Sunset Boulevard

Sunset Boulevard web

Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber
Lyrics by Don Black & Christopher Hampton
Based on the Billy Wilder Film
Orchestrations by David Cullen and Andrew Lloyd Webber

Producer: Queanbeyan City Council; Director: Stephen Pike; Musical Director: Sharon Tree; Choreographer: Annette Sharpe; Assistant Director / Production Manager: Richard Block; Assistant Musical Director: Jason Henderson; Costume Design: Miriam Miley-Read, Cast: Norma Desmond – Bronwyn Sullivan, Joe Gillis – Daniel Wells, Betty Schaefer: Vanessa de Jager, Max von Mayerling: Peter Dark, Artie Green – Mathew Chardon O’Dea, Sheldrake – Marcus Hurley, Manfred – Calen Robinson

The original production of Sunset Boulevard won Tony Awards in 1995 for Best Musical, Best Score and Best Book of a Musical as well as many individual acting and design awards.  It has also won a Drama Desk Award and been nominated for two Laurence Olivier Awards as recently as 2009.

Sunset Boulevard is about scriptwriter Joe Gillis and his relationship with Norma Desmond, a silent movie star pushed into obsolescence by the advent of the talkies.  After Joe’s unexpected arrival we find Norma languishing in the memories of her silent film heyday and Hollywood glamour.  She now focuses her time on the delusional creation of her masterpiece adaptation of Salome, which she hopes Cecil B. de Mille will direct.  The Sunset Boulevard mansion where she lives with her butler Max, once her director and husband, has become her self-contained world where she dreams of a comeback.  Gillis has had his last screenplay rejected so grabs the opportunity to initially work for Norma, eventually becoming her lover in return for a luxurious lifestyle.  But material extravagance cannot compensate for mental discomfort, and Joe is soon sneaking away to enjoy the youth and vibrancy of the real world.  Back at the film studio Betty Schaefer offers to collaborate with Joe on a script.  Feelings are ignited between the two of them and soon after this Joe realises that Norma has fallen in love with him.  He finishes her script but when she takes it to the studio de Mille is non-committal.  Norma discovers Joe’s involvement with Betty and phones her.  Joe, snatching the receiver from Norma, invites Betty over to see how he’s living.  When Betty arrives Joe is torn between his life of luxury supplied by Norma, and his genuine affection for Betty.  He decides to leave Hollywood and start life afresh in his native Ohio.  Norma’s reaction creates the unexpected drama that ends the story.

From start to finish it’s a tragic tale, both in its conclusion and in its depiction of someone who confused the immortality of her screen identity with the mortality of her flesh and bone.  It’s easy to see why the film version was voted one of the best films ever made: the characters could have been created by Sophocles, the story seismically spirals into despair and the themes resonate to the present day.

‘The show’s a hit.  Lloyd Webber’s most shamelessly and artfully constructed score.  It offers two of Lloyd Webber’s best songs in With One Look and As If We Never Said Goodbye.’ Michael Walsh, Time Magazine

‘It’s irresistibly addictive and immersive; you’ll willingly be engulfed by its beautiful tragedy.’ Christina Kennedy, On The Stage

‘Scored with some of Lloyd Webber’s loveliest melodies the lyrics are witty, funny and genuinely poetic.  There shouldn’t be a dry eye even in the lobby.’ Vincent Canby, The New York Times

Running Time: 2 hours 30 minutes including interval

8 – 25 October 2014
Wednesday 8 October, 8.00pm
Thursday 9 October, 8.00pm
Friday 10 October, 8.00pm
Saturday 11 October, 2.00pm & 8.00pm
Wednesday 15 October, 8.00pm
Thursday 16 October, 8.00pm
Friday 17 October, 8.00pm
Saturday 18 October, 2.00pm & 8.00pm
Sunday 19 October, 5.00pm
Wednesday 22 October, 8.00pm
Thursday 23 October, 8.00pm
Friday 24 October, 8.00pm
Saturday 25 October, 2.00pm & 8.00pm

$46.00 – Full price
$41.00 – Concession and Groups

$56.00 – Full price
$51.00 – Concession and Groups

Early Bird
$51.00 – Full price
$46.00 – Concession and Groups

All Matinees – $48.00

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