Londoner honored for role as Southern belle

LONDON — Rachel Weisz added a stage accolade to Hollywood stardom Sunday, winning the best-actress prize at London’s Laurence Olivier theater awards for her role in “A Streetcar Named Desire.”

The prize for a Londoner made good in the U.S. was fitting on a night that rewarded several Broadway-bound productions, including “Enron,” “Red” and “The Mountaintop,” a play about Martin Luther King by 28-year-old American writer Katori Hall.

Rock musical “Spring Awakening” — which traveled from New York to London — took four prizes, including best new musical.

Weisz won for playing faded belle Blanche Dubois in the Donmar Warehouse production of Tennessee Williams’ steamy Southern drama.

Weisz said it had been a delight to return to the theater after an eight-year absence.

“It’s the greatest feeling in the world, being on stage,” she said. “The adrenaline you get from it I think it’s very good for you as an actor.”

Mark Rylance was named best actor for playing charismatic rebel Johnny “Rooster” Byron in Jez Butterworth’s riotous rural drama “Jerusalem.” He beat contenders including Jude Law, for an acclaimed “Hamlet.”

Hall was the surprise winner in the best play category for “The Mountaintop,” a drama about civil rights leader King set on the night before his assassination. The play is scheduled to open on Broadway in the fall.

Hall is only the third woman, and the first black woman, to win the best new play prize in the Oliviers’ 34-year history. She attributed her success to King’s status as a “universal hero.”

“The Mountaintop” beat the heavily favored “Jerusalem” and Lucy Prebble’s “Enron,” an entertaining account of the energy giant’s fall.

Rupert Goold was named best director for “Enron,” which opens at New York’s Broadhurst Theatre next month.

The Olivier awards, Britain’s equivalent of Broadway’s Tonys, honor achievements in London theater, musicals, dance and opera. Winners are chosen by a panel of stage professionals and members of the public.

Broadway import “Wicked” won the audience prize for most popular play, the only award decided by public vote.

‘Alice’ stays atop box office

LOS ANGELES — Alice remains the queen of the box office.

Johnny Depp and Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland” took in $34.5 million to remain the No. 1 movie for a third straight weekend, according to studio estimates Sunday.

The Disney release raised its domestic haul to $265.8 million and its worldwide total to $565.8 million after just three weekends in theaters, a huge result in the typically slow month of March.

“You rarely see this kind of domination by one movie at this time of year,” said Paul Dergarabedian, box-office analyst for

“Alice in Wonderland” easily beat a rush of new movies led by 20th Century Fox’s family film “Diary of a Wimpy Kid,” which opened at No. 2 with $21.8 million. The movie is adapted from Jeff Kinney’s cartoon novel about a sixth-grader maneuvering through the intricate social structure at his middle school.

Debuting at No. 3 was Jennifer Aniston and Gerard Butler’s action comedy “The Bounty Hunter” with $21 million. Released by Sony, the movie follows a bounty hunter chasing his ex-wife.

Hitting high note in Vienna 

VIENNA —The Vienna Philharmonic has permanently appointed its first woman concertmaster.

Albena Danailova has been acting concertmaster since September 2008 — the first woman ever in that position with the orchestra. The world-famous ensemble announced Saturday that she was now permanently appointed to that position after passing probation.

The first women didn’t join the 160-year-old Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra until the 1980s.

The concertmaster — the head of the first violin section — is considered the most important orchestra member after the conductor.



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