Abington Senior High School in cooperation with Rodgers & Hammerstein Theatricals presents a scintillating theatrical adaptation of Sunset Boulevard March 6 to 8.
The film is considered one of the 100 best American films of the 20th century. However, Billy Wilder’s 1950s classic is no small hurdle. As a scathing satire of Hollywood, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Sunset Boulevard demands flawless performances, complicated set designs, and intellectually-engaged audiences. As a point of pride, Abington Senior High School is currently the only high school in the entire nation putting on this production.
Sunset Boulevard is the story centered around two main characters, Norma Desmond and Joe Gillis. Norma at one point was the “greatest star of all,” but it has been many years since her pinnacle of fame. Through serendipity, she runs into Joe, an out-of-luck Hollywood writer who is looking for work. Norma and Joe’s relationship takes an obsessive dark turn as Joe tries to balance the real world of Hollywood with the delusional reality Norma lives.
“Many consider this movie to be one of the greatest of all times,” Tim Myers, co-director, said. “It deals specifically with the quest for fame and how we deal with that fame, and the futility of trying to hold on to fame once it has passed us by.”
The drama features music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, one of the premiere musical theatre writers. While heavily featuring four main singing leads, Sunset features more than 40 individuals singing solo lines. More than other shows, this ensemble cannot hide in the background.
“Along with Nancy Voigt (pit conductor) and Miriam Giguere (choreographer), the three of us are constantly trying to challenge and grow the theater department at Abington by doing different kinds of shows, “ Myers added.
Kristen Caiazzo, Spring Musical co-director, and Paul Auh, manager, steer a talented cast headlined by Sabrina Farmer and Sophia Fallas as the main character, Norma. Farmer’s and Fallas’s versatility creates both empathy for Norma, a “has been” who cannot come to grips with her station in life, and fear of her psychosis. James Evans and Jim Lennon as Joe Gillis bring the jaded cynical outlook of someone who has been beaten up by Hollywood both in his vocals and his acting. Betty Schaffer, played by Emma Morris and Hannah Stern, portrays a young, hopeful woman who seemingly has the world before her. Finally, Pat Zanetti and Dan Wells bring a steady and calming presence for Max, Norma’s servant.