Gossip columnist Liz Smith writes that casting rumors indicate that Minnelli is the top choice to portray the faded silent-screen star Norma Desmond in the film of the Andrew Lloyd Webber-Don Black-Christopher Hampton musical. Hugh Jackman, Smith adds, is being sought to portray Joe Gillis, and Martin Scorsese, who directed Minnelli in "New York, New York," would like to direct. Jackman, currently wowing Broadway audiences in The Boy From Oz, portrayed down-and-out screenwriter Gillis opposite the Norma of Debra Byrne in the musical's Australian debut.
Tony and Olivier Award winner Patti LuPone created the role of Norma Desmond for the musical's world-premiere production in London. Glenn Close played the role in Los Angeles and later in New York, where she won a Tony Award for her performance as the aging, deluded actress. Other musical Normas include Elaine Paige (London and New York), Betty Buckley (London and New York), Diahann Carroll (Canada), Petula Clark (London and U.S. tour), Debra Byrne (Australia), Helen Schneider (Germany) and Linda Balgord (U.S. tour).
Lloyd Webber's Sunset Boulevard is based on the 1950 movie of the same name, which featured Gloria Swanson as the reclusive Norma Desmond who falls in love with an unlucky writer — Joe Gillis — who happens upon her home by accident. William Holden played Gillis in the film, which was directed by the late Billy Wilder. Swanson, Holden and Wilder all received Academy Award nominations for their work.
Liza Minnelli, an Oscar winner for her performance in Cabaret, was last on Broadway in a tribute to her late father entitled Minnelli on Minnelli; she returned to New York City's Beacon Theatre with her acclaimed concert Liza's Back! In addition to her Tonys for Flora, the Red Menace and The Act, Minnelli was awarded a special Tony in 1974 for "adding lustre to the Broadway season." Her film credits include "The Sterile Cuckoo," "Arthur," "New York, New York" and "Stepping Out." The singer is also a Golden Globe and Emmy Award-winning actress. Her newest album, "Liza's Back!," is available on the J Records label.