The Phantom of the Opera's Sarah Brightman will star in a new production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Sunset Boulevard, which will premiere in Melbourne in May 2024 at the Princess Theatre followed
by an engagement at the Sydney Opera House in August.
In her first theatrical role in more than three decades, the internationally acclaimed concert artist will head the cast as faded silent screen star Norma Desmond. Additional casting will be announced.
Brightman originated the role of Christine in Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera both in the West End and on Broadway and subsequently appeared in Aspects of Love. Since then, she has become the world’s best-selling soprano, with global sales of 30 million, more than 180 gold and platinum awards in over 40 countries, and over 1 billion streams worldwide.
am so delighted to be returning to Australia after many years, and to
be marking my return to the stage in a musical after so long, it is only
fitting for it to be with such an exquisite production as Sunset Boulevard.
I have always admired Andrew’s work on this musical and I very much
look forward to exploring the incredible score and also the iconic
character of Norma Desmond. 'Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close up!'," Brightman said in a statement.
A London revival, starring Nicole Scherzinger, is currently in previews at the Savoy. Jamie Lloyd directs.
Sunset will be presented in Australia by GWB Entertainment and Opera Australia by arrangement with The Really Useful Group.
Lloyd Webber's Sunset Boulevard (with a book and lyrics by Don Black and Christopher Hampton) is based on the 1950 Billy Wilder movie of the same name, 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, which was directed by the late Billy Wilder. Swanson, Holden, and Wilder all received Academy Award nominations for their work.
Tony and Olivier Award winner Patti LuPone created the role of Norma
Desmond for the musical's world-premiere production in London, earning
an Olivier nomination for her performance. Glenn Close played the role
in Los Angeles and later in New York, where she won a Tony Award for her
work as the aging actor. Other musical Normas include Tony winner Betty Buckley (London
and New York), Olivier winner Elaine Paige (London and New York), Tony winner Diahann Carroll (Canada), Petula Clark
(London and U.S. tour), Debra Byrne (Australia), Helen Schneider
(Germany), and Linda Balgord (U.S. tour). After bringing her Norma to
London, Close starred in the 2017 Broadway revival of Sunset, while Tony winner Stephanie J. Block played Norma in a recent production at the Kennedy Center.