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Angela Lansbury steals show at Olivier Awards.

LONDON -- An American classic directed by a Belgian and a musical about a very English rock band were the big winners at Britain's Olivier theater awards Sunday -- but it was an 89-year old theatrical Dame who brought the house down.

Arthur Miller's drama ''A View From the Bridge'' and Kinks musical ''Sunny Afternoon,'' won the most prizes, and there were roars of approval when Angela Lansbury was named best supporting actress for playing scatterbrained psychic Madame Arcati in Noel Coward's comedy ''Blithe Spirit.''

''I am so infinitely grateful to have this baby in my hands. You have no idea,'' said London-born Lansbury, who already has an honorary Oscar, five Tonys and a damehood, the female equivalent of a knighthood.

''Here I am creeping up to 90 and feeling like a million dollars,'' said the ''Murder, She Wrote'' star, who first appeared onstage in the 1940s.

She said theater is ''life -- and thank God I'm still in it.''

''Sunny Afternoon,'' the story of 1960s rockers The Kinks, took four prizes including best new musical and acting trophies for John Dagleish and George Maguire, who play battling brothers Ray and Dave Davies. The real-life Ray Davies won the outstanding achievement in music prize for the play's score.

He said the unruly North London lads in The Kinks were ''four of the unlikeliest pop stars you've ever seen.''

''People are the source of my material,'' said Davies, whose songs include ''Sunny Afternoon,'' ''Waterloo Sunset'' and ''Lola.''

''So the next time you're in a park and you see someone like me looking at you -- don't phone the police.''

A bold, pared-down revival of ''A View From the Bridge'' won three prizes including best revival and best director, for Ivo van Hove.

Mark Strong was named best actor in a play for his slow-burning performance in Miller's tragedy of blood and honor in Brooklyn.

Strong said the response to the play from audience-members had been incredible.

''They don't just want autographs anymore,'' he said. ''They want to talk about what they're seeing.''

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Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Apr 16, 2015
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