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Established names head Helpmann Award nominees list
Legendary Australian acts Kylie Minogue and Cold Chisel join country singer Keith Urban as the nominees for this year's Helpmann Award for best contemporary concert while while the Future Music Festival National Tour, MONA FOMA, Bluesfest 2012 and Vivid Live 2011 will vie for the best contemporary music concert.
Contenders for the 41 awards, Australia's most prestigious for live entertainment, were announced by Live Entertainment Australia at the at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) in Brisbane.
International superstars Prince and the Foo Fighters lead the nominees for best overseas act, while the top comedy award will be chosen among Wil Anderson, Judith Lucy, Tim Minchin and Sam Simmons.
This year's big surprise is that failed musical An Officer and A Gentleman earned five nominations, including nomination for best musical and best female actor (Amanda Harrison).
The much-hyped show was axed after eight weeks following scathing reviews and poor ticket sales for its world premiere season in Sydney this year.
Other nominees for best musical are A Chorus Line, Rock of Ages and Grey Gardens.
Helpmann Awards Chief Executive Evelyn Richardson said the results did not reflect a lower standard of musicals to choose from this year, stating "the panel considers every entry on its merits, regardless of what reviewers thought.
"They don't have to nominate nominees. They can make that call and say the field isn't strong enough."
The Melbourne Theatre Company triumphed in the play categories with 10 nominations, thanks to the success of The Importance of Being Earnest and Songs for Nobodies.
Cate Blanchett and Colin Friels are among the nominees for best female/male actor in a play.
Opera Australia had the most nominations of any company with 12 and the Australian Ballet secured only one for costume design.
Richardson said it was the most hotly contested awards since they began 12 years ago with a record 829 nominations, adding "the number of shows entering has doubled in the last three years, so that's an extraordinary result.
"It's a wonderful spread across all the genres and the states."
Queensland Arts Minister Ros Bates added "to be nominated for a Helpmann Award - which recognise distinguished artistic achievement and excellence in Australia's performing arts sector - is an outstanding accomplishment."
The 2012 Helpmann Awards Ceremony will be held at the Sydney Opera House on 24th September.
For more information go to www.helpmannawards.com.au
2nd August 2011 - MARY POPPINS MUSICAL DOMINATES 2011 HELPMANN AWARDS
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