MEDIA THEATRE NEWS---We are a professional music theatre company located at The Media Theatre in Media, Pa., only 20 minutes southwest of Center City Philly.
One of Philadelphia's Most Popular Theatres.
WINNER OF BROADWAY WORLD'S 'BEST THEATRE COMPANY OF PHILADELPHIA' (2012, 2013, 2014)
All Broadway Series Productions, Youth Programs, Educational Programs, and Summer Camps are produced by The Media Music Theatre Company (Artistic Director Jesse Cline)
WHO'S WHO IN MEDIA'S SUNSET BOULEVARD: SEAN THOMPSON
This is the second in our special Who’s Who in The
Media Theatre’s production of Sunset Boulevard series. With each of these
features, we meet a cast member who assists director Jesse Cline in bringing
this Tony winning musical to the stage. It is a Philadelphia professional
premiere starring Tony nominee Ann Crumb as Norma Desmond, the silent screen
star aching for a return to motion picture glory. It’s based on Billy Wilder’s
legendary cinematic classic with a memorable score from Andrew Lloyd Webber.
Sean Thompson plays the role of Joe Gillis.
Sean has been seen several times on The Media Theatre stage. Last season he was
one of the four young men in the popular production “Forever Plaid” and was
also seen in “Dr. Dolittle”.
Sean Thompson who portrays the role of Joe Gillis
All in all, Thompson has done nearly 40
professional productions in regional theatres in Pennsylvania, New York,
Kansas, Missouri, California, and the Virginia/ DC area. He has appeared as
Lancelot in Camelot, Curly in Oklahoma, Willy in I Married An Angel, and Cinderella’s Prince in Into The Woods. He has appeared at the Tony winning Signature
Theatre in Arlington, VA where he also performed in Sunset Boulevard as Artie Green.
In The Media Theatre’s production, Thompson is
playing the leading role of Joe Gillis. “He’s the struggling screenwriter whom
Norma Desmond draws close into her own world,” he explained. “He began to crave
money after a bit of success so his creativity—and hence his artistry and
career—began to suffer. So the offer Norma gives him is initially appealing.”
Thompson enjoys playing the role made famous by
William Holden in the 1950 film and sees a similarity between himself and Joe
Gillis. “I, like Joe, attempt to pay my bills and get on in life by practicing
my art as a career,” he said. “That’s a challenging task!”
Of Webber’s take on the film noir classic, he
says, “The score was clearly written with the music of old Hollywood movies in
mind, so it’s grand, sweeping, and quite majestic. Webber is a master at writing
his scores specifically for the world of the show. One thinks of the soaring,
operatic quality of The Phantom of The
Time Magazine actually refers to Webber’s Sunset Boulevard work as his ‘most
artfully constructed score’. “It’s a perfect story for a musical,” Thompson
said. “The psyches are deep, the emotions are high, and the relationships
themselves seem to sing.”
As the world of cinema has transformed itself
over the years, the same has been happening with the world of theatre. Thompson’s
take on it is that “Musical theatre moved away from
the standard 'book' of shows like Oklahoma! and, say, Cabaret.
It was morphed into a sung-through, operetta look-a-like in the 80s and
90s with shows like Miss Saigon and The Phantom of the
Opera. We need to keep in mind that strong books are not only nice
perks to a show, they are essential. As the masterful Stephen Sondheim teaches,
the music must serve the story. The Broadway musical version of the Irish
movie Once has achieved it: a beautiful, touching score
accompanying a touching, well-written, stunning book.”
“This is why Sunset Boulevard works as a musical,” he said. “It’s
got a strong book based on the film with each song moving the story forward as
the narrative flows to its dramatic climax as Norma gets ‘ready for her close
If he had been a silent film star, Thompson
explains that he would have connected with his audiences using his physical
characteristics, of course. “It would have been with my EYES! And with my
facial hair, I think,” he said. “Facial hair on a man says a lot about his
role. Is he a sinister villain with a thin, dark goatee? Or a young hopeful
romantic whose face is bright and clean-shaven?”
Thompson sums it up by saying “Sunset
Boulevard is a unique story. It's a backstage look at the
medium we admire so much: the movies.
It's about what can
happen when fame fades. But it’s fun to behold, as it has fantastic music and
dynamic performers whose portrayals are guaranteed to stick in an audience's
mind for some time to come.”
The show is produced byMedia
Music Theatre Company, the non-profit professional music theatre organization
which produces the Broadway Series of musicals each season at The Media
Theatre. It received Broadway World’s “Best Theatre Company of Philadelphia”
honor in 2012 and 2013.
For tickets toSunset
Boulevard, which runs April 16-May 18, visit mediatheatre.org or call