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Saline's Leo Babcock Stars in 'Sunset Boulevard'

Babcock, the owner and architect behind Saline's Babcock Design Studio, has starred in more than 90 stage productions as well as several film and TV productions.

The second production in the Birmingham Village Players' 90th season is a throwback to the silent film era of Hollywood, Don Black and Christopher Hampton's Sunset Boulevard.

The show opens at 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 2 and is set for a three-weekend run at the Birmingham theater on Woodward.

The Birmingham Village Players are the first Detroit-area community theater to stage this Tony Award-winning classic, which is based on the 1950's film of the same name. The music, including the songs "As If We Never Said Goodbye" and "With One Look," are written by Andrew Lloyd Webber.

In the play, former silent movie queen Norma Desmond confronts her fading stardom while beginning a relationship with a much younger screen writer.

Playing the role of Norma is Birmingham's own Patty Ward, known for her roles in several area theater productions.

Ward — a mother of three, a vocalist with the Birmingham Straw Hat Band and a second year Ignatian intern at the Manresa Jesuit Retreat House — insists that while she plays a diva, she's definitely not one herself.

"There is quite a big difference in being a diva and playing a diva," said Ward. "I would say that Norma, the diva, and I have taken completely different paths."

Starring alongside Ward as Norma's younger lover is Saline resident Leo Babcock, the owner and architect behind Babcock Design Studio in Saline. Besides acting, Babcock has designed several sets for the Village Players, including last season's musical, Lucky Stiff.

"I have been actively involved in the theater for much of my life," said Babcock, noting he's been seen in more than 90 stage productions as well as several film and TV productions.

Sunset Boulevard is directed by Michael Gravame. To accomodate the anticipated crowds, Gravame said the Village Players have added two additional matinee performances, with 2 p.m. performances scheduled for Nov. 11, 17 and 18.

If you go:

  • Where: Village Players Playhouse, 34660 Woodward Ave.
  • When: The curtain opens at 8 p.m. Nov. 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 16, 18. There will also be 2 p.m. matinee shows on Nov. 11, 17, 18.
  • Cost: Tickets are $19 each though there's a $1 processing fee for each ticket order. To order tickets by phone, call 248-644-2075 or visit the Village Players website.

More from the Village Players 2012-13 season:

  • Murder on the Nile: Jan. 11-13, 18-20
  • Little Shop of Horrors: March 1-2, 8-10, 15-17
  • Camelot: May 3-4, 10-12, 17-19

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