This May, Sunset Boulevard has its Australasian non-professional premiere at The National Theatre in St Kilda Victoria, Melbourne, Australia.
CLOC Musical Theatre’s forthcoming production of Sunset will be the first fully staged Australian production since 1996, when then-rising star Hugh Jackman played the lead role of Joe Gillis, opposite Debra Byrne as Norma Desmond.
CLOC Musical Theatre has a well earned reputation as Australia’s pre-eminent community musical theatre company. Established in Melbourne in 1964, CLOC has since produced shows covering the entire gamut of music theatre and has won over 100 awards for excellence, including being awarded the highly coveted Production of the Year eight times.
CLOC’s Norma Desmond is Maureen Andrew, a professional actress with over 40 years’ experience in every facet of entertainment, from TV (with several stints in Neighbours), radio, film, dramatic and musical theatre, including roles in Billy Elliot, The Boy from Oz (coincidentally with Hugh Jackman), Saturday Night Fever, Grease and Cabaret.
Sunset Boulevard is a show as famous for its technical complexity as its dramatic storyline. CLOC’s production team (led by President Grant Alley) have been working full-time for three months to construct faded movie star Norma Desmond’s grand and opulent mansion, as well as recreating other well known Hollywood icons, including Schwab’s Drug Store, Paramount Studios and the instantly recognizable Paramount Pictures gates. Then Set Designer/Head Scenic Artist Brenton Staples and his team work their magic on the huge set frames, backdrops, furniture, and pieces, including Norma’s much admired and rare Isotta Franchini car, which has been made and painted as a two dimensional cut out looking for all intents and purposes like a real three dimensional motor vehicle.
While the set design and construction has been going ahead full steam, CLOC’s costume department has been busy designing, sewing and fitting the cast of 26 with more than 250 costumes, recreating Hollywood of 1950. Ensuring authenticity has been the focus of the costume team, a dedicated group of 12 women who meet every Saturday to bring to life the creations of costume designer Nerissa Saville. Although the show is set in 1950, Nerissa is quick to point out that Norma Desmond is still living in her past glory of the silent movie era of the early 1920s, which will be emphasized through Norma’s 11 elaborately layered, furred and sequinned costumes, requiring two full-time dressers and a wig person in the theatre to manage the many lightning quick changes.
View images of the CLOC team in action ahead of Sunset Boulevard‘s Australasian non-professional premiere below:
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