Alicante Journal of English Studies / Revista Alicantina de Estudios Ingleses

Sunset Boulevard in Spanish Performance: Translations on the Musical Stage

Marta Mateo



This article focuses on Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical Sunset Boulevard (1993), in order to present some relevant aspects of the production and reception of musicals both in an original and a target context. The study will first describe the eventful creative process of this musical text in its Anglophone source contexts, and will then move on to examine it from the perspective of its performance in Spanish translation. Recently translated for a Spanish-language production staged in Tenerife in 2017 (soon followed by another one in Argentina in 2018), Sunset Boulevard is a good example of the powerful impact that the importation of Anglo-American musicals has had in Spain in recent decades (see Mateo 2008) while it also serves to illustrate interesting aspects of the evolution and current situation of musicals’ production in this country. This macro-level study will therefore examine Lloyd Webber’s musical performed in sung translation, addressing it from a contextual standpoint and with a focus in Spain, with the aim of contributing to a deeper knowledge of theatre translation when it involves musical plays.


Sunset Boulevard; stage musicals; theatre translation; performance; Spanish-language productions

Full Text:

PDF Statistics


ALLEN, Brooke. 2020. “Broadway Reborn, Again.” The Wall Street Journal (December 5-6, 2020): C11.

ALLWEBBER. 2017. “Sunset Boulevard, España 2018.” (June 13, 2017). [Accessed online on November 9, 2021].

CHESTERMAN, Andrew. 1997. Memes of Translation. Amsterdam and Philadelphia, PA: John Benjamins.

DALTON, Stephen. 2016. “'Sunset Boulevard': Theatre Review.” The Hollywood Reporter (April 4, 2016). [Accessed online on November 9, 2021].

DESBLACHE, Lucile. 2019. Music and Translation. New Mediations in the Digital Age. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

DI GIOVANNI, Elena. 2008. “The American Film Musical in Italy. Translation and Non-translation.” The Translator 14 (2). Special Issue: Translation and Music: 295-318.

FRANKEL, Aaron. 2000 [1977]. Writing the Broadway Musical. (Revised and updated edition). New York: Da Capo Press.

GANS, Andrew. 2016. "A History of Great Ladies in Sunset Boulevard." Playbill. (October 25, 2016). [Accessed online on November 9, 2021]

GANS, Andrew. 2017. "Glenn Close Returns to Broadway in Revival of Andrew Lloyd Webbber's Sunset Boulevard." Playbill. (February 2, 2017). [Accessed online on November 9, 2021]

IRAZÁBAL, Federico. 2018. “Valeria Lynch, en el gran estreno de Sunset Boulevard en el Maipo.” La Nación (April 8, 2018). [Accessed online on November 9, 2021].

KENRICK, John. 2008. Musical Theatre. A History. New York and London: Continuum.

KNAPP, Raymond, Mitchell Morris and Stacy Wolf, eds. 2011. The Oxford Handbook of the American Musical. Oxford: Oxford UP.

LA BUTACA Web. 2018. "Reseña: Sunset Boulevard." La Butaca Web (May 6, 2018). [Accessed online on November 9, 2021].

LADRÓN de Guevara, Federico. 2018. "'Sunset Boulevard' o el drama de los actores olvidados." Clarín. Espectáculos (March 30, 2018). [Accessed online on November 9, 2021].

LAIRD, Paul R. 2011. “Musical Styles and Song Conventions.” In Knapp, Morris, and Wolf 2011, 33-44.

LARRAURI, Eva. 2012. "Un musical pasa el examen en Broadway." El País (August 19, 2012). [Accessed online on November 9, 2021].

LIZENBERG, Marcos. 2018. "Sunset Boulevard El Musical, o sobre cómo resucitar al cine." El destape (August 31, 2018). [Accessed online on November 9, 2021].

MARCELACORONEL. 2018. “Valeria Lynch se prepara para Sunset Boulevard con dirección de Claudio Tolcachir.” (April 17, 2018). [Accessed online on November 9, 2021].

MATEO, Marta. 2000. “Las brujas de Salem y El crisol: las versiones españolas de la obra de A. Miller en teatro, TV y cine.” Quaderns. Revista de traducció 5: 147-160.

MATEO, Marta. 2002. “Power Relations in Drama Translation.” Current Writing 14 (2), “Translation and Power”: 45-63.

MATEO, Marta. 2008. “Anglo-American Musicals in Spanish Theatres.” The Translator 14 (2). Special Issue: Translation and Music: 318-342.

MATEO, Marta. 2022. “Singing Broadway musicals in Spanish: textual challenges and translation choices.” In Vetterling, Mary Anne and Joy Renjilian-Burgy, eds. Proceedings of the 12th AATSP Northeast Regional Conference Publication (forthcoming).

MCMILLIN, Scott. 2006. The Musical as Drama. A Study of the Principles and Conventions behind Musical Shows from Kern to Sondheim. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton UP.

NIETO, Maite. 2017. “Paloma San Basilio estrena ‘el papel de su vida’ como Norma Desmond.” El País (Cultura) (December 27, 2017). [Accessed online on November 9, 2021].

PADRÓN, Arturo. 2017a. “Entrevista a Julio Awad, director musical de 'Sunset Boulevard'.” MardTeatro (November 23, 2017). [Accessed online on November 9, 2021].

PADRÓN, Arturo. 2017b. “Desde Tenerife para el mundo: 'Sunset Boulevard'.” MardTeatro (December 30, 2017). [Accessed online on November 9, 2021]

PERRY, George. 1993. Sunset Boulevard: from Movie to Musical. London: Pavillion Books.

RODRÍGUEZ del Álamo, Jorge. 1998. “El cantar del Quijote. Reportaje: Luis Ramírez.” El Mundo. La revista (118, January 18, 1998). [Accessed online on November 9, 2021].

SÁNCHEZ-VALLEJO, María Antonia, Silvia Ayuso, Rafa de Miguel and Lorena Pacho. 2021. “Los grandes teatros suben el telón.” El País (Cultura) (September 20, 2021): 27.

SAVRAN, David. 2011. “Class and Culture.” In Knapp, Morris, and Wolf 2011, 239-250.

SOLÉ Ingla, Alba. 2021. “Lluvia de emociones en el estreno de 'Cantando bajo la lluvia'.” El nacional (October 1, 2021). [Accessed online on April 5, 2022].

ST-PIERRE, Paul. 1993. “Translation: Constructing Identity out of Alterity.” Livivs 4: 243-252.

SULLIVAN, Lindsey. 2020. “Glenn Close Offers an Update on the Upcoming Sunset Boulevard Movie Musical.” Broadway Buzz (October 23, 2020). [Accessed online on November 9, 2021].

TOFFLER, Alvin. 1980. The Third Wave. New York: Bantam Books.

TODA LA MÚSICA. 2017. “Sunset Boulevard, un nuevo y esperado musical de producción propia y en castellano.” Toda La Música. [Accessed online on November 9, 2021].

WIKIPEDIA. "Sunset Boulevard (musical)." [Accessed online on November 9, 2021]


Copyright (c) 2022 Marta Mateo

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.