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  Sunset Boulevard at Ruth Page Center For Arts

Sunset Boulevard

Ruth Page Center For Arts
1016 N. Dearborn Pkwy Chicago

In her mansion on Sunset Boulevard, faded, silent-screen goddess, Norma Desmond, lives in a fantasy world. When impoverished screenwriter Joe Gillis, on the run from debt collectors, stumbles into her reclusive domain he is persuaded to work on Norma's "masterpiece," a screenplay that she believes will put her back in front of the cameras. Seduced by Norma and her luxurious lifestyle, he finds himself trapped in her clutches until his love for another woman leads him to try and break free with shattering consequences. This Tony Award-winning masterpiece of obsession, romance and the Golden Age of Hollywood stars one of Chicago Theatre's most celebrated leading ladies: Hollis Resnik, making her Porchlight Music Theatre Mainstage debut.

Thru - Dec 8, 2019



Price: $39-$66

Show Type: Musical

Box Office: 312-337-6453

Running Time: 2hrs, 15mins; one intermission

www.porchlightmusictheatre.org


Ruth Page Center For Arts Seating Chart


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  Sunset Boulevard Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Recommended

"...Michael Weber, the director, has built his marquee fall production around his star, even giving her the safety net of two of Chicago's most generous baritones, Larry Adams, who plays the house-servant Max Von Meyerling, and David Girolmo, who plays Cecil B. DeMille. Adams, a formidable singer who has the bigger of the two roles, shrewdly removes most of the usual bombastic camp from this Germanic enabler and focuses on his own, much quieter vulnerability. Adams' Max is a man who loves hard, and the result is a very touching interpretation of a tender relationship that often is lost amidst all the gilt and gilded grandeur. You will, I think, be very moved by the two of them."
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Chris Jones


Chicago Sun Times - Highly Recommended

"...Joe Gillis understands that dreams always come with hidden dragons, especially in an industry built on monetizing dreams for mass-production. "Sunset Boulevard" peels back the curtain on the dream factory. It isn't pretty. But then as "Sunset Boulevard" so brutally shows, prioritizing prettiness can lead down a dark path."
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Catey Sullivan


Chicago Reader - Recommended

"...Director Michael Weber's production is bolstered by atmospheric visual design by Jeffrey D. Kmiec (sets), Maggie Fullilove-Nugent (lights), and Anthony Churchill (projections), evoking a fittingly macabre tone for the story's gothic climax. Lloyd Webber's schlocky score is set to a libretto by Don Black and Christopher Hampton, whose best lines are lifted straight from the original movie."
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Albert Williams


Windy City Times - Highly Recommended

"...Porchlight's Sunset Boulevard is just right; a musically lush yet perverse take on Hollywood, as it must be, based on Billy Wilder's deservedly-famous 1950 cinema noir. It must flow like the movie, too, which is tricky on a stage lacking wings or a fly loft, but director Michael Weber and his designers meet the challenge. The show looks grand and moves fluidly, thanks to Jeffrey D. Kmiec's wide, angled set and Maggie Fullilove-Nugent's lighting."
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Jonathan Abarbanel


Chicago On the Aisle - Somewhat Recommended

"...The show has issues as a musical, too. The generally inane lyrics would make Stephen Sondheim’s skin crawl – the very sensation the music itself often excited in me. Well, at least there was that much excitement."
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Lawrence B. Johnson


Stage and Cinema - Highly Recommended

"...Billy Rude makes a handsome, adept Joe, his pessimism balanced against his youthful ambition. It's a tricky role: By the end he's thrown away all self-respect and almost courts the tabloid ending that begins the musical. As Norma's ex-husband/director Max, the arch protector who will not allow "the greatest star of all" to "surrender," Chicago favorite Larry Adams combines a glorious basso profundo with a magisterial depiction of dogged devotion. Michelle Lauto radiates perfect perkiness as Joe's more suitable sweetheart. David Girolmo makes a dignified and wonderfully compassionate Cecil B. DeMille. Bill Morey's costumes are all the right relics."
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Lawrence Bommer


Let's Play at ChicagoNow - Recommended

"...Sunset Boulevard is a poignant story regarding how women are viewed in Hollywood once they reach a certain age and how manipulation is a recipe for dialing M for murder."
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Rick and Brenda McCain


Around The Town Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...For the most part , "Sunset Boulevard" needs a large venue to be done effectively. Marriott Theatre's production on a somewhat bare stage and in the round was somewhat effective and now Porchlight with its smaller stage and a far more intimate space (The Ruth Page Center For The Arts) , under the direction of Michael Weber has pulled it off. Part of why this production works is the actors that have been cast in the major roles and the energetic ensemble that Porchlight attracts (and often finds)."
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Alan Bresloff


NewCity Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...The biggest reason to see "Sunset Boulevard" is to bask in the glow of the Norma Desmond of the evening. If you don't have a Norma, you don't program this show. Chicago favorite Hollis Resnik is the revelation we all expected her to be in this role from the moment Porchlight announced the casting. Resnick's Norma tiptoes across a tightrope strung between infantilized fragility and uncompromising strength. With this character there is always a question of just how much whack-a-doodle needs to be tossed into the cauldron to be both respectful of the tale's genesis and honest in the telling. Weber and Resnick get the recipe just right."
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Aaron Hunt


WTTW - Highly Recommended

"...Aaron Benham's musical direction (and his orchestra of seven), is superb, as is the show's large ensemble of supporting actors. And Jeffrey D. Kmiec (unquestionably the hardest working set designer in Chicago) has crafted everything from a gilded staircase, to Paramount Pictures' front gate, to Schwabs' Pharmacy and soda fountain (the popular hangout for young Hollywood dreamers), while Bill Morey's costumes suggest both the glamor and the struggle in America's often cruel dream capital."
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Hedy Weiss


Chicago Theatre Review - Highly Recommended

"...Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musicalized version of Wilder’s scathing look at Hollywood in the early 1950’s isn’t an easy show to produce. But Michael Weber’s remarkably polished, skillfully acted and sensationally sung production is more than ready for its closeup. With one look, audiences will recognize a stylish, laudable production that will be on everyone’s lips for years to come. If you miss this production you’ll regret not experiencing what may be one of Chicago’s finest musicals of the perfect year."
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Colin Douglas


Chicagoland Theater Reviews - Recommended

"...The Porchlight production deserves an A for effort, and Hollis Resnik alone is worth a visit to the show. We may never seen her, at age 62, in such a vocally rich and dramatically complex role again. "Sunset Boulevard" is no musical theater masterpiece but it does provide a forum for a career-topping performance."
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Dan Zeff


Buzznews.net - Recommended

"...Those with an affinity for ‘Sunset Boulevard’ or missed Glenn Close on Broadway last year will be delighted by Porchlight’s faithful production. With an extension of the run announced before the opening, Porchlight proves that Hollis Reznik packs houses as the headliner. A Broadway tour can book a star to play Norma, but director Michael Weber shows us that our local Chicago theaters can do just as well if not better than any corporate-flavored national tour."
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John Accrocco


The Fourth Walsh - Recommended

"...Still, Porchlight's SUNSET BOULEVARD is pretty solid. Resnik is a Norma worth experiencing. This world's waited long enough. Resnick has come home at last!"
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Katy Walsh


Chicagoland Musical Theatre - Recommended

"...In sum, there’s much to appreciate and bring out of Sunset Boulevard while understanding how it marked the end of the Pax Lloyd Webberica on Broadway. But like any Lloyd Webber show, when all the parts onstage and off are in place, once it gets going, it can’t stop. Not that you’d want it to stop, not with Resnik at its center, not until her strange Hollywood fantasy has enveloped everyone."
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Parrick O'Brien


Chicago Theater and Arts - Highly Recommended

"...Fine acting by an excellent cast plus Bill Morey's costumes for Desmond and Max place the production in the "must see" category."
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Jodie Jacobs


Chicago On Stage - Highly Recommended

"...Hollywood has never been very nice to “actresses of a certain age.” Movies have always been a medium that admires youth, and though no one has ever had much of a problem with older men, it is only in recent years that older women have been viewed as potentially bankable stars. For most of the first century of film, once you were past forty you were a has-been. Theatre has a history of being a bit more forgiving with shows like Gypsy, Mame, Hello Dolly, etc., but the reality is that acting remains a game that is weighted heavily in favor of the young, especially for women. Sunset Boulevard, designed to provide a showcase for someone who is no longer an ingenue, is (like those other musicals) a brilliant opportunity for an actress who can seize it. Hollis Resnik is one such actress. I can’t claim that Norma Desmond is the role of her life when she has played so many memorable parts, but her performance here is absolutely unmissable."
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Karen Topham


PicksInSix - Highly Recommended

"...Making his main stage debut, Rude is flat-out terrific in the role of Gillis. Lauto's stunning vocals are a highlight and match perfectly with Rude's, and their star-crossed love story feels moving and real. Adams delivers a rich and memorable performance as Max. David Girolmo stands out as Cecil B. DeMille, and the ensemble bustles with youthful enthusiasm and talent-making Porchlight's "Sunset Boulevard" the show to see on-stage in Chicago. "
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Ed Tracy


TotalTheater - Highly Recommended

"...For an abundance of audience memories, however, you need only look to Chicago's beloved diva Hollis Resnick, whose career may have spanned realms far and wide, but who never abandoned her fans at home, and whose vocal chops and verbal acumen in her—ahem! maturity show no sign of abating. Regional musical veterans Larry Adams and David Girolmo likewise lend baritonal gravity to the roles of the two gallant protectors."
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Mary Shen Barnidge


Picture This Post - Highly Recommended

"...Porchlight's intimate SUNSET BOULEVARD is nonetheless a highly satisfying take on a show that originated as a grand spectacle. While the score may be short on toe-tapping numbers, Resnik's mature vocal power and the fine ensemble that surrounds her makes it a moving night of theater."
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Susan Lieberman


Rescripted - Highly Recommended

"...Sunset Boulevard, the famous film turned musical sensation, places the Golden Age of cinema on the stage. This Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, with lyrics and book by Don Black and Christopher Hampton, adapts the film by Billy Wilder into a stirring operetta. This production in particular left me humming the dramatic themes on my way back to the train. Directed by Artistic Director Michael Weber, Porchlight Music Theatre's Sunset Boulevard features stunning design, an incredibly skilled cast, and a muddled narrative that loses the most memorable line from the film during the final moments of the musical."
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Sierra Carlson


  Sunset Boulevard Photo Gallery

   This show has been Jeff Recommended*

*The designation of "Jeff Recommended" is given to a production when at least ONE ELEMENT of the show was deemed outstanding by the Joseph Jefferson Awards Committee.


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