Based on Billy Wilder\'s 1950 Oscar-winning film of the same name, Sunset Boulevard depicts the faded glamour of the former Hollywood icon Norma Desmond, who’s now living in isolation, with only memories for company. When struggling young screenwriter Joe Gillis appears at her crumbling mansion, she demands a second chance in the limelight.
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical was last seen in the West End, in a much bigger production, at the Adelphi Theatre, where it premiered in July 1993, with Patti LuPone starring as Norma Desmond, closed in March 1994 for rewrites and reopened five weeks later in a revised version that ran for another three years.
The new small-scale production, which had a sell-out season at the Watermill in Newbury this summer, is directed and choreographed by Strictly Come Dancing judge Craig Revel Horwood. Musical arrangements are by Sarah Travis, who also collaborated with John Doyle on previous Watermill actor-musician productions of Mack and Mabel, Gondoliers and Sweeney Todd, all of which had West End runs. The last also transferred to Broadway, where Travis became the first woman to win the Tony Award for Best Orchestration (in 2006).
The Watermill’s artistic and executive director Hedda Beeby said today: “This is the fourth transfer of a music theatre show produced by the Watermill and we are all very pleased about it. The show delighted everyone that saw it, with standing ovations a common sight. There were many, many people who couldn’t see the show here because of our limited seating capacity, this news means that they can now see it in the comfort of the West End.”
Currently at the Comedy, Fat Pig, the Neil LaBute comedy in which model-actress Kelly Brook made her West End debut last month (See 1st Night Photos, 21 Oct 2008), will finish its extended run on 29 November.
- by Terri Paddock