Sunset Boulevard is back, marking the fourth Andrew Lloyd Weber musical currently running. But the headline here is not just the triumphant and stunning return of Glenn Close as the iconic Norma Desmond. The real story is the unique, and recently rare, opportunity to hear the score performed by a forty piece orchestra on a Broadway stage. Set against a backdrop of the Hollywood Golden Age, Sunset Boulevard is a production you'll wish would never say goodbye.
|photo by Joan Marcus|
It's fitting that Sunset Boulevard gets a revival at the Palace as Glenn Close is theatrical royalty. Close gives a master class in performance as the maddened fading star. Mystifying is an understatement. To bring Norma to life, Close went full tilt, incorporating the exquisite costumes designed, originally designed by Anthony Powell, into the physicality of Norma. Most actors just wear a costume as clothing, Glenn Close makes it part of her character. It's easy to get lost with everything that this production brings but Michael Xavier was an incredible leading man. Xavier had the essence of old school charm, it's no wonder it captivated Norma. As the nice girl equally captivated by Joe, Siobhan Dillon's Betty Schaeffer was a bright light. Dillon brought a modern sensibility into Betty, breaking her out of the typical ingénue. It was a strong choice that paid off. With a deep voice and an unwavering loyalty, Fred Johanson found the complexity of Max. Johanson's rich characterization was beautifully understated yet perfectly powerful.
Sunset Boulevard is the show you've been eagerly anticipating. Between Glenn Close and the breathtaking orchestra, you'll never want to say goodbye to this perfect production. It should be noted that the performance I attended was the one where Hillary Clinton was in attendance. She received the first standing ovation of the night before the show. Believe me, I think the audience was willing to give a standing ovation in the middle of the show after "As If We Never Said Goodbye." But fear not, this show earned a round of ovations during the curtain call.