortlisted against Nancy Carroll for the National’s After the Dance and Sophie Thompson for the Royal Court’s Clybourne Park – a part which she will revive in the New Year for the West End transfer of the show at the Wyndham’s Theatre.

The National Theatre and the Royal Court are the producing houses to benefit most from this year’s shortlist, with 10 and 11 nods respectively. The National Theatre is celebrated for a range of productions, with Thea Sharrock (After the Dance), Nicholas Hytner (The Habit Of Art, London Assurance, Hamlet), Howard Davies for The White Guard (plus All My Sons at the Apollo) and Laurie Sansom for Beyond The Horizon and Spring Storm all vying for the Best Director award.

The Royal Court’s reputation for writing has won out again over its competitors this year, earning the venue complete dominance over both Best Play category, with nominations for Cock, Clybourne Park and Sucker Punch, and Most Promising Playwright category, with DC Moore for The Empire, Nick Payne for Wanderlust (plus If There Is I Haven’t Found It Yet at the Bush) and Anya Reiss for Spur Of The Moment.

Performances of Shakespeare is the theme of this year’s Best Actor category, with Roger Allam singled out for his performance in Henry IV Parts One and Two at Shakespeare’s Globe and Rory Kinnear for two Shakespeare roles, the National Theatre’s Hamlet and the Almeida’s Measure For Measure. David Suchet also gets nod for All My Sons at the Apollo Theatre.

Best Musicals, in honour of Ned Sherrin, cover all tastes, with Legally Blonde at the Savoy, Stephen Sondheim’s Passion at the Donmar Warehouse and – despite Trevor Nunn and John Caird’s sniping over Cameron Mackintosh’s new touring production – the 2010 reinvention of Les Miserables at the Barbican Theatre.

Finally Outstanding Newcomers include a well-deserved nod to Spice Girl Mel C for Blood Brothers.

See the Evening Standard Theatre Awards 2010 shortlist here