Glenn Close will star as Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard, 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.
In March 2015 ENO and the GradeLinnit Company presented the critically acclaimed sell-out run of Sweeney Todd with Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel in the inaugural production of their partnership.
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 final performance on 7 May 2016. The full ENO orchestra will appear on stage alongside the cast in this semi-staged production. Further casting will be announced shortly.
Glenn Close, making her West End debut as well as her first reprisal of the role for UK audiences, plays faded silent movie star Norma Desmond, for which she has previously won a Tony Award, a Drama Desk Award, a Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award and a Dramalogue Award for the Broadway production directed by Trevor Nunn.
Sunset Boulevard will be presented by ENO with Michael Linnit and Michael Grade for Gate Ventures with Johnny Hon as Executive Producer.
Cressida Pollock, ENO, Chief Executive Officer said: “We at English National Opera believe that the combination of multiple award-winning Glenn Close, making her West End stage debut, and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s hit musical Sunset Boulevard, will once again pack the London Coliseum with ENO regulars and new audiences for us. We are all looking forward to working on this next thrilling production with the GradeLinnit Company, the team that delivered this year’s hugely successful run of Sweeney Todd.”
Andrew Lloyd Webber said: “I am thrilled that London audiences will at last get a chance to see Glenn’s performance in the role of Norma Desmond which was so hugely acclaimed in the USA.”
Tickets for Sunset Boulevard are £12 – £105, with 400 seats at £25 or less including 100 at £12 for every performance. Priority booking opens for ENO friends (www.eno.org) at 10am on 25 September 2015 with public booking opening at 10am on 29 September 2015.
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.
Glenn Close made her professional theatre debut in Harold Prince’s revival of Love for Love on Broadway and will make her West End stage debut with this production. Her other early stage credits include The Crucifer of Blood and The Singular Life of Albert Nobbs, for which she won an Obie Award. She was also the winner of Tony Awards for her performances in The Real Thing and Death and the Maiden, both directed by Mike Nichols. In 2002 she was reunited with Trevor Nunn for his National Theatre revival of A Streetcar Named Desire. Glenn Close returned to Broadway in November of 2014 for the first time in 20 years to lead the cast of Edward Albee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning A Delicate Balance. Close is a six-time Academy Award nominated actress and has appeared in more than 35 films including The World According to Garp, The Big Chill, The Natural, Fatal Attraction, Dangerous Liaisons, and Albert Nobbs which she co-produced and for which she co-wrote the screenplay. Close has also produced and starred in nine movies for TV including the Sarah, Plain and Tall series for the Hallmark Hall of Fame. Close won Emmy Awards for her performances in Serving in Silence: The Margarethe Cammermeyer Story and the TV series Damages, which earned her a Golden Globe Award as well. Close also received a SAG Award for her performance as Eleanor in The Lion in Winter. Her upcoming films include What Happened to Monday, Wilde Wedding and She Who Brings Gifts.
Photo: Brigitte Lacombe