Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

PCS Opens SUNSET BOULEVARD, 9/17

pixeltracker

It may be set in 1950, but it could just as easily have been ripped from this morning's TMZ.com - Portland Center Stage brings Billy Wilder's glittering Hollywood train wreck of a tale to the main stage with Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical adaptation of Sunset Boulevard.  Sunset Boulevard previews on Tuesday September 14th, with press night on Friday, September 17th, running through October, 2010. Tickets start at $43, with student and under 30 discounts available. Rush tickets are $20. Show times are 7:30 pm Tuesday through Saturday, with a 2:00 pm Sunday matinee and alternating Saturday 2:00 pm and Sunday 7:30 pm performances. See the show calendar http://www.pcs.org/sunset/ for the complete performance schedule.
 
There's no worse sin a Hollywood actress can commit than the sin of getting older. For fading silent film star Norma Desmond, life after the silver screen was a forced retreat into a luxurious Sunset Boulevard mansion, left alone with her memories, a monkey and a butler named Max. Enter the handsome but destitute young writer Joe Gillis, on the lam from the repo man and looking for anything that might keep his belly full and his car off the street for more than a day.  As she draws him into a scheme to re-launch her film career (and simultaneously lures him into her bed) she spins a web of jealous, defiant illusions that ultimately ensnares them both.
 
Billy Wilder once said of Sunset Boulevard, the blockbuster movie classic that launched William Holden's career and re-launched Gloria Swanson's,
 
"It should be an opera. After all, what is Norma if not a dethroned queen?"
 
In the hands of Andrew Lloyd Webber, that's exactly what you get- a big, bold, pop opera bursting with memorable songs and luscious Hollywood production numbers. It may be the pictures that got small, but in the musical adaptation of Sunset Boulevard, Norma is still BIG BIG BIG.
 
Enriching the experience of the performance for audiences will be the following pre-and post-show events:
 
 Emily Beleele (last seen in Gypsy at Lakewood Center for the Arts) provides pre-show live music in the Armory Café Saturdays at 5:30 pm throughout the run of Sunset Boulevard. 
 
PCS will transform the lobby staircase into Norma's iconic mansion and use it as a runway for fashion from the silent film era into the "talkies" with this series of Wednesday pre-show fashion show cases from Portland's vintage fashion community. Wednesdays 9/29, 10/6 & 10/13 at 7:05pm

On October 3rd following the 2pm performance, the Oregon Psychoanalytic Center, will put theater on the analyst's couch and the audience in the conversational driver's seat.  A lively post-matinee show discussion will focus on the psychological themes and issues in Sunset Boulevard (how crazy WAS she? Really?) With guest moderator Lee Shersow, MD. 

The music for Sunset Boulevard was written by Andrew Lloyd Webber, with book and lyrics by Don Black and Christopher Hampton. The musical is based on the 1950 Billy Wilder film Sunset Boulevard, which singlehandedly revived Gloria Swanson's career and solidified the creepy/fascinating mythos of the Hollywood has-been.

Sunset Boulevard will be directed by Artistic Director Chris Coleman and will feature Linda Mugleston as Norma Desmond, Kevin Reed as Joe Gillis, Sarah Stevens as Betty Schaefer and Larry Daggett as Max von Meyerling. The rest of the denizens of Golden Age Hollywood will be fleshed out by local ensemble members Leif Norby and Courtney Freed, as well as Michael Brian Dunn, Jessica Lisa Elovsson, Tony Falcon, Lisa Karlin, Robert Andrew Koutras, Emily Leonard, Paul Louis Lessard, Lindsay Luppino, Jeffrey Pew, Kurt Raimer, Robert Stoeckle and Tracy J. Wholf.
 
Music Director Rick Lewis will shape the sound of the production and conduct the orchestra featuring Mont Chris Hubbard on Piano, Dan Schulte on Bass, Ben Wasson on Percussion, Dan Gaynor and Tyler Evans on keyboards, Elizabeth Byrd on Cello, Mary Rowell on Violin, Clark Rust on Trumpet and John Nastos on Reeds. Choreographer Joel Ferrell returns to stage the production numbers.
 
The glitter and pasteboard luxury of the Hollywood Hills setting will be created by scenic designer G.W. Mercier, with multimedia help from video designer Patrick Weishampel. The original costume design by Anthony Powell will be coordinated by resident costume designer Jeff Cone, while sound designer Casi Pacilio, lighting designer Robert Wierzel, fight director John Armour and dialect coach Mary McDonald- Lewis ensure that our ensemble look and sound ready for their close-up .
 
Additional support for this production has been provided by Umpqua Private Bank, Perkins Coie, NW Natural, the Harold & Arlene Schnitzer CARE Foundation and Helen & Jerry Stern. Media support has been provided by Kink.fm.
Portland Center Stage's 2009/10 season is funded in part by Umpqua Private Bank, the Regional Arts & Culture Council and Work for Art; the Oregon Arts Commission; the Paul G.Allen Family Foundation; and Tim & Mary Boyle.
 
Portland Center Stage inspires our community by bringing stories to life in unexpected ways.  Established in 1988 as an off shoot of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, PCS became an independent theater in 1994 and has been under the leadership of Artistic Director Chris Coleman since May 2000.  The company presents a blend of classic, contemporary and original productions in a conscious effort to appeal to the eclectic palate of theatergoers in Portland.  PCS also offers a variety of education and outreach programs for curious minds from six to 106, including discussions, classes, workshops and partnerships with organizations throughout the Portland metro area.
 
THE GERDING THEATER AT THE ARMORY houses a 599-seat Main Stage and the 200-seat black box Ellyn Bye Studio.  It was the first building on the National Register of Historic Places, and the first performing arts venue, to achieve a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum certification. The Gerding Theater at the Armory opened to the public on Oct. 1, 2006.  The capital campaign to fund the renovation of this hub for community artistic activity continues.


Related Articles View More Portland Stories

Buy at the Theatre Shop

T-Shirts, Mugs, Phone Cases & More

More Hot Stories For You