BWW Review: SUNSET BOULEVARD at The John W. Engeman Theatre
It may seem that productions of Tony winning musical Sunset Boulevard are a dime a dozen. But when it is playing at the exquisite John W. Engeman Theater, you know it is a must-see. Running through October 27th at the Northport venue, the show boasts a fantastic, affecting cast.
In the two act tuner superbly directed by Matt Kunkel, we follow Norma Desmond living - mentally - in the past of her glorious career as a legendary silent film star; she has yet transitioned to the talkies. It is a very moving story. She lives in a run-down house and believes she is still the toast of the town.
Judy McLane brilliantly leads the cast as Norma commanding the stage at every moment. Indeed a favorite of the enthusiastic audience is her stirring rendition of the iconic "As If We Never Said Goodbye". She makes a great team with Bryant Martin who portrays Joe, an up-and-coming writer who tries to take advantage of the situation when he end up at Norma's house. David Hess is also a highlight as Max. Mr. Hess' "The Greatest Star Of All" doesn't leave a dry eye in the house. The entire company is excellent.
On the creative team, Paige Hathaway's set is well done. It's minimal with several rolling pieces for seamless scene changes. Enhanced by Kurt Alger's beautiful costumes and John Burkland's lighting, this production is stunning. And, of course, it is always thrilling to have a live orchestra accompany the cast this one masterfully led by Musical Director Charlie Reuter.
Sunset Boulevard is an emotional show, but one of the greats to see. Again, we may see it performed a lot, but when you have a cast as good as the Engeman's, it's worth another look.
Music by Andrew Lloyd Weber, Book & Lyrics by Don Black & Christopher Hampton, Produced by Producing Artistic Director Richard Dolce, Directed by Matt Kunkel (Engeman Theater: Elf; Regional: A Celebration of Muny 100 and An Evening with the Stars - St. Louis Muny; associate credits include The Music Man and Tommy (The Kennedy Center), Candide - Carnegie Hall, Elf - Madison Square Garden, and Thoroughly Modern Millie - Actors Fund Reunion Concert), Musical Direction by Charlie Reuter (Engeman Theater: Elf; Regional: The Prince of Egypt - Tuacahn; Cinderella - National Tour; A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder - The Old Globe), Associate Director is Emma Gassett, Scenic Design by Paige Hathaway, Costumes & Wigs by Kurt Alger, Lighting Design by John Burkland, Sounds Design by Laura Shubert, Projection Design by Kylee Loera, Props Design by Alexander Sacca, Casting by Gayle Seay & Scott Wojcik & Holly Buczek of WOJCIK/SEAY Casting, Stage Management by Leila Scandar with Kristie Moschetta (Assistant Stage Manager)
Starring Judy McLane as Norma Desmond (Broadway: Mamma Mia!, Kiss of the Spiderwoman, Aspects of Love, Chess; Off-Broadway: Johnny Guitar; National & International Tours: Into the Woods, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Big, Side by Side by Sondheim), David Hess as Max von Mayerling (Broadway: Sunset Boulevard, Sweeney Todd, Annie Get Your Gun; First National Tours: The Bridges of Madison County, Sweeney Todd, Ragtime; Carnegie Hall: Kristina; Lincoln Center: Dessa Rose) and Bryant Martin as Joe Gillis (Engeman Theater: Oklahoma!; Other favorite credits: Desperate Measures, The Last Ship, Clint Black's Looking for Christmas, First Date, The Bridges of Madison County) with Brianna Barnes, Larry Daggett, Emma Gassett, Cody Gerszewski, Caitlin Hornik, Patricia Lawrence, Eric Jon Mahlum, Bobby Montaniz, Sarah Quinn Taylor, and Douglas Waterbury-Tieman
For more information and to purchase tickets, please call (631) 261-2900 or visit www.engemantheater.com
Photo by Michael DeCristofaro