Sunset Boulevard Musical in New York

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Sunset Boulevard Broadway Musical – Review

Andrew Lloyd Webber is a Broadway legend and Sunset Boulevard is one of his finest works. Glenn Close, who made her name in films like Fatal Attraction and 101 Dalmations, won a 1995 Tony Award for her portrayal of Norma Desmond, Sunset Boulevard’s main character. The regal starlet returns to the Broadway stage to reprise the role again, one that brought her a wealth of praise on London’s West End last year. With the help of a fantastic production team, Sunset Boulevard comes to life on the Broadway stage once more with Close as its perennial darling. The musical is melancholic and gripping, exploring the fading glamour and stardom of its lead character with a tenderness that will captivate audiences.

Norma Desmond is a lonely and ageing Hollywood star clinging to the memories of her illustrious past. In fact, Norma inhabits her past more than her present, hiding out in her mansion re-watching her films and remembering her brighter moments. Her doting servant, Max von Mayerling (played by Fred Johanson in this revival) crafts elaborate but fictional fan mail for Norma to read and reread, occupying herself as her glamour slowly fades. His commitment to his mistress is touching even when it becomes disturbingly acute. The musical charts Norma’s desperate efforts to return to the screen, one which keeps her alive as much as it hurts her.

A 40-piece orchestra accompanies Close’s haunting vocals in Sunset Boulevard, providing a moving score to Norma’s despair. The production is executed to perfection with its lead dazzling over twenty years after her original performance in this role. While Norma Desmond is fading, Glenn Close certainly isn’t. Sunset Boulevard is one of this year’s most exciting Broadway productions.

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Sunset Boulevard Broadway, NYC

Theater: Palace Theatre
Duration: 2 hours 45 minutes (1 intermission)
Starring: Glenn Close, Michael Xavier, Siobhan Dillon

Sunset Boulevard is a musical with book and lyrics by Don Black, Christopher Hampton (with additional lyrics by Amy Powers) and music by Andrew Lloyd Webber. Based on Billy Wilder’s Academy Award-winning 1950 film of the same title, the plot revolves around Norma Desmond, a faded star of the silent screen era, living in the past in her decaying mansion on the fabled Los Angeles street. When young screenwriter Joe Gillis accidentally crosses her path, she sees in him an opportunity to make her comeback to the big screen. Romance and tragedy follow.

Opening first in London in 1993, the musical has had several long runs internationally and also enjoyed extensive tours. However, it has been the subject of several legal battles and it ultimately lost money due to its extraordinary running costs.

Sunset Boulevard the Musical – Act I

“Overture” / “I Guess It Was 5 am” – Joe
“Let’s Have Lunch” – Joe, Actors, actress, scriptwriters, Artie, Sheldrake, Betty
“Every Movie’s A Circus” † – Betty, Joe
“Car Chase” – orchestra
“At the House on Sunset” – Joe
“Surrender” – Norma
“With One Look” – Norma
“Salome” – Norma, Joe
“Greatest Star of All” – Max
“Every Movie’s a Circus (Reprise)” ∞ † – Actors, Actress, Waiters, Artie, Joe, Betty, Barman
“Girl Meets Boy” – Joe, Betty
“Back at the House” on Sunset – Joe, Max
“New Ways to Dream” – Norma, Joe
“Completion of the Script” – Norma, Joe
“The Lady’s Paying” – Norma, Manfred, Joe, Ensemble
“New Year’s Eve” – Joe, Max
“The Perfect Year” – Norma, Joe
“This Time Next Year” – Ensemble, Artie, Betty, Joe, Cecil B. DeMile
New Year’s Eve (Back at the House on Sunset) – Joe, Norma

Sunset Boulevard the Musical – Act II

“Entr’acte” – orchestra
“Sunset Boulevard” – Joe
“There’s Been a Call (Perfect year [Reprise])” – Norma
“Journey to Paramount” – Joe, Norma
“As If We Never Said Goodbye” – Norma
“Paramount Conversations” – Betty, Joe, Norma, Cecil B. DeMile, Sheldrake, Max
“Surrender (Reprise)” – Cecil B. DeMile
“Girl Meets Boy (Reprise)” – Joe, Betty
“Eternal Youth Is Worth a Little Suffering” – Norma, Astrologer, Beauticians
“Who’s Betty Schaefer?” – Norma, Joe
“Betty’s Office at Paramount” – Joe, Betty
“Too Much in Love to Care” – Betty, Joe
“New Ways to Dream (Reprise)” – Max
“The Phone Call” – Norma
“The Final Scene” – Joe, Betty, Norma, Max.