The recording features Petula Clark as the deluded silent screen star Norma Desmond and Michael Ball as the ill-fated screenwriter. The broadcast, which was taped this past March at the Royal Opera House in Cork, will air at 6:30 PM London time. (Ball will also be featured in a Christmas Eve concert on BBC Radio 2 Dec. 24; that concert airs at 7:30 PM.)
The 1950 film "Sunset Boulevard," directed by Billy Wilder, concerned an out- of-work screenwriter named Joe Gillis who happens upon the home of former silent-screen star Norma Desmond. William Holden and Gloria Swanson starred in the film, which won three Academy Awards. Andrew Lloyd Webber and Don Black's musical version debuted in London with Patti LuPone as Norma. Other Normas included Betty Buckley, Elaine Paige, Glenn Close, Diahann Carroll, Petula Clark, Helen Schneider, Linda Balgord and Debra Byrne.
Michael Ball made his Broadway debut as Alex in Andrew Lloyd Webber's Aspects of Love, a role he created on the London stage. His other London stage credits include The Pirates of Penzance, Les Misérables, The Phantom of the Opera, Passion and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Ball's numerous, best-selling solo recordings include "Centre Stage," "Christmas," "Live at the Royal Albert Hall," "The Movies," "The Musicals," "First Love," "Always" and "Michael Ball."
One of the most successful singers to emerge from Britain in the 1960's, Clark is perhaps best known for her hit "Downtown," although the singer/actress has also appeared in several musicals, including the Broadway production of Blood Brothers and the U.S. tour and London company of Sunset Boulevard. She also starred in an acclaimed London revival of The Sound of Music.
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