Today (22 February 2016) rehearsals for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Sunset Boulevard begin at the English National Opera Rehearsal Studios as the full cast is announced.
Joining Glenn Close, Michael Xavier, Siobhan Dillon and Fred Johanson in Sunset Boulevard, are Anna Woodside as Hedda Hopper and Emily Bull as Hedy Lamarr who will work alongside the previously announced Julian Forsyth as Cecil B DeMille, Mark Goldthorp as Sheldrake, Fenton Gray as Manfred, Haydn Oakley as Artie Green and James Paterson as Jonesy. Further company members include Carly Anderson, Michelle Bishop, Jacob Chapman, Nadeem Crowe, Cornelia Farnsworth, Ria Jones, Katie Kerr, Aaron Lee Lambert, Matthew McKenna, Jo Morris, Tanya Robb, Ashley Robinson, Vicki Lee Taylor, Gary Tushaw, Adam Vaughan and Stuart Winter.
Sunset Boulevard will be the second production in the partnership between English National Opera (ENO) and the GradeLinnit Company. With music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and book and lyrics by Don Black and Christopher Hampton, Sunset Boulevard is produced by arrangement with The Really Useful Group Ltd and is based on the original Paramount film by Billy Wilder.
Lonny Price will direct the strictly limited run of 43 performances at ENO’s London Coliseum which begins on 1 April 2016 with press night on 4 April 2016 at 7.30pm and will have its final performance on 7 May 2016. The full ENO orchestra will appear on stage alongside the cast in this semi-staged production. Orchestrations are by David Cullen and Andrew Lloyd Webber with choreography by Stephen Mear, set designs by James Noone, costume designs by Tracy Christensen, Glenn Close’s costumes designs by Anthony Powell, sound by Mick Potter and lighting by Mark Henderson. Musical Director is Michael Reed who also conducts.
In her mansion on Sunset Boulevard, faded, silent-screen goddess, Norma Desmond, lives in a fantasy world. Impoverished screen writer, Joe Gillis, on the run from debt collectors, stumbles into her reclusive world. Persuaded to work on Norma’s ‘masterpiece’, a film script that she believes will put her back in front of the cameras, he is seduced by her and her luxurious life-style. Joe becomes entrapped in a claustrophobic world until his love for another woman leads him to try and break free with dramatic consequences.
Based on Billy Wilder’s classic film, Sunset Boulevard originally premiered in London at the Adelphi Theatre in 1993, where it ran for almost four years and played to nearly two million people. It went on to open on Broadway in 1994 to what was then, the biggest advance in Broadway history, $37.5million.
Photo: Richard Hubert Smith