The Media Theatre presents the Tony winning musical Sunset Boulevard April 16-May 18, Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber’s magnificent take on Billy Wilder’s legendary film focusing on the silent film star Norma Desmond as she hopes for a return to screen glory during the advent of the talkies.
Tony nominee Ann Crumb plays Norma Desmond in director Jesse Cline’s production. She is joined by a stellar cast. This Who’s Who series will place the spotlight on several of the other cast members in the show which runs April 16-May 18. The musical is brought to The Media Theatre stage by Media Music Theatre Company.
The role of Max- Norma Desmond’s butler, protector, and enabler of her delusional world-is played by Broadway veteran Nicholas Saverine. He was seen on The Great White Way in two of the world’s most popular musicals: Les Miserables and The Phantom of The Opera. He has a long relationship with Les Miz, having also appeared in its National Tour. Other National Tours he has performed include Pirates of Penzance, The Student Prince, and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Internationally he toured in Phantom and Dance of The Vampire.
At regional theatres across the USA, Saverine’s long list of credits includes Man of La Mancha, Footloose, Children of Eden, The Most Happy Fella, The Music Man, and the Yeston & Kopit version of Phantom to name a few. His silky tenor has been delighting audiences of opera as well in titles such as La Boheme, Madame Butterfly, Maria Stuarda, and the American premieres of Die Soldaten and Ivanhoe in Boston. He premiered Nixon in China throughout Europe, while local audiences have seen him previously at The Media Theatre in Oliver! and in productions at every major venue in Philadelphia as well as with The Philly Pops.
Of the role of Max, Saverine says “Max is very devoted to Norma Desmond, almost to a fault. She has relied on him repeatedly over the years, until she depends on him for everything.”
Saverine has a long relationship with Lloyd Webber productions. “This is one of only two of his musicals based on a movie,” he explained. “Phantom of the Opera is based partly on the Lon Chaney silent film. Sunset Boulevard is also his most cinematic score. It’s extremely dramatic, with relationships that are very operatic in nature. The situations are so grand they demand more then just dialogue to relay themselves.”
As a teacher of voice for the Music Theatre Track of Rowan University’s theatre department, Saverine discusses his take on the world of music theatre in today’s fast-paced society as opposed to decades earlier. “The fusion of the elements—story telling, music, and dance—has become inseparable,” he says. “The songs and dances are integral to the story and not just superfluous pieces to ‘take up space’. More and more musicals are being through-composed, with little or no dialogue.”
He also mentioned the advances in technology. “Technically, productions have exploded!” he said. “They work to create more special effects. All of this is awesome but we must never lose the ability to tell the story. The meat of a piece should be as clear and powerful on a bare stage as with big budget production values.”
He feels the revival of Sunset Boulevard at The Media Theatre is a must-see. “Audiences should see this not only because it is a fantastic production but because the primary focus is placed on the performers in telling the story,” Saverine stated. “Our director, Jesse Cline, has wrung every drop of drama and emotion from the score, capturing the atmosphere of the original film. If you know the film or not you will be captivated by the story of these driven and passionate characters.”
To get tickets or to find out more regarding The Media Theatre’s Sunset Boulevard (April 16-May 18), call 610-891-0100 or visit mediatheatre.org