Andrew Lloyd Webber's Sunset Boulevard, based on the 1950 Billy Wilder film, is the darkly compelling story of Norma Desmond, a faded, deluded Hollywood star, and Joe Gillis, an unemployed screenwriter looking to take advantage of the old lady's madness. It's an engrossing and sadly familiar tale of fame turning to insanity, and the Pioneer Theatre Company production, directed by John Going, brings the story to life with quality performances, spectacular sets and lavish costumes.
Like Webber's Phantom of the Opera, Sunset Boulevard is a story of misaligned, predatory sexuality, insanity and murder. Sunset Boulevard is a bit less spectacular than its more popular sibling, but its plot is compelling and sadly relevant in an era when so many Hollywood stars seem to be destroyed by fame.
Photo: Benjamin Eakeley as Joe Gillis and Lynne Wintersteller as Norma Desmond, with Martin Vidnovic as Max von Mayerling. By Alexander Weisman.