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?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Technical Author / Multimedia Writer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This recognized leader in providing software s...

Recruitment Genius: Clinical Lead / RGN

£40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: IT Sales Consultant

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company has a n...

Recruitment Genius: Works Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A works engineer is required in a progressive ...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent