El Dorado News

October 22, 2018
El Dorado News Times

Arts center announces Gary Hall as director for ‘Sunset Boulevard’

This article was published December 3, 2017 at 5:00 a.m.

South Arkansas Arts Center has announced the cast and crew will bring to the stage for the spring season Andrew Lloyd Weber’s musical production of the Hollywood classic, “Sunset Boulevard.”

The play will open on March 2 and run through March 4, with showings also on March 8, 9 and 11. “Sunset Boulevard” is being sponsored by Teague Autogroup and Southern Bancorp.

Directing will be Gary Hall, a seasoned veteran of stage and theater, having previously directed “White Christmas,” “Father of the Bride” and “Damn Yankees,” among others, for the SAAC stage. He has also worked on countless productions at SAAC in varying roles. He has a long list of accomplishments in stage and theater work and has preformed on the SAAC stage in numerous

productions, most recently as Cogsworth in “Beauty and the Beast” and Uncle Fester in “The Addams Family – a New Musical” and in the cast of “Les Mis.” Delaine Gates will serve as his assistant director.

Hall said “Sunset Boulevard” is his favorite movie of all time. To be able to have the chance to direct the Andrew Lloyd Weber musical version of it is a dream for him. Hall said, “This musical is very close, story-wise, to the movie. It shows a scathing view of Hollywood, how older actresses are put out to pasture, so to speak. Norma Desmond is living in the past, unable to move on with the times and living in a fantasy world in her mansion on Sunset Boulevard.

“This musical of Andrew Lloyd Weber’s should have been a logical follow up to his ‘Phantom of the Opera,’ with its jazz based sweeping score. Also, 90 percent of the play is sung, instead of acted,” Hall said.

Based on the Billy Wilder film, the musical version of “Sunset Boulevard” is a tale of faded glory and unfulfilled ambition. Impoverished screenwriter, Joe Gillis, on the run from debt collectors, stumbles into Desmond’s reclusive domain. Persuaded to work on Norma’s “masterpiece,” a film script that she believes will put her back in front of the cameras, he is seduced by her and her luxurious lifestyle. He becomes entrapped in a claustrophobic existence until his love for another woman leads him to try and break free with dramatic consequences.

“Sunset Boulevard” is an “epic show that we are going to make very intimate at the SAAC. I’m excited about the possibilities,” Hall added.

Hall will host a “meet and greet with the director” at the SAAC on Dec. 12. Auditions will be held Jan. 5-6. More information will be forthcoming about the “meet and greet” and auditions.

For more information about “Sunset Boulevard,” call the SAAC office at 870-862-5474 or visit the website at www.saac-arts.org. SAAC is located at 110 E. Fifth St., El Dorado.

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