Sunset Boulevard

Starring Sarah Brightman as Norma Desmond, this Tony-winning musical based on the film of the same name is playing Melbourne.
Sarah Ward
Published on May 17, 2024


As a movie, it's a masterpiece. As a stage musical, it's one of the most famous there is. And, returning to Australia for the first time in almost 20 years with Sarah Brightman starring as Norma Desmond, Sunset Boulevard is going to be big.

Andrew Lloyd Webber's Tony-winner, which first took the leap from the screen to the stage in 1993 — and picked up Best Musical, Best Original Score, Best Book of a Musical, and awards for leading actor, leading actress and featured actor for its efforts, among more — is bringing its Hollywood story Down Under again in 2024. The production will kick off its new Aussie run in Melbourne from Tuesday, May 21, debuting at the Princess Theatre.

As Desmond, Brightman will make her global debut in the part, taking on her first theatre role in over three decades. She'll also add to a spectacular career that includes originating the role of Christine in The Phantom of the Opera back in the 80s. Here, she's stepping into a part that saw Gloria Swanson nominated for an Oscar in 1951 and Glenn Close win a Tony in 1995. Debra Byrne played the part in Australia back in 1996, while Nicole Scherzinger of the Pussycat Dolls has done the same in West End.

Simon Fowler

As Billy Wilder's 1950 film first covered in a feature that's been influential not just in inspiring stage adaptations, but on every other movie about Tinseltown since, Sunset Boulevard follows silent star Desmond. With her career getting small with the advent of the talkies, she dreams about making a comeback. The movie famously starts with a man's body floating in a swimming pool, then flashes back to Desmond's time with screenwriter Joe Gillis, her latest attempts to reclaim her success and the events that bring about that watery end.

On the stage, Sunset Boulevard will echo with tunes such as 'With One Look', 'The Perfect Year' and 'As If We Never Said Goodbye' as it tells the above tale.

Ben King

Top image: Ben King.


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