Casting Complete for All-Star "Sunset Boulevard" Reading

News   Casting Complete for All-Star "Sunset Boulevard" Reading Casting is complete for the upcoming starry reading of "Sunset Boulevard" at Los Angeles' Pantages Theatre.

Kate Edelman Johnson will host the event, which benefits the Actors' Fund of America. Johnson will be assisted by Nancy Olson Livingston, who starred as Betty Schaefer in the original film, and by Mrs. Billy Wilder, wife of the late "Sunset" director.

The star-studded company will boast Anjelica Huston as faded silent-screen star Norma Desmond, Patrick Wilson as doomed screenwriter Joe Gillis, Sir Ben Kingsley as loyal butler Max, Lauren Ambrose as Betty Schaefer, Stanley Donen as Cecil B. DeMille, Stefanie Powers as Hedda Hopper, Noah Wyle as Artie Green, Marissa Jaret Winokur as Connie, Steve Guttenberg as the First A.D., Robert Morse as Jonesy, James Cromwell as Sheldrake, Charles Durning as L.A. Homicide Captain, Marvin Kaplan as Hog-Eye, Wilmer Valderrama as the Paramount gate guard, Ken Howard as Repo Man, Frederic F. Forrest as Beverly Hills Captain, and Ed Begley Jr. as Morino, Joe Gillis' agent.

The April 4 benefit — directed by Peter Hunt — is part of the Actors' Fund of America's second annual "Screenplays on Stage" fundraiser. Show time is 4 PM.

The classic screenplay "Sunset Boulevard" was penned by Charles Brackett, Billy Wilder and D.M. Marshman, Jr. David Rambo will adapt the reading for the one-night-only event. Rambo also adapted the screenplay for "All About Eve," which raised $300,000 for the Actors' Fund in March 2003.

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. Tickets for the "Sunset Boulevard" reading range from $28-$2,500. Priority tickets are now on sale by calling (323) 933-9266, ext. 35 or 54.

The Actors' Fund of America is the only national non-profit organization that provides for the social welfare of all entertainment professionals. For more information, visit www.actorsfund.org.