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BREAKING NEWS: Glenn Close Makes West End Debut In Sunset Boulevard

By Jacob Porteous

Glenn Close will star as Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard, the second production in the partnership between English National Opera (ENO) and the GradeLinnit Company. 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 by Billy Wilder.

BREAKING NEWS: Glenn Close Makes West End Debut In Sunset Boulevard

In March 2015 ENO and the GradeLinnit Company presented the critically acclaimed sell-out run of Sweeney Todd with Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel in the inaugural production of their partnership.

Lonny Price will direct the strictly limited run of 43 performances at ENO’s London Coliseum which begins on 1 April 2016 with press night on 4 April 2016 at 7.30 pm and final performance on 7 May 2016. The full ENO orchestra will appear on stage alongside the cast in this semi-staged production. Further casting will be announced shortly.

Glenn Close, making her West End debut as well as her first reprisal of the role for UK audiences, plays faded silent movie star Norma Desmond, for which she has previously 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.

Cressida Pollock, ENO, Chief Executive Officer said: “We at English National Opera believe that the combination of multiple award-winning Glenn Close, making her West End stage debut, and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s hit musical Sunset Boulevard, will once again pack the London Coliseum with ENO regulars and new audiences for us. We are all looking forward to working on this next thrilling production with the GradeLinnit Company, the team that delivered this year’s hugely successful run of Sweeney Todd.”

Andrew 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."

Public booking for Sunset Boulevard tickets opens at 10am on 29 September 2015.

In her mansion on Sunset Boulevard, faded, silent-screen goddess, Norma Desmond (Glenn Close), lives in a fantasy world. 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.

Based on Billy Wilder’s classic film, Sunset Boulevard originally premiered in London at the Adelphi Theatre in 1993, where it ran for almost four years and played to nearly two million people. It went on to open on Broadway in 1994 to what was then, the biggest advance in Broadway history, $37.5million.

Glenn Close made her professional theatre debut in Harold Prince's revival of Love for Love on Broadway and will make her West End stage debut with this production. Her other early stage credits include The Crucifer of Blood and The Singular Life of Albert Nobbs, for which she won an Obie Award. She was also the winner of Tony Awards for her performances in The Real Thing and Death and the Maiden, both directed by Mike Nichols. In 2002 she was reunited with Trevor Nunn for his National Theatre revival of A Streetcar Named Desire. Glenn Close returned to Broadway in November of 2014 for the first time in 20 years to lead the cast of Edward Albee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning A Delicate Balance. Close is a six-time Academy Award nominated actress and has appeared in more than 35 films including The World According to Garp, The Big Chill, The Natural, Fatal Attraction, Dangerous Liaisons, and Albert Nobbs which she co-produced and for which she co-wrote the screenplay. Close has also produced and starred in nine movies for TV including the Sarah, Plain and Tall series for the Hallmark Hall of Fame. Close won Emmy Awards for her performances in Serving in Silence: The Margarethe Cammermeyer Story and the TV series Damages, which earned her a Golden Globe Award as well. Close also received a SAG Award for her performance as Eleanor in The Lion in Winter. Her upcoming films include What Happened to Monday, Wilde Wedding and She Who Brings Gifts.

Andrew Lloyd Webber is the composer of some of the world’s best known musicals including Cats, Evita, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Jesus Christ Superstar, The Phantom of the Opera and Sunset Boulevard. He is currently working on a stage version of the movie School of Rock which will begin previews at Broadway’s Winter Garden Theatre in November this year.As theatre producer he has presented not only his own shows but others including the Olivier award-winning La Bete, and Daisy Pulls It Off. As composer he has received many awards including seven Tonys, seven Oliviers, a Golden Globe, an Oscar, two International Emmys, the Praemium Imperiale, the Richard Rodgers Award for Excellence in Musical Theatre, a BASCA Fellowship, the Kennedy Center Honor and a Grammy for Best Contemporary Classical Composition for Requiem, his setting of the Latin Requiem mass which contains one of his best known compositions, Pie Jesu. He owns six London theatres including the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane and the London Palladium. He was knighted by Her Majesty The Queen in 1992 and created an honorary member of the House of Lords in 1997. The Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation has become one of Britain’s leading charities supporting the arts and music.

Earlier this year Lonny Price directed Sweeney Todd, the first production in the ENO/GradeLinnit partnership. His other directing credits include the stage and film versions of the New York Philharmonic’s production of Sondheim’s Company as well as the Philharmonic’s Sondheim: The Birthday Concert! for which he received a 2011 Emmy Award and the Live from Lincoln Center broadcasts of Camelot, Candide and Sweeney Todd. He also directed the Emmy Award–winning production of Sondheim’s Passion starring Patti LuPone, Audra McDonald and Michael Cerveris which was broadcast on Live From Lincoln Center an-d he won an Emmy for his 2001 production of Sweeney Todd with the San Francisco Symphony. His Broadway credits include110 in the Shade, “Master Harold” ... and the Boys, Sally Marr and Her Escorts (which he co-wrote with Joan Rivers and Erin Sanders), Urban Cowboy and A Class Act. His feature film, “Master Harold” ... and the Boys, received the Best Director of a Feature Film award from the New York International Independent Film and Video Festival. In addition he has directed episodes of ABC’s Desperate Housewives and CBS’s 2 Broke Girls.

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By Jacob Porteous

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