Photo Flash: SUNSET BOULEVARD to Play Limited Season at Theatre on the Bay in Cape Town
Pieter Toerien presents Andrew Lloyd Webber's magnificent musical SUNSET BOULEVARD at Theatre on the Bay as part of the theatre's 25th anniversary celebrations this year. Toerien, a legendary local producer, established this intimate stage as a home to world class entertainment for drama, comedy, dance, musicals and cabarets. The 264 seater venue serves as a platform for magic, captivating an audience of all ages time and again.
SUNSET BOULEVARD won seven Tony Awards in 1995, including Best Musical, and boasts one of Andrew Lloyd Webber's most memorable and haunting scores. Based on the Billy Wilder film, the musical version of SUNSET BOULEVARD, features music by Lloyd Webber with lyrics by Christopher Hampton and Don Black and features the hit songs "With One Look", "As If We Never Said Goodbye" and "The Perfect Year". SUNSET BOULEVARD weaves a moving tale of faded glory and unfulfilled ambition. Silent movie star Norma Desmond longs for a return to the big screen, having been discarded by tinsel town with the advent of "talkies." Her glamour has faded in all but her mind. When she meets struggling Hollywood screen-writer Joe Gillis in dramatic circumstances, their subsequent passionate and volatile relationship leads to an unforeseen and tragic conclusion.
Of his show, Lloyd Webber says: "I first saw Sunset Boulevard sometime in the early 1970s. It inspired a tune. This tune was supposed to be the title song. However, I neither had the rights to the film, nor at that time was I likely to be able to obtain them. Eventually I used a couple of fragments of that tune in Stephen Frears' affectionate Bogart spoof, GUMSHOE. In 1976, Hal Prince began working with me on the musical EVITA. We discussed SUNSET BOULEVARD and I saw the movie again since Hal Prince had obtained the rights. It all came to nothing but I wrote an idea for the moment when Norma Desmond returns to Paramount Studios. At around the same time I met with Christopher Hampton whom I had known for some years as he was at school with Tim Rice. He had already declared an interest in writing the libretto for the English National Opera of SUNSET BOULEVARD, but this too had come to nothing. We thought it was a wonderful idea but came to the conclusion that in both our cases other projects made SUNSET impossible and there was yet again the question of whether we would get the rights. I thought of SUNSET on and off over the next 12 years, but it was only after ASPECTS OF LOVE that I felt it was the subject I had to compose next. I contacted Paramount and, this time, the rights were available. So I took an option and started work. As ever, several early jottings were discarded. Then I had the idea of working with Chris Hampton once more. Chris was intrigued but felt that he would be happy working with somebody who had experience of lyrics before. I introduced him to my old friend and collaborator, Don Black, and what I hoped most would happen appears to have done so. They collaborated on both the book and lyrics together. I began composing the score shortly after the opening of ASPECTS OF LOVE in London in 1989. I tried various versions of the title song, but came back to the original idea I had in the early 1970s, albeit in a very different style and form. I stayed with my late 1970s draft of the moment where Norma returns to Paramount, "As If We Never Said Goodbye". Otherwise mostly everything has been written since 1989".
This production of the multiple award-winning show is currently playing to capacity houses and rave reviews at Montecasino in Johannesburg and boasts a stellar cast led by Angela Kilian (EVITA, CATS, THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA) as Norma Desmond and Jonathan Roxmouth (A HANDFUL OF KEYS, GREASE, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR, THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA) as Joe Gillis. Other key roles feature Bethany Dickson as Betty, James Borthwick as Max Von Mayerling, Kyle Grant as Artie Green, Mike Huff as Cecil B. De Mille and Anton Luitingh as Sheldrake. The ensemble members are Stephen Jubber, Rhys Williams, Steven van Wyk, Candice von Litsenborg, Brownwen Reddy, Bianca de Klerk, Claire Taylor and Mila de Biaggi. Tarryn Sudding (NOEL & GERTIE, ANNIE and NUNSENSE) plays the role of Norma Desmond on Monday nights.
The award-winning creative team includes Paul Warwick Griffin as Director, Anton Luitingh as Resident Director, Louis Zurnamer as Musical Director, Charl-Johan Lingenfelder as Musical Supervisor, Dennis Hutchinson as Set and Lighting Designer, David Gouldie as Choreographer and Penny Simpson as Costume Designer.
SUNSET BOULEVARD runs at Theatre on the Bay in Camps Bay from 28 October 2013 until 4 January 2014. Performances take place on Mondays to Saturdays 8pm and with a Saturday matinee at 4:30pm. Tickets cost R120 to R320 and can be booked at Computicket or on 021 438 3300. Group bookings are available through Tracy Cahill (firstname.lastname@example.org).