Wright State alumna wins award for role in London 'Sunset Boulevard'

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Nov. 27—Wright State University alumna Nicole Scherzinger received the 2023 Evening Standard Theatre Award for Best Musical Performance on Nov. 19 for her outstanding portrayal of silent film actress Norma Desmond in Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical "Sunset Boulevard" in London's West End.

I can attest to the magnitude of Scherzinger's phenomenal work having seen the dynamically cutting-edge, refreshingly diverse and thrillingly multimedia-driven production Nov. 16 during a London theater trip. Her incredibly expressive, captivating and commanding performance — accented by splendid vocals and heightened by Jack Knowles' exquisitely exhilarating lighting design — fueled the depth of madness within Norma's delusion as "the greatest star of all." In particular her soaring, intimidating rendition of "As If We Never Said Goodbye" garnered a standing ovation, which is rare in the West End.

Scherzinger, a Grammy-nominated former member of the Pussycat Dolls, has sold over 37 million singles worldwide and 16 million records as a solo artist. In addition to receiving an Olivier Award nomination as Grizabella in the London revival of "Cats," she has been a judge on "The Sing-Off" as well as the U.S. and U.K. versions of "The X Factor" and "The Masked Singer," and won "Dancing with the Stars" in 2010. She also performed at Windsor Castle in the official concert for the coronation of Charles III and Camilla in May 2023.

While studying musical theatre at Wright State from 1996 to 1999, her credits included Velma Kelly in "Chicago" and Julie LaVerne in "Show Boat." Although she left Wright State to pursue opportunities in Hollywood, the Wright State Alumni Association honored her with the Alumna of the Year Award in 2017.

"Sunset Boulevard," which also received a win for Jamie Lloyd as Best Director, continues at London's Savoy Theatre through Jan. 6, 2024. However, there is a possibility the show could transfer to the Great White Way, allowing Scherzinger to make her long-awaited Broadway debut. Stay tuned.