A silent-screen star’s longtime quest for fame clashes with modern Hollywood’s new ways in Sunset Boulevard at 7:30 p.m. Friday (Feb. 7) and 2 p.m. Saturday (Feb. 8) and Sunday (Feb. 9) in the Hult Center’s Soreng Theater.
Show tickets — $23 (adults), $20 (seniors 65+), $16 (college/youth), and $16 each for a group of 5 or more —are available by going to the Radio Redux website (www.radioreduxusa.com), by calling the Hult Center box office (541-682-5000), or by visiting the ticket office in the Hult Center lobby (12-5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 11 a.m.- 3 p.m. Saturday).
“Sunset Boulevard tells a timeless story of the universal desire to be forever young and relevant, even after the parade has passed by,” says Radio Redux founder-director Fred Crafts. “We’re re-creating the Lux Radio Theater’s historic radio adaptation of the 1950 motion picture, which is rated as one of the best films of the 20th Century, gaining 11 Academy Award nominations and winning three.”
Sunset Boulevard centers on a case of mistaken identity that causes a long-forgotten Hollywood silent-screen star, Norma Desmond, to persuade a down-on-his-luck screenwriter to help her craft a script she believes will return her to prominence. Although he finds her script abysmal, he takes the job in order to pad his bank account. But when the arrangement with the suicidal actress becomes untenable, he attempts to leave her, setting in motion a roller-coaster adventure that leads to a surprise ending.
“Radio Redux performs historical radio programs the old-fashioned way, using only vocal prowess, live sound effects, period-appropriate music, minimal sets and vintage costumes — but also with new touches,” says Crafts. “Not only do we provide fascinating sounds to listen to but we also show the audience how we do it. That’s why we say that Radio Redux is ‘radio worth watching.’ ”
Crafts adds, “Podcast and audiobook fans say Radio Redux is like watching a podcast or audiobook production live on stage, able to see in person how sound effects are created.”
Performing in Sunset Boulevard are Rebecca Nachison (as Norma Desmond) Peter van de Graaff (Joe Gillis), Achilles Massahos (Max), Kim Donahey (Betty), Dan Pegoda (Sheldrake) Paul Rhoden (Artie) and Al Villanueva (Lieutenant).
Pre-show and intermission music is by the 1940s-style jazz group The Redux Rhythmaires, comprised of band leader Michael Anderson (guitar), Matt Treder (piano), Dean Livelybrooks (bass), Rob Neidig (drums) and Kirstin Parmeter (vocals).
In addition to an entertaining production suitable for all ages, patrons can experience:
A free, illustrated behind-the-show talk by radio-film historian Patrick Lucanio 60 minutes before show time in the Hult Center’s Soreng Theatre—at 6:30 p.m. Friday and 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
A selfie photo booth where you can take your picture with "Big Fred."
An informal meet-the-cast encounter in the Hult Center lobby after the show.
Radio Redux’s season-ending production is Stagecoach (April 3-5), in which a stagecoach full of frontier misfits rolls in one of the best Westerns ever.