Preview: Sunset Boulevard at Durham Gala Theatre
Durham Musical Theatre Company Chosen to Present the Northern Amateur Premiere of Stunning Andrew Lloyd Webber Musical Sunset Boulevard
Durham Gala Theatre
Tuesday 23rd – Saturday 27th June 2015.
The Really Useful Group, which controls all of the Lloyd Webber musicals has released Sunset Boulevard for amateur performance for one year only and Durham Musical Theatre Company will be presenting the northern amateur premiere of this superb, hit musical at the Gala Theatre, Durham from Tuesday 23rd – Saturday 27th June.
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s sensational musical Sunset Boulevard is based on Billy Wilder's Academy Award-winning 1950 film of the same title. The show has one of Lloyd Webber’s most memorable and haunting scores and has played to standing ovations as well as winning critical acclaim across the globe. Opening first in London in July 1993, Sunset Boulevard starred Patti LuPone and Kevin Anderson in the two lead roles.
The role of Norma Desmond was later played by Betty Buckley, Rita Moreno, Elaine Paige and Petula Clark, while that of the young Joe Gillis was played by John Barrowman. The show received its American premiere in December 1993 in Los Angeles starring Glenn Close (Norma Desmond), Alan Campbell (Joe Gillis), Judy Kuhn (Betty Schaefer) and George Hearn (Max von Mayerling), with Close, Campbell and Hearn going on to recreate their roles for the show’s November 1994 Broadway opening. Numerous international
Sunset Boulevard weaves a magnificent tale of faded glory and unfulfilled ambition. Reclusive silent movie star Norma Desmond is living in the past in her decaying Hollywood mansion. She longs for a return to the big screen, having been discarded by tinsel town with the advent of the talkies. Her glamour has faded in all but her mind. When young, struggling Hollywood screenwriter Joe Gillis accidentally crosses her path, she sees in him an opportunity to make her comeback to the big screen. Their subsequent passionate and volatile relationship leads to an unforeseen and tragic conclusion.
Lloyd Webber has said of the show: “Sunset is, I think, the most complete musical I have written, in the sense that the book and music and everything came together in a way that I think some of the others don’t.”
Other critical response includes:
“One of the biggest musical successes of all time” – Daily Mirror
“A masterpiece” – Evening Standard
“A rip-roaring hit” – Sunday Times
“In terms of hit shows – this is massive” – Today
“Lloyd Weber has not, I think, written a richer, more powerful score” – Times
The Durham production of Sunset Boulevard will be directed by well-known Durham based director Fred Wharton, who will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of his directing debut in 1965 with this production. Steven Hood is in charge of the music and Kathleen Knox the choreography. The main roles of Norma Desmond and Joe Gillis are taken by northeast favourites Eileen Glenton and Graeme Walton. Anthony Smith appears as Max Von Mayerling and Katy Walton is Betty Schaefer. With a cast of 50 and a 17 pieceorchestra, Sunset Boulevard promises to be the cultural highlight of June.
Sunset Boulevard appears at GALA Theatre, Durham from 23rd – 27th June, evenings @ 7.15 pm, Wednesday & Saturday matinées at 2.15 pm.
Tickets are now available from the GALA Theatre Box Office; telephone: 03000 266600 or on line at: www.galadurham.co.uk