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Nicole Scherzinger addresses Sunset Boulevard rumors, including Cast Recording and Broadway transfer with Michael Ball in BBC Interview
Dec 16 2023

Michael is also joined by ex-Pussycat Dolls singer and actress, Nicole Scherzinger, who is currently wowing audiences in London’s West End playing the iconic role of Norma Desmond in “Sunset Boulevard”.


Michael Ball: My first guest on what we’re rightly calling superstar Sunday. As a member of The Pussycat Dolls, she shot to worldwide fame selling millions of records, award winning, singer, songwriter, actress, dancer X Factor Judge. Of course, there’s nothing she can’t do. And right now she’s setting London’s West End on fire playing Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard. And I hope she’s ready for a close up. Nicole Scherzinger. What a joy to welcome. I’m sorry, the studio is a little bit cold.

Nicole Scherzinger: No, it’s, it’s warmer than my theater. It’s lovely.

Michael: Yeah, I came to see it on Wednesday (November 22) and I, and I’m not blowing smoke. I genuinely mean this, it was one of the best theatrical experiences I’ve had now. I know this show incredibly well. And I’ve never seen it done like this. I’ve never seen a performance like yours. Congratulations. And how you’ve dragged yourself in here after doing, did you do it twice yesterday?

Nicole: I did it twice yesterday.

Michael: How, how is it going for you?

Nicole: I am so exhausted, Michael. But at the same time I’ve never been more fulfilled because I just, I’m living my dream. I’m back where I was born to be on the stage, we both share that same love and passion. So it’s it is, it’s intense though. I’ve never worked so hard in my life.

Michael: And I have to say your voice, I’ve never heard it sound better. The sound that they have in the theater is the best theater sound I’ve ever heard because you’ve got those big, the orchestra strand sound amazing. Kudos to everybody. You’ve got those big belty things. You hold a note for about a week, but then you can bring it right down and every word is there and it makes your performance so nuanced and so pulls us right in. I’m not giving too many spoilers but with the use of cameras. So we are looking at you in closer.

Nicole: Yes. So it’s quite intimate. I mean, that’s the brilliance of Jamie Lloyd. And we have the best company, the best sound, the best lighting, the best cast, best production… Super grateful.

Michael: How did this come about?

Nicole: It’s Jamie, our director.

Michael: How did it come about with you?

Nicole: He asked me, he came to me personally, we were going to try to work on a project several years ago and it didn’t work out timing wise. So he came to me a year and a half ago and in person and we actually met at the Savoy and then he said, I’ve got this, this dream. And I envision you being Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard. And I was like, what I want to play a lot of roles and that’s not one of the ones I thought.

Michael: It’s kind of early in your career to be playing it.

Nicole: It is kind of early but it is not because Patti Lupone played it around my age and so did Glenn close on Broadway as well. So especially in this industry, it’s just defying ageism. I like to call it agelicious, Michael. I mean, this is my prime – celebrating, you know, where you are, everything that’s got you to this moment in your life. So many people can relate to that. I mean, there’s no better time. I mean, I’ve I’ve never been more fit.

Michael: Can we talk about your dancing in this? I mean, that’s something that’s never been done before in this role. It is phenomenal.

Nicole: Yeah, we tried to just it’s such a different modern and contemporary interpretation for like a new, we took this classic for a new generation, right? And so we just – Jamie just was like, allowed me to bring myself to the table, right? So there’s dancing in there and there’s some humor and playing with the camera like – this cinematic work.

Michael: Well, I mean, can I mention the opening of the opening of Act Two because I’ve never seen anything like this before. I mean, it’s very meta – you have Tom backstage playing Joe Gillis, starting the song backstage in the dressing rooms and then walking around The Strand through the past the Savoy into the theater, live.

Nicole: It’s crazy. I love it. It’s one of my favorite parts because I get to be on stage and watch it on the screen and it’s just like the outside world now becomes a part of our show. Now they’re in sunset, now they’re in the theater now. They’re on our screen. It’s so cool because it’s so alive. It’s not only live but it’s alive because there’s different people.Some people have selfies… The other day this lady brought her baby and the baby was wearing a turban and some sunglasses. Like it’s super cool.

Michael: Simon Cowell was, the night I was in.

Nicole: Oh my goodness… So Simon and his fiance are dear friends of mine, obviously. And they came to the show to support it. And I was like, “Simon, you make sure you were in that seat for the second act.” And I was watching the screen and I see him on the big screen and I was like, oh, I guess he’s not in his seat right now. He’s like “I had a phone call, darling”.

Michael: I mean, he got back in time for your entrance. It was just genius. He couldn’t resist the camera.

Nicole: Right there with his sunglasses on at night, just Simon Cowell.

Michael: So, what’s the hope for the show? I mean, because you meant to finish in January. It’s the hottest, it’s the hottest ticket. There has to be a life for this afterwards.

Nicole: Well, we’re, you know, there’s talks of going to Broadway, I’m not sure when that will be, but the stars, I mean, the stars aligned for this to happen when it did, right? 30 years after. Can you believe it’s been 30 years?

Michael: I did the original workshop.

Nicole: That’s why you said you know it so well.

Michael: Yeah, the very original workshop.

Nicole: Are you serious? Oh my God. So you do know this.

Michael: I know this and I’ve done it. I’ve done it in concert with Petula Clark for the BBC with a 19 piece orchestra. It was nothing like yours and I didn’t strip off. Hopefully it would go with as much of this cast as, as possible because they are…

Nicole: Tom Francis, brilliant playing Joe. Then we have David Thaxton, a fellow Olivier winner like yourself. He’s so brilliant. And then we have our Grace Hodge Young.

Michael: She wasn’t on the night I went. It was the understudy. It was lovely.

Nicole: She’s amazing as well, Kamilla was amazing. The whole cast is amazing. So that’s her debut on the west end. And then on Mondays, I am not on and the beautiful Rachel Tucker does her thing and kicks butt. So she’s on Mondays and she’s brilliant. So make sure you support her too.

Michael: And she is, she’s very different, kind of a performance.

Nicole: So different. But that’s what’s so great.

Michael: You need that Monday off. Because I’ve never seen a turn work as hard.

Nicole: it’s the matinee, the matinee on the Thursday and then the Friday and then the double matinee on the Saturday again.

Michael: It’s like a marathon.

Nicole: It’s like a marathon and I had to train like an athlete for it so that my body was just really sharp so that my mind could be sharp. But I tell you, I did the two shows yesterday and Jamie was in and when Jamie’s in, I call it, I come for blood, everyone raises the game. I come for blood. And by the end I was like done, I was like, stick a fork in me. I’m done. That’s what we say in America, like a turkey.

Michael: So when you were rehearsing and all this madness is going – they must have not known what they were actually in until they got there in front of an audience because it is so strange and different and it’s not until you hear that reaction. I’ve never heard ground like it, that you realize this is something really special.

Nicole: You’re right. We knew that it would be different. I mean, Jamie always calls it. It’s like we’ve taken musical theater and turned it into an art installation because such a different production and interpretation, right? But we knew it was really honest. It’s like we stripped everything back, we’re exposed. There is no props, there is nothing and it’s super just honest and raw and truthful. And that’s my prayer every night – I pray that we give them this, the most truthful, honest story that we can.

Michael: And it’s such a good story.

Nicole: And so because of that we knew, ‘we don’t know how they’re going to like this’ – Is it going to be like Marmite? Right? But at least we’re giving them the most honest interpretation.

Michael: What you’re doing as well is you’re really honoring the story and honoring the music. Andrew [Lloyd Webber] is thrilled.

Nicole: Yes! He’s so amazing. Through the whole process, he was so supportive and he came to rehearsals so many times to rewrite music because as you saw, – some of the interpretation was quite different. So he’s like “no, I’ve got to write new music for that”. And Jamie and him would work.

Michael: And also little bits are taken out, which is which “The Lady’s Buying” has gone, which I think works not having that.

Nicole: You know, you did the show. I didn’t do it before. So hopefully we’re not missing anything.

Michael: So, are there any other roles that you’re thinking? I just have to keep doing this now because, because the stage needs performers like you, I really do think so.

Nicole: To be honest, I this is the role of a lifetime. Like I didn’t, I didn’t know Michael that I’d want to play this role. And then when Jamie said, read the script and I did and I really felt like I related to Norma in so many ways. And then when I listened to music, I fell madly in love with this score is one of the best. It’s just so iconic and it feels so cinematic as well when you’re up there. So in my headspace is only Norma Desmond right now.

Michael: So have you got any plans for when you finish this after January 6th?

Nicole: Yes, I’m going to try to somehow get my natural skin color back, get some vitamin D. I’ve never been more pale before in my life. I never see the sky. So I can’t wait to go somewhere hot.I’ll probably just go back home to Hawaii. And then I’ll just… I’m so excited and like I said, I’m exhausted, but I’m fulfilled. So I’m excited to see what is to come from here.

Michael: It’s the role of a lifetime and you’re given the performance of a lifetime. And I, I really mean, this really, really do. I think you’ve surprised a lot of people and, and blown us. You blew me away.

Nicole: Oh, thank you. That really means a lot. It really means a lot.

Michael: Is there going to be a cast recording?

Nicole: Hm, I think so. I think so.

Michael: Great! Because we, we, we could do with that. It’s fab. Congratulations Nicole. I hope you get all the praise and the credit that you so rightly deserve and you’re very, very talented and so beautiful and it just really annoys me.

Nicole: Thank you for you support. I’m grateful. I’m so grateful. Thank you so much.

Michael: Enjoy the rest of the run and have a lovely Christmas. Go and see Nicole!

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2023 sunset boulevard west end
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