Reston Community Players Put On the Hollywood Glitz with ‘Sunset Boulevard’, Opening Tomorrow Night

Norma Desmond is waiting for her close-up in Reston Community Players’ sumptuous rendition of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Sunset Boulevard, opening tomororw, February 27, 2015.

Katie McManus.
Katie McManus (Norma Desmond).

Inspired by Billy Wilder’s iconic 1950 film, Webber’s musical version, featuring book and lyrics by Don Black and Christopher Hampton, focuses on the fading career of legendary silent film star Norma Desmond, portrayed by critically acclaimed Washington actress Katie McManus, recently seen in Ford’s Theatre’s Violet, NextStop’s Into the Woods, and Creative Cauldron’s Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris (Helen Hayes nominated for best ensemble). McManus has been honored with numerous WATCH Best Actress nominations for such productions as A New Brain, 110 in the Shade (winner, 2009), Curtains (winner, 2010), and Side Show as well as a Helen Hayes Award for best ensemble (Rent, 2010).

“Playing Norma Desmond is certainly a dream role,” said McManus. “She has beautiful songs to sing, and her story is neurotic, lovely, and heartbreaking. She’s got it all!”

With a career threatened by the advent of the “talkies” and a desperate fear of being discarded by Tinsel Town, Norma is convinced she can make a big Hollywood comeback. With the help of struggling screenwriter Joe Gillis (RCP president and popular local actor and WATCH nominated director Joshua Redford, recently seen in I Love You Because, Curtains, and Forbidden Broadway), Norma starts on a quest to remind Hollywood and the world that she is still big – “it’s the pictures that got small.”

Joshua Redford.
Joshua Redford (Joe Gilis).

Sunset Boulevard is the musical that first got me involved in musical theater,” said Redford. “There aren’t too many dramatic musicals out there and it is a dream come true to be playing this role. The show is a beast musically and technically, but we have an incredibly talented design team that has devised clever means for creating a grand set in the intimate setting of the CenterStage theater.”

Winner of seven Tony Awards, Sunset Boulevard combines the classic movie feel with what TIME magazine calls, “Lloyd Webber’s most artfully constructed score.” The hit musical has engulfed audiences around the world.  Webber’s score includes such poignant, bittersweet romantic songs as “With One Look” and “As If We Never Said Goodbye”.

Director Mark Hidalgo.
Director Mark Hidalgo.

Mark Hidalgo, most recently seen in McLean Community Players’ La Cage aux Folles, RCP’s Legally Blonde, and Arlington Players’ 9 to 5, directs and choreographs. “This is an intimate story told on a grand scale, and one that remains timely today,” Hidalgo said. “It reminds us that everybody struggles with the need to stay relevant, especially in today’s fast moving world.  ”

Elisa Rosman, who recently music directed NextStop’s critically acclaimed Into the Woods, is musical director for Sunset Boulevard. Jennifer Lambert is the producer.

Paul Tonden (Max).
Paul Tonden (Max).

The RCP Sunset Boulevard cast features Katie McManus (Norma Desmond); Joshua Redford (Joe Gillis); Paul Tonden (Max); Katie Depp (Betty); Richard Farella (Artie); Mike Bagwell (Cecil B. DeMille); and Quentin Sagers (Manfred). The Sunset Boulevard ensemble includes Dwayne (DJ) Harney, Danny McKay, Kieth Flores, Sean Cator, Anthony Khong, Jasmine Jones, Cara Giambrone, Blake Green, Sally Kiernan, Grace McCarthy, and Karen Kelleher.

“Working on this production of Sunset Boulevard is very special, as it’s the directorial debut for my dear friend, Mark Hidalgo,” said McManus. “As well, I get to work alongside other wonderful friends, including the producer and my former castmate, Jennifer Lambert; Elisa Rosman, the music director; and Joshua Redford, who plays Joe Gillis.”

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Sunset Boulevard plays from February 27, 2015 through March 21, 2015 at Reston Community Players, performing at CenterStage at the Reston Community Center – 2310 Colts Neck Road, For tickets, call the box office at (703) 476-4500 x 3, or purchase them online

LINKS

She’s Ready for Her Close-Up: Meet Katie McManus, Star of Reston Community Players’ ‘Sunset Boulevard.’

It’s The Pictures That Got Small: Meet Joshua Redford, Star of Reston Community Players’ ‘Sunset Boulevard.’

New Ways to Dream: Meet Paul Tonden, Star of Reston Community Players’ ‘Sunset Boulevard.’