Michael Xavier will join Close as Joe Gillis in Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical. Xavier is currently starring in Sheffield Crucible's hit production of Show Boat. Alongside Xavier, Siobhan Dillon will play Betty Schaefer and Fred Johanson will play Max Von Mayerling. Dillon was a finalist on How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria?. She also played Sandy in Grease at Piccadilly Theatre. Swedish actor Johanson has played Peron in Evita, Javert in Les Miserables and Reverend Shaw in Footloose.
Close will play the fading silent film star Desmond, who befriends screen writer Joe Gillis who is trying to run from his debts. It will be Close's West End debut and a reprisal of a role for which she won a Tony Award and Drama Desk Award on Broadway.
Also starring in Sunset Boulevard is 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, Jacob Chapman, Ria Jones, Katie Kerr, Aaron Lee Lambert, Vicki Lee Taylor, Jo Morris, Ashley Robinson, Gary Tushaw and Adam Vaughan. Final casting will be announced shortly.
The production is a partnership between English National Opera and GradeLinnit Company and Lonny Price will direct the run at ENO's London Coliseum from 1 April. The full ENO orchestra will appear on stage alongside the cast.
Sunset Boulevard opens at the English National Opera from 7 April and runs until 7 May.