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  • HB
  • Aug. 6, 2006
  • John Mauceri and the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra Accompany the Script Reading with Performance of Franz Waxman's Score to the 1950 Billy Wilder Film


    Joe Gillis: You're Norma Desmond. You used to be in silent pictures. You used to be big.

    Norma Desmond: I AM big. It's the PICTURES that got small.

    Big stars, big stage and a big score highlight the dramatic staged reading of Billy Wilder's script to the 1950 film-noir classic Sunset Blvd. on Sunday, August 6 at 7:30 p.m. at the Hollywood Bowl. John Mauceri and the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra perform Franz Waxman's film score as the orchestral backdrop to the one-night only performance. Waxman's score won both the Academy Award and Golden Globe Award. Betty Buckley takes on the role of Norma Desmond made infamous by Gloria Swanson in the Paramount Pictures film; Douglas Sills plays her Joe Gillis (William Holden's role) and Len Cariou is Max von Mayerling (portrayed by Erich von Stroheim). An all-star cast of film, stage and television luminaries round out the remaining characters including James Cromwell, Bruce Davison, Charles Durning, Daisy Egan, Fred Forrest, Ken Howard, Jean Louisa Kelly, Conrad John Schuck, Hal Sparks, and Holland Taylor.

    Tony-winner Peter Hunt directs this ensemble cast and David Rambo adapted the screenplay for the Hollywood Bowl production. Sunset Blvd. relates the story of Joe Gillis, a washed-up screenwriter developing a "comeback" script for an aging and forgotten silent film star, Norma Desmond. Their partnership is doomed from the beginning and ends in murder.

    BETTY BUCKLEY won a Tony Award for her performance as Grizabella, the Glamour Cat, in Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cats. She received her second Tony Award nomination for Best Actress in a musical in the 1997-98 Broadway season for her performance as Hesione in Triumph of Love, and an Olivier Award nomination for her interpretation of Norma Desmond in the London production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Sunset Boulevard. Her other Broadway credits include Gypsy ,Song and Dance , and Carrie (nominated as Best Actress in a Musical by the Outer Critic's Circle). She made her Broadway debut creating the role of Martha Jefferson in the musical 1776. Off-Broadway she most recently starred in The Eros Trilogy, and Juno's Swan and Camino Real. Her film appearances include Carrie, Tender Mercies, Frantic, Another Woman, and Wyatt Earp. Concord Records released her last album in 2002, Stars and the Moon, Betty Buckley Live at the Donmar which received a Grammy nomination. Ms. Buckley does extensive concertizing with her ensemble, and has now completed ten CDs. For over 30 years Ms. Buckley has been a teacher of scene study and song interpretation, giving workshops in Manhattan and various universities and performing arts conservatories. She has been a faculty member in the theatre and music departments of the University of Texas at Arlington, and continues to teach regularly at The Terry Schreiber School in New York City.

    Actor LEN CARIOU is a recipient of the Order of Manitoba and a member of the Theater Hall of Fame. He is known on Broadway for his performances in Applause (Best Actor Tony nomination, Theatre World Award), A Little Night Music (Best Actor Tony nomination), and especially for his legendary Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (Best Actor Tony Award, Drama Desk Award). Cariou is the former Artistic Director of the Manitoba Theatre Center, and he has appeared there in Mr. Roberts, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, The Taming of the Shrew, Cyrano, and Equus, among others. In March of 2005, he will starred at MTC in The Dresser. He is also a former Associate Director of the Guthrie Theatre. His years at the Guthrie and at the Stratford Festival in Canada include the roles of King Lear, Oedipus, Prospero, Iago, Coriolanus, and Petruchio, to name but a few. Feature film credits include: One Man (Genie Award, Best Actor), Secret Window, About Schmidt, Thirteen Days, and A Little Night Music. His voice narration for the documentary film The Jonestown Flood helped the film win an Academy Award. Cariou has also been in many television films, and his many television appearances include recurring roles on Murder She Wrote and Swift Justice, as well as guest star appearances on Law & Order, The Outer Limits, The Practice, West Wing, and Star Trek: Voyager, among others.

    PETER HUNT began his career as a child actor at the Pasadena Playhouse, and went on to study at Hotchkiss, Yale and the Yale School of Drama. His first professional job was at the renowned Williamstown Theatre Festival. Shortly thereafter, he worked for the Hartford Stage Company, Lincoln Center and finally on Broadway. He won the Tony Award as best director for the Broadway musical 1776, and went on to direct it on the West End as well as direct the now classic film version. Subsequent Broadway credits include the musical, Georgy, and the play Scratch by Archibald MacLeish, the hit Broadway musical Goodtime Charlie with Joel Gray and Ann Reinking, followed by two classic one man shows: Give 'em Hell, Harry, and Bully! Hunt also directed the feature films of these two plays with James Whitmore, who was nominated for an Oscar as Best Actor. Hunt has also directed extensively Off-Broadway, in Regional Theatres and Abroad. Since 1958 when he joined the Williamstown Theatre Festival, he has contributed to over two hundred productions as actor, designer, director, and ultimately Artistic Director from 1989 to 1995. During that time, he produced more than sixty plays. Most recently on Broadway he directed the musical, The Scarlet Pimpernel. At present Hunt is preparing three new musicals for the New York Stage. In addition to his Tony Award, Hunt's work has earned him the New York Drama Critics Award, London Critics Award, Christopher Award, Edgar Award, two Peabody Awards, a Cable Ace Award, and an Emmy nomination.

    JOHN MAUCERI's accomplishments extend nationally and internationally, not only to the world's greatest opera companies and symphony orchestras, but also to the musical stages of Broadway and Hollywood, before large television and radio audiences, and in recording studios and major publications. Mauceri has received substantial recognition for his work as one of the principal forces behind the movement to preserve two of America's great art forms, the American musical and music for the American cinema. He is equally at home conducting artists ranging from Plácido Domingo (during a live broadcast of the Grammy Awards) to Madonna (with whom he recorded the soundtrack to Andrew Lloyd Webber's Evita), from Garth Brooks (an inaugural inductee into the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame) to the Smashing Pumpkins (for the 1996 MTV Music Awards). Carol Burnett, Chicago, John Denver, Rodney Gilfry, Jonathan Pryce, Jane Eaglen, Jennifer Larmore, Patrick Stewart, Tito Puente, Charlotte Church, and Trisha Yearwood are among the multitude of artists who have performed with Mauceri and the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. Mauceri and the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra have presented an astonishing number of premieres, and during his year tenure, opera and ballet along with the staging of Broadway musicals returned to the Bowl's stage. In addition to his Hollywood Bowl position as Director, Mauceri was recently elected as Chancellor of the North Carolina School of the Arts and has served as music director for the Pittsburgh Opera since June 2000. The 2006 Hollywood Bowl season marks Mauceri's 16th year and final season with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, which was created for him by the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 1991.

    DOUGLAS SILLS was born in Detroit, Michigan and grew up in the suburb of Franklin, where he was friends (and did amateur theatrics and films) with both Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell. Sills attended Cranbrook School, from which he graduated in 1978, and the University of Michigan where he majored in music, continuing on at the American Conservatory Theatre in California. During the 1990s Sills built a solid reputation as a stage character actor, especially in the professional theaters of southern California. He also performed in several national tours, including Into The Woods. His first Broadway role, however, came when composer Frank Wildhorn and lyricist Nan Knighton arrived in hopes of finding a male lead for their new musical, The Scarlet Pimpernel. Pondering life as a lawyer instead, Sills decided to give acting one more chance. Luckily, the casting directors cast Sills as Sir Percy Blakeney, the lead role. Douglas Sills opened on his first Broadway show on November 9, 1997. Continuing the role in three other versions of the show, Sills received a Tony Award nomination for his role. He also played Orin Scrivello the dentist as well as several other roles in the 2003 Broadway revival cast of Little Shop of Horrors.

    One of the largest natural amphitheaters in the world, with a seating capacity of nearly 18,000, the HOLLYWOOD BOWL has been the summer home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic since its official opening in 1922, and in 1991 gave its name to the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, a resident ensemble that has filled a special niche in the musical life of Southern California. The 2004 season introduced audiences to a revitalized Hollywood Bowl, featuring a newly-constructed shell and stage and the addition of four stadium screens enhancing stage views in the venue. To this day, $1 buys a seat at the top of the Bowl for many of the Los Angeles Philharmonic's concerts. While the Bowl is best known for its sizzling summer nights, during the day California's youngest patrons enjoy "SummerSounds: Music for Kids at the Hollywood Bowl," the Southland's most popular summer arts festival for children, now in its 38th season. Attendance figures over the past several decades have soared: in 1980 the Bowl first topped the half-million mark and close to one million admissions have been recorded. In February 2006, the Hollywood Bowl was named Best Major Outdoor Concert Venue for the second year in a row at the 17th Annual Pollstar Concert Industry Awards; the Bowl's summer music festival has become as much a part of a Southern California summer as beaches and barbecues, the Dodgers, and Disneyland.



    HOLLYWOOD BOWL, 2301 N. Highland Ave. in Hollywood

    Sunset Blvd.

    Hollywood Bowl Orchestra

    John Mauceri, conductor

    Peter Hunt, director

    Alan Johnson, Choreographer

    David Rambo, Script Adaptation

    Maggie Morgan, Costume Designer

    Tom Ruzika, Lighting Designer

    John Iacovelli, Set Designer

    Meredith Greenburg, Stage Manager


    Norma Desmond Betty Buckley
    Joe Gillis Douglas Sills
    Max von Mayerling Len Cariou
    Betty Schaefer Jean Louisa Kelly
    Artie Green Hal Sparks
    Cecil B. DeMille Conrad John Schuck
    First AD Tom McGowan
    Repo Man Ken Howard
    LA Captain Charles Durning
    BH Captain Fred Forrest
    Sheldrake James Cromwell
    Morino Bruce Davison
    Jonsey Ted Heyck
    Guard Tom Costello
    Connie Daisy Egan
    Hog Eye Alan Johnson
    Cop with Newsreels    J. Todd Adams
    Hedda Hopper Holland Taylor

    Tickets ($5 - $111) are on sale now at the Hollywood Bowl Box Office, by calling Ticketmaster at 213.480.3232, at all Ticketmaster outlets (Robinsons May, Tower Records, and Ritmo Latino locations), or online at Groups of 12 or more may be eligible for a 20% discount, subject to availability; call 323.850-2050 for further details. For general information or to request a brochure, call 323.850.2000.

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  • Contact:

    Sabrina Skacan, 213.972.3408; Photos, 213.972.3034