Michael Xavier, Siobhan Dillon and Fred Johanson will join Glenn Close in Andrew Lloyd Webber, Don Black and Christopher Hampton’s Sunset Boulevard, the second production in the partnership between English National Opera (ENO) and the GradeLinnit Company.
Lonny Price will direct the strictly limited run of 43 performances at ENO’s London Coliseum which begins on 1 April 2016 with press night on 4 April, with the final performance on 7 May. The full ENO orchestra will appear on stage alongside the cast in this semi-staged production. Orchestrations are by David Cullen and Andrew Lloyd Webber with choreography by Stephen Mear, set designs by James Noone, costume designs by Tracy Christensen, Glenn Close’s costumes designs by Anthony Powell, sound by Mick Potter and lighting by Mark Henderson. Musical director is Michael Reed who also conducts.
Close, Xavier, Dillon and Johanson are joined by a company including Julian Forsyth as Cecil B DeMille, Mark Goldthorp as Sheldrake, Fenton Gray as Manfred, Haydn Oakley as Artie Green and James Paterson as Jonesy. Further company members include Carly Anderson, Jacob Chapman, Ria Jones (who will also be the standby Norma Desmond), Katie Kerr, Aaron Lee Lambert, Vicki Lee Taylor, Jo Morris, Ashley Robinson, Gary Tushaw and Adam Vaughan. Final casting will be announced shortly.
Glenn Close, making her West End debut as well as her first reprisal of the role for UK audiences, plays faded silent movie star Norma Desmond, for which she has previously won a Tony Award, a Drama Desk Award, a Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award and a Dramalogue Award for the Broadway production directed by Trevor Nunn.
Michael Xavier (Joe Gillis) is currently playing the role of Gaylord Ravenal in the critically acclaimed musical Show Boat at the Sheffield Crucible. His other theatre credits include Suffolk/George of Clarence in Trevor Nunn’s production of The Wars of the Roses at the Rose Theatre, Emmanuel Schikaneder in Emmanuel and Eleonore (workshop) directed by Trevor Nunn and composed by Stephen Schwartz, John Wilkes Booth in Assassins at the Menier Chocolate Factory, Sid Sorokin in The Pajama Game at the Shaftesbury Theatre, Captain Von Trapp in the The Sound of Music at the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, Cornelius Hakl in Hello. Dolly! at Leicester Curve, Oliver in Love Story at the Duchess Theatre, Wolf/Cinderella’s Prince in Into the Woods at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, Curly in Oklahoma! at the Chichester Festival Theatre, Sir Galahad in Spamalot at the Palace Theatre, Raoul in The Phantom of the Opera at Her Majesty’s Theatre, Bob Baker in Wonderful Town for the Royal Exchange Theatre, James Prince in Soho Cinders, Sky in Mamma Mia! and Freddy in My Fair Lady. Xavier has also hosted the UK Theatre Awards, West End Live and the Olivier Awards at the Piazza.
Siobhan Dillon (Betty Shaefer) was a finalist on Andrew Lloyd Webber’s How Do you Solve A Problem Like Maria? on BBC1. Her theatre credits include Sandy in Grease at the Piccadilly Theatre, Vivienne Kensington in Legally Blonde at the Savoy Theatre, Molly Jensen in Ghost The Musical at the Piccadilly Theatre, Ellen in Miss Saigon at the Prince Edward Theatre and Sally Bowles in the UK tour of Cabaret.
Fred Johanson (Max Von Mayerling) has starred in several major musicals in both his native Sweden as well as the West End including Peron in Evita, Javert in Les Misérables, Old Deuteronomy in Cats, Reverend Shaw in Footloose, The Beast in Beauty and the Beast, Louis B. Meyer in Garbo, Frollo in Notre Dame de Paris as well as Max in Sunset Boulevard at the Gothenburg Opera. He played Pontius Pilate in Jesus Christ Superstar both on stage and in the 2001 film version and as a soloist he has performed at the Royal Albert Hall, the National Concert Hall in Dublin, the Berwaldhallen and the Stockholm Concert Hall. He has released two solo albums and reached number one in the Australian charts with the group Scandal’us, achieving double platinum status. He has also written songs for ABBA’s Annifrid Lyngstad.
Tickets for Sunset Boulevard are £12–£105, with 400 seats at £25 or less including 100 at £12 for every performance.
With music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and book and lyrics by Don Black and Christopher Hampton, Sunset Boulevard is based on the original Paramount film by Billy Wilder. The show originally premiered in London at the Adelphi Theatre in 1993, where it ran for almost four years and played to nearly two million people. It went on to open on Broadway in 1994 to what was then, the biggest advance in Broadway history, $37.5million.
Sunset Boulevard will be presented by Michael Linnit and Michael Grade for Gate Ventures PLC with ENO.
In March 2015 ENO and the GradeLinnit Company presented the run of Sweeney Todd with Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel in the inaugural production of their partnership.
Book Tickets for Sunset Boulevard: wwwmusicaltheatrereview.entstix.com/tickets/sunset-boulevard
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Sunset Boulevard – Glenn Close on making her West End debut at ENO – Feature