Book Of Mormon wins Olivier theatre awards, Judi Dench and Jude Law lose out

US actor Gavin Creel poses for pictures after winning Best Actor in Musical during the Lawrence Olivier Awards for theatre at the Royal Opera House in central London, on April 13, 2014. The London production of Book Of Mormon won Best New Musical at
US actor Gavin Creel poses for pictures after winning Best Actor in Musical during the Lawrence Olivier Awards for theatre at the Royal Opera House in central London, on April 13, 2014. The London production of Book Of Mormon won Best New Musical at the Olivier Awards on Sunday, and its star Gavin Creel took home Best Actor in a Musical. -- PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (Reuters) - The London production of Book Of Mormon won Best New Musical at the Olivier Awards on Sunday, and its star Gavin Creel took home Best Actor in a Musical.

A staging of Stephen Sondheim's one-time flop, Merrily We Roll Along, won Best Musical Revival at Britain's biggest night for theatre.

The play Chimerica examining the relations between China and America won Best New Play for playwright Lucy Kirkwood and Best Director for Lyndsey Turner, and overall was the biggest winner, taking home five awards, while an adaptation of Henrik Ibsen's Ghosts was another big winner.

"To come to the West End for us was a privilege and this award is an absolute honour," Anne Garefino, co-producer of Book Of Mormon said in accepting the evening's top award for the London theatre district production of the show by South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker.

"It's one of those things where you pinch yourself," Creel said after the awards, adding that when he was growing up in Ohio, he used to walk around the kitchen dreaming of winning an award, and now he would not have to any more.

The top award was presented by Abba singers and creative team Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson, after which the show ended with a medley of Abba hits.

Richard Eyre, the director who mounted the revival of Ghosts which got rave reviews and closed three weeks ago after 170 performances, got the nod for having produced the year's Best Revival of a play.

Lesley Manville was named Best Actress for Ghosts while Jack Lowden received the Best Supporting Actor award for the same production.

Manville said Eyre's adaptation of Ibsen's 1881 play had taken it in a new direction. "It was very visceral, very emotional and the audience was very engaged," she said.

Best Actor in a play went to Rory Kinnear, who attributed his win partly to his character of Iago in Shakespeare's Othello being an audience favourite. "Iago has got a rapport with the audience. People love the villain," Kinnear said.

The star-studded ceremony included appearances by model Kate Moss, opera singers Lesley Garrett and Joseph Calleja, actor James McAvoy and actresses Bernadette Peters, Kathleen Turner, Hayley Atwell and Judi Dench.

Dench had been nominated for Best Actress for Peter And Alice but it was not a great night for movie stars as she, Jude Law and Tim Hiddleston, all nominees, lost out.