The Arts

Theatre Alliance looks back with Sunset Boulevard


Growing old is a difficult truth that we all face. With a negative attitude, aging is coupled with the observation that our better days are behind us, and that the youth of today are rendering us obsolete. Times change fast and keeping up can be exhausting. But we can still reminisce and dream, can’t we?

In the musical Sunset Boulevard, which Theatre Alliance presents this week, the process of aging (and letting go) is examined by highlighting a silent film star who has been replaced by the new “talkies.” Her glory has all but faded (except in her mind) and she soon meets a struggling screenwriter who allows her to dream.

“For anyone who doesn’t know this musical, I think they will be taken aback by the gorgeous music and the level of emotion portrayed,” said Craig Faircloth, who plays as a down-on-his-luck writer. “Not many shows have multiple showstopper songs; this one has at least four. I look forward to being able to help bring this experience to the Theatre Alliance.”

Faircloth, who barely gets to leave the stage in his demanding role, added that this play has been on his bucket list because of its complexity and relatable nature.

“The show highlights the challenge that we all face dealing with growing older,” he said. “The ‘loss’ of our youth is very compelling, especially in this day of trying to achieve perpetual youth. I think the show has a great lesson about embracing each era of your life and making the best of it.”

Starring as the fading silent film star herself is Charlene Cole. “Playing Norma Desmond is a dream role for most any actor,” Cole said. “Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would ever have this opportunity, and I am more than honored to take on the challenge.”

The 1995 Tony Award-winner for Best Musical is based on the classic 1950 American film noir. Overall, director Jamie Lawson said the production is well written and beautifully complemented with a musical score that makes for an inspiring evening.

“Andrew Lloyd Weber’s gorgeous score matches this unique story magnificently and, together, they create a perfect theatrical storm,” Lawson said.

Wanna go? Sunset Boulevard runs Thursday through Sunday at Theatre Alliance, 1047 Northwest Blvd, Winston-Salem. Tickets are $18; $16 for students. For tickets and more information call Brown Paper Tickets at (800) 838-3006 or visit