ONE of the all time great musicals arrives in Southampton next week.

The first UK and Ireland tour of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Tony award-winning musical Sunset Boulevard is at Mayflower Theatre from Tuesday to Saturday.

Starring musical theatre favourite Ria Jones as Norma Desmond, the masterpiece is a compelling story of romance and obsession, based on Billy Wilder’s legendary film.

In her mansion on Sunset Boulevard, faded, silent-screen goddess, Norma Desmond, lives in a fantasy world. Impoverished screen writer, Joe Gillis, on the run from debt collectors, stumbles into her reclusive world. Persuaded to work on Norma’s ‘masterpiece’, a film script that she believes will put her back in front of the cameras, he is seduced by her and her luxurious life-style. Joe becomes entrapped in a claustrophobic world until his love for another woman leads him to try and break free with dramatic consequences.

Last year, Ria Jones played the role of Norma Desmond at the London Coliseum when Glenn Close was indisposed, receiving rave reviews and standing ovations for her performance. Her West End credits also include Fantine in Les Misérables, Grizabella in Cats and Florence in Chess. Her touring credits include Alex in The Witches of Eastwick, Mrs Overall in Acorn Antiques – The Musical, Reno Sweeney in Anything Goes and The Narrator in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

Sunset Boulevard has scooped Tony Awards for Best Musical, Best Original Score and Best Book of a Musical.

Its much-loved score includes the title number Sunset Boulevard, With One Look, As If We Never Said Goodbye, The Greatest Star Of All and The Perfect Year and will be performed by a full orchestra.

Director Nikolai Foster is Artistic Director at Curve in Leicester, one of the UK’s leading regional theatres. His work at Curve includes Jonathan Harvey’s Beautiful Thing and Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s, both on tour and in the West End; A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams and the musicals Grease and Legally Blonde. He directed the hugely successful recent productions of Annie starring Craig Revel Horwood and Calamity Jane starring Jodie Prenger.

Tickets are on sale now from 023 8071 1811 or