Nicole Scherzinger, a Wright State alum, wins highest honor in British theater

Wright State University alumna Nicole Scherzinger won the Olivier Award, the highest honor in British theater, for her magnificent portrayal of silent film star Norma Desmond in the superbly reinventive West End revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical “Sunset Boulevard.”

At the 2024 Oliver Awards presented April 14 hosted by Emmy winner Hannah Waddingham (”Ted Lasso”) at London’s Royal Albert Hall, the Broadway-bound “Sunset Boulevard” was the biggest winner of the night, receiving seven honors including Best Musical Revival, Best Actor and Actress in a Musical, and Best Director.

In her acceptance speech, Scherzinger praised her collaborators and mentioned her humble roots.

“I’d like to thank Andrew Lloyd Webber, my dear friend and mentor, for writing this masterpiece alongside Don Black and Christopher Hampton. Thank you so much for writing music and lyrics that I can sink my teeth and my soul into,” Scherzinger said. “As a little girl in Hawaii and then growing up in Kentucky, coming from really humble beginnings, I always wanted to be a singer and do musicals. And I dreamed of so many roles that I wanted to do and, honestly, this role, Norma Desmond, was not one of those roles. But God works in mysterious ways because honestly it’s one of the ballsiest and bravest things I’ve ever done. And I have the incomparable director Jamie Lloyd to thank for that.”

In her praise of Lloyd, she shared how excited she is to take Broadway by storm.

“Jamie, you saw me for me,” Scherzinger said. “You saw me like no one else has ever been able to see me. You took musical theatre and turned it into an art installation. You created a space that championed us to be able to tell a raw and honest, truthful story night after night. I cannot wait to come for blood on Broadway with you and the rest of the team. You gave us new ways to dream.”

“Sunset Boulevard” opened last fall at London’s Savoy Theatre on Oct. 12 and closed Jan. 6. I saw the production Nov. 16 and was blown away by the production’s ability to cater to Scherzinger’s inherent strengths as a dynamic triple threat.

“Sunset Boulevard” will begin previews at New York’s St. James Theatre Saturday, Sept. 28 and open Sunday, Oct. 20. Tickets are on sale now.

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 2014 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, Scherzinger’s 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.

The Olivier Awards, the equivalent of Broadway’s Tony Awards, were founded in 1976 as the Society of West End Theatre Awards. The honors were renamed for iconic British actor Laurence Olivier in 1984.

For more information, visit

About the Author