Bayou City Theatrics presents Sunset Boulevard
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical adaptation of the 1950 film Sunset Boulevard receives its first Houston-produced run in Bayou City Theatrics’ innovative, new production. Based heavily on Billy Wilder’s 1950 film of the same name, the musical is set in 1940s Hollywood and centers around an impoverished writer, Joe Gillis (John Watkins), as he struggles to break back into the screenwriting business.
One fateful afternoon, he stumbles across an enormous mansion on Sunset Boulevard. Mistaken for a pet undertaker, the mansion’s manservant, Max (Will Ledesma), ushers the artist inside, where he encounters the lady of the house, Norma Desmond (Edith Maldonado). Norma is an eccentric, aging star of yesteryear. A once-glorified silent film actress, she has been forgotten by her adoring fans as the “talkies” made their way onto the silver screens of America. Upon discovering Joe’s credits as a writer, Norma insists he stay in her home and enlists him to aid her in the completion of a screenplay that will mark her “return” to her beloved Paramount Studios and admiring fans. Seeing this as an easy solution to his financial woes, Joe agrees. As time passes, the mansion’s inhabitants exude such erratic behavior that Joe cannot help but feel a heavy sense of foreboding.
Bayou City Theatrics’ new production of Sunset Boulevard focuses heavily on the smoke and mirrors of the post-Depression Hollywood film industry, the pursuit of artistry and the cost of fame. With a haunting score by Andrew Lloyd Webber, including songs like “With One Look” and “As If We Never Said Goodbye,” and unique lyrics and book by Don Black and Christopher Hampton, this theatrical event is a sure-fire highlight of the Downtown Theatre District’s summer offerings.