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Ria Jones to star in Sunset Boulevard at Leicester Curve

Artistic director Nikolai Foster has announced a new season at the theatre

Ria Jones
© Dan Wooller for WhatsOnStage

Ria Jones will star in a new production of Sunset Boulevard as part of Leicester Curve's new season.

Jones understudied Glenn Close, who made her West End debut as Norma Desmond, in the production at the London Coliseum last year. Jones will now take on the role in the story based on Billy Wilder's classic film. It has a book written by Don Black and Christopher Hampton, and music and lyrics by Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Sunset Boulevard will be the first time a Lloyd Webber musical has been produced at the Curve, and artistic director Nikolai Foster, who will direct the production, said it was "one of his finest scores".

The musical tells the story of Desmond, a silent film actress who persuades screenwriter Joe Gillis to work on her masterpiece film script. It features the songs "With One Look", "The Perfect Year", "The Greatest Star Of All" and the title track. It will open on 28 September, with previews from 16 September, before touring the UK (dates to be announced).

Click here to book tickets for Sunset Boulevard

Following previous festive productions The Twits and The Witches, this year will see Scrooge at the Curve. Foster will direct this new version of Charles Dickens' classic novel by Academy Award-winning composer Leslie Bricusse.

It features the songs "I Hate Christmas", "A Better Life" and "Thank You Very Much". It opens at the Curve on 23 November, with previews from 18 November.

Further casting for both productions is to be announced.

At the launch of the season, Foster said: "When I got here, Sunset Boulevard was one of the British musicals at the top of my list to produce. We feel honoured that Andrew [Lloyd Webber] has trusted us with it.

"One of the reasons Lloyd Webber doesn't give the rights very often is because he feels he needs the perfect person to play Norma, and now with Ria, we have someone that can go to these big theatres across the country."

The Curve will also see an upcoming production of What the Butler Saw, starring Rufus Hound and Catherine Russel, open in March. The production celebrates 50 years of Joe Orton's play.

The UK tours of Miss Saigon, Rent and Fantastic Mr Fox are all also coming to the Curve this summer. The Wedding Singer starts its UK tour in Leicester next month. The musical will star Ray Quinn, who performed the track "All About the Green" exclusively for WhatsOnStage.

The launch was hosted by WhatsOnStage as part of our Regional Theatre Focus. It featured performances from Jones, Nathaniel Landskroner and Rob Houchen. It was streamed live on Facebook which can be viewed here.

Click here for more of our Regional Theatre Focus