Dunaway 'will sue' Lloyd Webber

A FURIOUS Faye Dunaway threatened yesterday to sue Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber for closing the Los Angeles production of his musical Sunset Boulevard because he considered that her singing was not good enough.

Miss Dunaway, 53, was to have taken over the lead role of Norma Desmond from Glenn Close, who is preparing to open the show on Broadway in November.

But Sir Andrew announced on Thursday that he would rather close the show than let Miss Dunaway appear. Despite training he felt the actress, who does not have a strong musical background, would be unable to cope with the part.

His production company, the Really Useful Co, said in a statement: 'It was concluded after several weeks of rehearsals and vocal preparation that the musical demands of the role were such that it was not possible for her to perform as scheduled.'

Miss Dunaway and her managers said they were flabbergasted. 'From the moment I learned of (Sir Andrew's) decision, I thought, quite simply, 'this is yet another capricious act by a capricious man',' she said on the set of her new film, Don Juan DeMarco and the Centerfold.

'As to the question of my singing, which has been raised as an issue, from the beginning Mr Lloyd Webber told me he wanted an actress who could sing. . . When I auditioned for Mr Lloyd Webber I sang my range.'

She said that Sir Andrew had cast her in one vocal range, but later tried to push her into a higher one. She added that she would take legal action but declined to specify what the grounds for her claim would be.

Sunset Boulevard received grudging acclaim from British critics who normally dislike Sir Andrew's work. But the show has been dogged with bitterness about who should play the female lead.

The original production, based on Billy Wilder's great 1950 film about the claustrophobic and sinister world of Norma Desmond, a fading silent movie star, opened at the Adelphi Theatre, London and starred Patti LuPone.

She was to have taken the role of Desmond to Broadway. But Sir Andrew terminated her contract after Glenn Close opened in Los Angeles to ecstatic reviews from the American press.

He reportedly paid Miss LuPone about pounds 1m so Miss Close could transfer from Los Angeles to New York in her place.

Miss LuPone said the decision had left her feeling devastated. Sir Andrew said that he had wanted her to go to Broadway, but his American backers had insisted that Glenn Close get the part.

The Los Angeles production has taken more than dollars 25m ( pounds 16m) in ticket sales since opening last December at the Shubert Theatre. Advance sales for the production starring Dunaway had reached dollars 4m, which will now be refunded.

(Photograph omitted)

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
David Silva strokes home his and City's second goal
Arts and Entertainment
a clockwork orange, stanley kubrick
The Tesco Hudl2: An exceptional Android tablet that's powerful, well-built and outstanding value

Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Life and Style
food + drinkAuthor DBC Pierre presents his guide to the morning after
Life and Style
food + drink
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas