BY BILLY SUTER
WHILE South African musical theatre fans look forward to the revival of Evita in Johannesburg and Cape Town soon, news is out that a film version of another Andrew Lloyd Webber, success, Sunset Boulevard, is in the pipeline.
Paramount Pictures is developing a film adaptation of the musical which, originally inspired by the 1950 Billy Wilder film of the same name, features a book and lyrics by Don Black and Christopher Hampton, and music by Lloyd Webber.
Great news is that Glenn Close is in line to reprise her lead performance from the stage.
Playbill quotes The Wrap as stating that Close, the winner of a Tony Award in 1995 for her performance as Norma Desmond, and who returned to the role in the 2017 revival, is in advanced talks for the movie.
The show centres on Desmond, a fading star of Hollywood’s silent era, who wallows in the past in her decaying mansion, then finds an opportunity to revive her career when she befriends a young screenwriter.
Reports are that the film could begin shooting as early as January 2018, although neither further casting nor director have been named yet.
Getting back to Evita… new promo photos have been released for the upcoming South African production and it looks very promising indeed.
The show will run at The Teatro at Montecasino from October 14 to November 26, then at Cape Town’s Artscape Opera from December 1 to January 7.
This production, presented by Pieter Toerien and David Ian, will be the original Broadway and West End version of the musical and will star the exciting Emma Kingston as Eva Perón, Robert Finlayson as Juan Perón, Jonathan Roxmouth as Che Guevera and Isabella Jane as Mistress.
Anton Luitingh, who is resident director for the South African production, will appear as Magaldi.
Kingston, seen in On the Heights and in London’s West End as Eponine in Les Miserables, has been personally chosen by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Tim Rice and Hal Prince to play Eva Perón.
The ensemble cast includes Thabiso Maemene, Mark Richardson, Mike Huff, Adam Pelkowitz, Keaton Ditchfield, Earl Gregory, Carlo McFarlane, Danielle Bitton, Beverley Chiat, Cindy-Ann Abraham, LJ Nielson (Alternate Eva), Darren Greef, Kent Jaycocke, Richard Gau, Hope Maimane, JD Engelbrecht, Ivan Boonzaaier, Tamryn van Houten, Kiruna-Lind Devar, Ambre Chanel Fulton, Stefania du Toit, Hayley Henry, Trevor Scoonraad and Ruby Burton.
The musical follows the rags-to-riches rise of the First Lady of Argentina, who won the love of her countrymen after marrying military leader-turned-president Juan Peron.
Set in Buenos Aires between 1934 and 1952, the musical follows Eva Duarte Perón on her passionate and tragic journey, from humble beginnings as a fatherless child to ambitious actress to the most powerful woman in Latin America – and, eventually, to a saint-like figure after her death from cancer at age 33.
With more than 20 major awards to its credit, and an Oscar-winning film version starring Madonna and Antonio Banderas, Evita features some of the best-loved songs in musical theatre, including Don’t Cry For Me Argentina, On This Night of a Thousand Stars, Oh What a Circus, High Flying, Adored and Another Suitcase in Another Hall, together with You Must Love Me, the Oscar-winning hit from the film.
The show will be choreographed by the original West End and Broadway choreographer, Larry Fuller, and will be designed by original designer Timothy O’Brien. Duane Alexander is the South African resident choreographer.
Tickets for the Johannesburg performances range in price from R150 to R500, while those in Cape Town are priced from R100 to R485.