Liz Callaway Stars in SUNSET BOULEVARD, Opening at Pittsburgh CLO Tonight, 7/24
Audiences will be captivated by Andrew Lloyd Webber's fiery story of love, fame and Hollywood in Pittsburgh CLO's debut production of Sunset Boulevard, tonight, July 24 through July 29 at the Benedum Center. Tony Award nominee Liz Callaway, critically-acclaimed star of Love Changes Everything, returns to the Pittsburgh CLO stage as eccentric Hollywood actress Norma Desmond.
Sunset Boulevard weaves a magnificent tale of faded glory and unfulfilled ambition. Having been discarded by tinsel town with the advent of "talkies," silent movie star Norma Desmond longs for a return to the big screen. By the time she meets struggling Hollywood screenwriter Joe Gillis, the glitz and glamour of her Hollywood life has all but faded in her mind. Their passionate and volatile relationship leads to an unforeseen and tragic curtain call, perfectly captured by Andrew Lloyd Webber's sweeping score including songs such as "With One Look" and "As If We Never Said Goodbye."
Liz Callaway (Norma Desmond) is a Broadway veteran who made her Pittsburgh CLO debut in the 2011 production of Love Changes Everything: The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber. Her remarkable list of theater credits includes Merrily We Roll Along, Baby (Tony Award® Nomination), Miss Saigon, Cats, The Look of Love and The Three Musketeers. She also starred in the off-Broadway production of The Spitfire Grill, for which she received a Drama Desk Nomination. Her list of television and film credits includes Ready to Go (Emmy Award), Inside the Actor's Studio: Stephen Sondheim, Anastasia, The Swan Princess, Lion King 2: Simba's Pride and Aladdin. Ms. Callaway's solo recording albums are: "Passage of Time," "The Beat Goes On," "The Story Goes On," "Anywhere I Wander" and "Boom!" (with Ann Hampton Callaway).
Walter Charles (Max) returns to Pittsburgh CLO after starring in Me and My Girl and La Cage aux Folles. His Broadway credits include the Broadway revivals of Anything Goes and The Apple Tree, The Woman in White, Big River, Boys from Syracuse, Kiss Me Kate, A Christmas Carol, La Cage aux Folles, Aspects of Love, Me and My Girl, Cats, and Grease! Among his countless theatre and film credits are Wit, The Immigrant, Sweeney Todd, Company, "A Fine Mess," "Weeds," "Fletch Lives," "Prancer," "Cagney & Lacey," "Kate & Allie" and "1993 Grammy Awards." Mr. Charles was nominated for the Bay Area Drama Critics Circle Best Actor Award for La Cage Aux Folles and Best Supporting Actor for Sunset Boulevard.
Jeff Howell (DeMille) has performed in dozens of Pittsburgh CLO productions throughout the years. Credits include Beauty and the Beast, Candide, Bells are Ringing, Mrs. Bob Cratchit's Wild Christmas Binge, Chicago and Man of LaMancha. He has also appeared on television and film in "All My Children," "The Young and the Restless," "Equal Justice," "The Oksana Baiul Story, "The Cemetery Club," "Sudden Death," "The Dark Half" and "The Bride in Black." His additional work with the Pittsburgh Symphony includes A Tribute to Lerner and Loewe, Of Thee I Sing, Classical Rap, and Peter and the Wolf.
Amanda Rose (Betty) joins Pittsburgh CLO for the first time. Her Broadway and National Tour credits include Wicked (Nessarose), Dr. Dolittle starring Tommy Tune, Oklahoma! (Laurey). Regional credits include Gypsy (Louise), Miss Saigon (Ellen), Curtains (Nikki), Sunset Boulevard (Betty), Singin' in the Rain (Kathy), Les Miserables, Swing!, West Side Story, and 42nd Street at theatres such as Papermill Playhouse, Sacramento Music Circus, Goodspeed Opera House, Houston TUTS, Maine State Music Theatre, Atlanta TOTS, Fulton Theatre and Ogunquit Playhouse.
David Perlman (Artie) makes his Pittsburgh CLO debut after appearing on Broadway in Baby It's You! He toured nationally and across Europe in Madagascar Live!, Hair and Schoolhouse Rock Live! His additional credits include Yank!, Sunset Boulevard opposite Stefanie Powers, Altar Boyz, Forever Plaid and a variety of film and television appearances such as "30 Rock," "Law & Order" and "The Butcher's New Day."
Matthew Scott (Joe Gillis) returns to Pittsburgh CLO after performances in Les Miserables, Swing!, and 1776. He has appeared on Broadway in Sondheim on Sondheim, Jersey Boys, A Catered Affair and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. His regional credits include The Light in the Piazza (Barrymore Award), Becoming Chaplin (San Diego Theatre Critics Nomination), First You Dream: The Music of Kander & Ebb, Ace, Side by Side…, Ragtime, Tick, Tick…Boom!, West Side Story (Kevin Kline Award Nomination), Bat Boy, My Fair Lady and Carousel. Scott received his BFA from Carnegie Mellon University.
Sunset Boulevard is complete with an exceptional ensemble including: Denée Benton, Sal Bucci, Max Clayton, Sarah Ellis, Chandler Farren, Allison Griffith, Joe Jackson, Julia Johanos, Dan Krell, Justin Lonesome, Trevor McQueen, Connor McRory, Kara Mikula, J. Alex Noble, Joel Robertson, Gabriella Sorrentino and Lauren Zapko.
Barry Ivan (Director/Choreographer) has directed and choreographed numerous other Pittsburgh CLO shows, including A Little Night Music starring Dee Hoty and Beth Leavel, Company starring Malcolm Gets and Michelle Pawk, Anything Goes starring Carolee Carmello, The Full Monty featuring Sally Struthers, Miss Saigon, Smokey Joe's Cafe, West Side Story and Les Misérables. His numerous other credits range from Guest Director at Yale to his production of West Side Story at the German State Opera. Mr. Ivan's productions of the regional premiere of Hairspray and The Full Monty have received IRNE awards for Best Musical, and he has been IRNE nominated as Best Director for his productions of Les Misérables and Nine. Actively involved in the creation of new works, Mr. Ivan had the pleasure of directing the US Premiere of Dracula: A Chamber Musical, working with Maury Yeston when he staged In the Beginning and Tales of Tinseltown in NYC at the Acorn Theatre in association with the Director's Company.
Tom Helm (Music Director) returns for his 17th season with Pittsburgh CLO. His theater credits include the Broadway productions of Souvenir, Les Miserables, Me and My Girl, Cats, and Brigadoon. He has also contributed his talents to television programs such as "Crazy for You" and the "Today Show." Mr. Helm has conducted at Radio City Music Hall, Paper Mill Playhouse and many other regional shows and national theaters.
John McLain (Lighting Designer) returns for his 23rd season with Pittsburgh CLO, which began in 1988 with The Wizard of Oz. His credits include major musicals, ballet, opera, Las Vegas, Broadway, road shows, ice shows and many international productions.
Sunset Boulevard is based on the 1950 film noir-style film of the same name. The film was directed by Billy Wilder and starred William Holden, Gloria Swanson, Erich von Stroheim and Nancy Olson. It received 11 Academy Award nominations and won three Academy Awards for Best Music, Best Art Direction-Set Decoration (Black-and-White) and Best Writing, Story and Screenplay.
The musical adaptation of Sunset Boulevard, with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, book by Don Black and lyrics by Christopher Hampton, debuted on the West End on July 12, 1993 at the Adelphi Theatre. It starred Patti LuPone as Norma Desmond, Kevin Anderson as Joe Gillis, Meredith Braun as Betty Schaefer and Daniel Benzali as Max. The show then went on to make its American premiere at the Shubert Theatre in Los Angeles on December 9, 1993, starring Glenn Close as Norma, George Hearn as Max and Judy Kuhn as Betty.
Sunset Boulevard ultimately made its Broadway debut on November 17, 1994, at the Minskoff Theatre with Glenn Close and George Hearn reprising their roles from Los Angeles and Alice Ripley joining the cast as Betty. The original Broadway production won seven of the 11 Tony Awards® for which it was nominated in 1995, including Best Musical, Best Original Score, Best Book of a Musical, Best Performance By a Leading Actress in a Musical (Glenn Close) and Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical (George Hearn).
Tickets range from $10-$65 and are available online at pittsburghCLO.org, by calling 412-456-6666 or at the Box Office at Theater Square. Groups of 10 or more enjoy exclusive discounts and specialty packages. Call the Group Sales Hotline at 412-325-1582 for more information.
Since 1946, the Pittsburgh CLO has been the driving force behind live musical theater in Pittsburgh and the entire Southwestern Pennsylvania region. Under the direction of Van Kaplan since 1997, this not-for-profit arts organization appreciates the support of nearly 200,000 patrons each year and produces a subscription series, educational programs, national tours and develops and invests in new works, including 15 Broadway shows (13 Tony Awards®) featuring the recent productions of Catch Me If You Can and Evita. Its dedication to the musical theater art form extends to include such programs as the CLO Academy, the CLO Mini Stars, the Gene Kelly Awards, the Richard Rodgers Award the National High School Musical Theater Awards, the Construction Center for the Arts and the CLO Cabaret.
Photo credit: Matt Polk