The SIR ELTON JOHN-scored musical Billy Elliot is leading the pack for next month's (26FEB06) Laurence Olivier Awards with nine nominations - closely followed by the EWAN McGREGOR-starring Guys and Dolls, with eight nods.

Scottish star McGregor has been nominated for Best Actor In A Musical, but faces stiff competition from Billy Elliot cast members James Lomas, George Maguire and Liam Mower, who are all nominated in the same category.

Fellow West End productions DON CARLOS, Hedda Gabler and MARY STUART all received six nominations.

President of the Society of London Theatre Rosemary Squire says, "(The list) demonstrates what an array of theatrical talent we have in London Theatre."

The 30th Laurence Olivier Awards will take place at the London Hilton hotel and be presented by veteran British actor Richard Wilson.