See Who's Playing Opposite Glenn Close in London's Sunset Boulevard

News   See Who's Playing Opposite Glenn Close in London's Sunset Boulevard
Further casting has been announced for the new London production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Sunset Boulevard, in which as previously announced Glenn Close is to reprise the role of Norma Desmond. She will be joined by West End leading man Michael Xavier as Joe Gillis, with Swedish Fred Johanson as Max Von Mayerling (a role he has previously played for Gothenburg Opera) and Siobhan Dillon as Betty Shaefer.

Close won the Tony Award as Best Actress in a Musical for her performance in the role 21 years ago in the show's original Broadway transfer from London.

Glenn Close
Glenn Close

The new semi-staged production will begin performances at the London Coliseum April 1, prior to an official opening April 4, for a run of 43 performances only through May 7.

It will be directed by Lonny Price, who also staged last year's semi-staged production of Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd at the London Coliseum. Both productions are part of a partnership between English National Opera (ENO) and the GradeLinnit Company.

Sunset Boulevard Gives Broadway's Greatest Stars of All Their Close Ups on Disc

The musical originally premiered at the West End's Adelphi Theatre in 1993, starring Patti LuPone in the role of Norma Desmond. She was contractually due to reprise the role on Broadway, but was controversially replaced by Close after Close had a successful run in the role in the North American premiere of the show in Los Angeles. Faye Dunaway, who was to have replaced Close in the L.A. production, was also dismissed before she began performances, and the production closed there.

Close has previously appeared on the London stage in Trevor Nunn's National Theatre production of A Streetcar Named Desire. In a press statement, Lloyd Webber said, "I am thrilled that London audiences will at last get a chance to see Glenn's performance in the role of Norma Desmond which was so hugely acclaimed in the USA."

Close 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.

Xavier is curently playing Gaylord Ravenal in Show Boat at Sheffield Crucible through Jan. 23.  Other recent theatre credits include Suffolk/ George of Clarence in Trevor Nunn's production of The Wars Of The Roses at Kingston's Rose Theatre, John Wilkes Booth in Assassins at the Menier Chocolate Factory, Sid Sorokin in The Pajama Game at the Shaftesbury Theatre and Captain Von Trapp in The Sound of Music at the Regent's Park Open Air. He has twice been Olivier Award nominated: for Love Story (Duchess Theatre, transferred from Chichester's  Minerva and Into The Woods (Regent's Park Open Air Theatre).

Dillonwas a finalist on Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 'How Do you Solve A Problem Like Maria?' on BBC1. 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 and Ellen in Miss Saigon at the Prince Edward Theatre.

Johanson's roles in Sweden and in the West End include Peron in Evita, Javert in Les Misérables, Old Deuteronomy in Cats, Reverend Shaw in Footloose, The Beast in Disney’s 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 . He has released two solo albums and reached number one in the Australian charts with the group Scandal’us, achieving double platinum status. 

Also in the company are 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, Katie Kerr, Aaron Lee Lambert, Vicki Lee Taylor, Jo Morris, Ashley Robinson, Gary Tushaw and Adam Vaughan.  Final casting will be announced shortly.

With music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and book and lyrics by Don Black and Christopher Hampton, Sunset Boulevard is produced by arrangement with The Really Useful Group Ltd and is based on the original Paramount film of the same title directed by Billy Wilder. The full ENO orchestra, conducted by Michael Reed, will appear on stage alongside the cast in this semi-staged production that has choreography by Stephen Mear, set designs by James Noone, lighting by MarK Henderson and sound by Mick Potter. Costume designs are by Tracy Christense, with Close's costumes by Anthony Powell.

To book tickets, contact the box office 020 7845 9300 or visit

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