The Kennedy Center production of Andrew Lloyd Webber, Don Black, and Christopher Hampton's Sunset Boulevard—starring Tony winner Stephanie J. Block as faded silent-screen star Norma Desmond—ends its limited engagement February 8. The production, part of the Broadway Center Stage series, began performances February 1 at the D.C. venue's Eisenhower Theater.
Joining Block are Derek Klena (Jagged Little Pill, Moulin Rouge!) as Joe Gillis, Auli'i Cravalho (Moana) as Betty Schaefer, and opera star Nathan Gunn as Max von Mayerling.
The cast also features Michael Maliakel (Aladdin) as Artie Green, Kevin Pariseau (My Fair Lady, Ink) as Sheldrake, Tyley Ross (Finding Neverland, Miss Saigon) as Manfred, and Paul Schoeffler (Sunset Boulevard, Rock of Ages) as Cecil B. DeMille. The ensemble includes David André, Lauren Blackman, Julio Catano-Yee, Colin Cunliffe, Haile Ferrier, Emily Harvey, Wonza Johnson, Aubrie Knapp, Ryland Marbutt, Lance Roberts, Maria Cristina Posada Slye, and Kristin Yancy.
The artists are backed by the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra.
Sammi Cannold (Evita at New York City Center) is at the helm of the new production, leading a creative team that includes choreographer Emily Maltby (For You, Paige: A TikTok Musical) and music director Ben Cohn (Dear Evan Hansen). Tyrone L. Robinson serves as associate director.
Sunset Boulevard also features scenic and projection design by Paul Tate dePoo III, costume design by Alejo Vietti, lighting design by Cory Pattak, sound design by Kai Harada and Haley Parcher, and hair and wig design by Tom Watson. Tyrone L. Robinson is the associate director, Emily Stillings is the associate choreographer, and Garret Healey is the associate music director. Casting is by JZ Casting.
"Our young team is especially thankful to be entrusted with bringing Andrew Lloyd Webber, Don Black, and Christopher Hampton’s classic piece to the next generation of theatregoers, in particular, from a new, female-driven perspective," said Cannold in an earlier statement, previewing her take on the musical.
Based on the 1950 Billy Wilder film of the same name, Sunset Boulevard centers on Norma Desmond, a faded star of the silent cinema planning a triumphant comeback when she meets struggling writer Joe Gillis. Lloyd Webber's musical adaptation, which premiered in London's West End in 1993, includes such favorites as "With One Look," "As If We Never Said Goodbye," and "Perfect Year." The musical has featured a string of legendary stage talents as Norma Desmond over the years, including Patti LuPone, Betty Buckley, Glenn Close, Elaine Paige, Diahann Carroll, and more.