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When Valley Park put on Sunset Boulevard, the cast had a few extra challenges...
'In Sunset Boulevard I played Norma Desmond,' said Hannah Daly. 'I had a lot of dramatic costume changes throughout the show. Overall, I had seven quick changes to cope with, whereas in previous shows I had a maximum of two! '
'Making sure I was on stage on time and in costume was quite overwhelming, but the audience’s reaction to them was priceless.'
'In the final scene, Norma surprises the audience by pulling out a revolver and shooting Joe three times. The reaction every night was fantastic. I could hear the loud gasps of everyone in the audience, shocked by what's happened.Getting that reaction from each audience in turn made all our hard work worthwhile.'
'We also filmed some other sequences that were shown at key moments of the production. For the scene where Norma takes Joe for a ride to Paramount studios in her old car, we used a real 1950s car and were in full costume.'
'We also used the stage for filming split screen sequences during the car chase. We captured shots of Norma putting on her famous red lipstick, interacting with her butler Max and reading her 'fan' letters. '
'Filming these clips gave me extra insight into my character's motivations.'
'Sunset Boulevard has been one of the best experiences I’ve ever had at my time in school,' said Morgan Brown. 'When we filmed the footage of the car chase scene with the green screen, I remember feeling exhilarated at being in the driving seat of such a beautiful vintage car. It felt as if we were filming for a major movie!'
'But I don’t think anything gave me a bigger thrill than falling into a freezing pool each night! The rush that you get is shocking (and extremely wet!), but when all is said and done, I’m glad that I did it because it helped me get out of my fear of cold water!'
'I’m relieved to know that nobody took it to heart when I soaked the whole right hand side of the audience, but it happened at the best time because it cooled me down after moving around so much on stage!'
'But I'm most thankful for the increased confidence I've gained from playing the lead role. Playing such a complex character in quite a complicated musical was a challenge: I knew I'd find it hard - at first - to understand the story but I worked my way through the script and figured out how Joe would feel and react in each scene and how his relationships with other characters grew or shattered'.
'I’m insanely thankful for the chance I had been given to play the role of Joe Gillis because this is what I love doing; I love being on stage and playing a character and making the audience believe in the story that is being told and seeing if I’m any good at doing that.'
"Max Von Mayerling"
'Prior to production week, a number of scenes had to be filmed both on and off the set to allow continuity of the story for the audience,' explained Kyle Siwek, 'including a scene where Norma and Joe travel to the studio in a car, and a scene filmed on stage where Norma is seen prior to the initial arrival of Joe.'
'The scene with the car was the most interesting to film; it involved the three of us travelling to Biddenden to film with a vintage Rolls Royce. As the musical is set in Southern California, we had to take many shots from specific angles to avoid the oast house from appearing in the background!'
'We also had difficulty filming some of the scenes where I enter the car, as I struggled to get into the seat seamlessly because of my height!'
'The scenes on the stage were much easier to film, although the three of us struggled in some shots as we had only seen the set for the first time the day before filming!'
The Sunset Boulevard Showbook
Cast members were able to obtain a hardback copy of this showbook, which tells the story of Sunset Boulevard with photos taken from the dress rehearsal of the show.