Rachel Weisz took top acting honors and Ian McKellen was recognized for a half-century in the theater Monday at London's Evening Standard Theater Awards.
Weisz won the acting prize for playing faded southern belle Blanche Dubois in Tennessee Williams' "A Streetcar Named Desire." The prize was renamed the Natasha Richardson Best Actress Award this year in honor of the actress who died in March after a skiing accident in Quebec.
The award was presented by Richardson's mother, Vanessa Redgrave.
Weisz, who won a supporting-actress Academy Award for "The Constant Gardener," said it was an honor to receive a prize named for "the great and much, much-loved Natasha Richardson."
She spoke from Romania, where she is filming Bosnia-set drama "The Whistlebower."
McKellen received a special award for his outstanding contribution to British theater.
The best actor prize went to Mark Rylance for his role as a compelling rogue in Jez Butterworth's "Jerusalem" at the Royal Court Theatre. "Jerusalem" also was named best play.
The best director prize went to Rupert Goold for the corporate critique "Enron" _ another victory for the off-West End Royal Court _ while "Hello Dolly!" at the Open Air Theatre in Regent's Park was named best musical.
Veteran comedian Lenny Henry, 51, was named best newcomer for his lead performance in "Othello" _ his Shakespearean debut.
Now in their 55th year, the Evening Standard awards are sponsored by London's afternoon newspaper.