Producers Paul Blake and Mike Bosner confirmed October 25 that three-time Tony winner Glenn Close, who created the role of Norma Desmond in the original 1994 Broadway production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Sunset Boulevard, will return to the part in 2017 at Broadway's Palace Theatre (1564 Seventh Avenue).
Direct from a sold-out engagement earlier this year at the English National Opera, which marked Close’s West End debut, this production of the musical—which is based on Billy Wilder's classic film of the same name—will feature a 40-piece orchestra. Directed by Lonny Price, previews will begin February 2, 2017, with an official opening night set for February 9. The production will play a limited 16-week engagement.
Price, who also directed the London staging, told Playbill.com October 25, “Working with Glenn on this role was a real joy for me—primarily because Glenn was uninterested in a re-creation. She was, in fact, dead set on exploring what Norma and Sunset mean to her now, in 2016. I'm very excited New York audiences will get to experience this new and thrilling interpretation of this iconic role. To say nothing of a 40-piece orchestra playing what I think is one of Andrew Lloyd Webber's very best!”
“Seeing Glenn Close revisit her Tony Award-winning performance in London’s West End was a transcendent experience for us both,” said producers Blake and Bosner in a joint statement. “We wouldn’t have thought it possible, but Glenn’s masterful performance is even richer and more layered than before. And hearing the sweeping, breathtaking score performed by a 40-piece orchestra only solidified why Andrew Lloyd Webber is a living legend.”
Tickets, which go on sale today, October 25, at 11 AM, cost $65-$199 and are available by calling Ticketmaster at (877) 250-2929 or online at Ticketmaster.com/sunset.
The ENO production of Sunset Boulevard was just nominated for two Evening Standard Awards, including Best Musical and a Best Musical Performance nomination for Close.
“In her mansion on Sunset Boulevard, faded, silent-screen goddess, Norma Desmond, lives in a fantasy world,” according to press notes. “Impoverished screen writer, Joe Gillis, on the run from debt collectors, stumbles into her reclusive world. Persuaded to work on Norma’s ‘masterpiece’, a film script that she believes will put her back in front of the cameras, he is seduced by her and her luxurious life-style. Joe becomes entrapped in a claustrophobic world until his love for another woman leads him to try and break free with dramatic consequences.”
Additional information, including performance schedule and complete casting, will be announced shortly.
Lloyd Webber’s score includes “With One Look,” “As If We Never Said Goodbye,” and “Perfect Year.” When Sunset Boulevard opens at the Palace, the composer will have the rare distinction of having four musicals running simultaneously on Broadway: The Phantom of the Opera, School of Rock – The Musical, Cats, and Sunset Boulevard.
Check out production photos from the recent London staging of Sunset with Close:
Sunset Boulevard Comes to the London Coliseum With Glenn Close
Tony and Olivier Award winner Patti LuPone created the role of Norma Desmond for the musical's 1993 world-premiere production in London, earning an Olivier nomination for her performance. Close played the role in Los Angeles and later in New York, where she won a 1995 Tony Award for her work as the aging, deluded silent-film star. Other musical Normas include Betty Buckley (London [Olivier nomination] and New York), Elaine Paige (London and New York), Diahann Carroll (Canada), Petula Clark (London and U.S. tour), Rita Moreno (London), Debra Byrne (Australia), Helen Schneider (Germany), and Linda Balgord (U.S. tour). Florence Lacey, Loni Ackerman, Liz Callaway, and Valerie Perri are among those who have played the role regionally.
Lloyd Webber's Sunset Boulevard is based on Wilder's 1950 movie, 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; Swanson, Holden, and Wilder all received Academy Award nominations for their work.
Multiple Oscar nominee Close is a three-time Tony winner for her performances in The Real Thing, Death and the Maiden and Sunset Boulevard.
Sunset Boulevard is produced by special arrangement with Really Useful Group Ltd.
Watch Close discuss returning to the role of Norma Desmond: