By JILL LAWLESS
LONDON (AP) — Findlay native Gavin Creel won one of the top acting honors Sunday at Britain’s Olivier stage awards.
Creel was named best actor in a musical for his role in the irreverent musical “The Book of Mormon.”
“The Book of Mormon” — which stormed London just as it earlier wowed New York — won four prizes, including best new musical.
Choreographer and co-director Casey Nicholaw said the success of the show — written by “South Park” creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone — came down to its blend of “good contemporary satire and good old-fashioned entertainment.”
Lucy Kirkwood’s “Chimerica,” a play about the entwined fates of China and the United States that opens with a search for the protester photographed standing in front of a tank in Tiananmen Square in 1989, won five trophies including best new play and best director, for Lyndsey Turner.
The awards, Britain’s equivalent of Broadway’s Tonys, honor achievements in London theater, musicals, dance and opera.
Founded in 1976, the Oliviers have been laying on the glitz in recent years, with glossy ceremonies modeled on the Tonys.
This year’s hosts were actors Gemma Arterton and Stephen Mangan, and performers included tenor Joseph Calleja, Broadway legend Bernadette Peters and ABBA’s Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus, who reunited onstage to celebrate the 15-year West End run of “Mamma Mia.”
Winners in most categories were chosen by a panel of stage professionals and theatergoers. The Audience Award, decided by public vote, went to “Les Miserables.”
Screen stars Jude Law, Tom Hiddleston and Judi Dench were among the big-name nominees who missed out on acting prizes — Dench to Manville and the men to Rory Kinnear, one of Britain’s leading stage actors, awarded for his scheming Iago in “Othello” at the National Theatre.
Creel, a 1994 graduate of Findlay High School, has received two Tony Award nominations, for best performance by a leading actor in the musicals “Thoroughly Modern Millie” and “Hair.”
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