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Sunset Boulevard, the Musical

Who was your favorite Norma Desmond?

by Isotta-Fraschinireply 8305/30/2014

I saw Glenn Close play her a decade or so ago, but damned if I recall anything specific from the production, other than that I was there.

by Isotta-Fraschinireply 105/25/2013

Patti LuPone, won't happen, I know, but she has guts and she can still belt.

by Isotta-Fraschinireply 205/25/2013

Alisa Endsley who subbed for all of the Norma's in London. Saw her 3x. Acted the hell out of it and sang magnificently.

by Isotta-Fraschinireply 305/25/2013

Close for acting Buckley for singing Put them together and you have the perfect Norma

by Isotta-Fraschinireply 405/25/2013

Petula clark. Especially at the end when she broke character and started humming downtown to herself. While other chatacters were trying to read their lines. .. ok she didn,t but she was good.

by Isotta-Fraschinireply 505/25/2013

I listen to the LuPone version regularly. No one does psychopath like Patti (Evita, Sunset, Gypsy...)

by Isotta-Fraschinireply 605/25/2013

of the number of recordings I have heard, Diahann Carrol from the Toronto production... (yes, THAT Diahann Carrol)... well sung, well acted with force as well as nuance....

Of the ND's I wish I had seen would be Rita Moreno in London....

Of the ND's that never were but could have been, Chita Rivera.

by Isotta-Fraschinireply 705/25/2013

LuPone may be alright on the cast CD, but in person her fishwife quality wasn't suited to Norma Desmond.

by Isotta-Fraschinireply 805/25/2013

Alisa Endsley for me also. She was the cover with guaranteed performances and ended up playing the role for about 8 mos to a year when it was all added up. Sang the hell out of it and her acting was first rate. I still recall the scene where Norma finds out Joe won't be there for New Years & she has a sudden mini break down. Chilling. Ms. Endsley really conveyed the manic/controlling aspect of the character.

She also had a crazy good way of pronouncing "out there in the daaaark" in the final scene. Unique and in keeping with the moment. (the kind of thing a show-mo like me appreciates)

Little known facts about Alisa...she really WAS the youngest to play Norma in the original productions. She has the distinction to be the only person to have opened the show (in ensemble) in the West End and to CLOSE the show on Broadway. She was also "thrown on" in the role with NO prior staging rehearsals. They hadn't even fitted costumes for her.

If you read Patti LuPone's auto-biography, Patti gives Alisa a positive "shout out" for the way she handled the whole debacle when Patti called in sick for the show when she discovered Glenn was doing Bway...and Endsley had to do the role at the last minute.

I understand she has a successful teaching career for NY Performers now. But I would love to see Ms. Endsley on the West End or on Broadway again.

by Isotta-Fraschinireply 905/25/2013

How come Endsley never became a name?

by Isotta-Fraschinireply 1005/25/2013

Karenn Mason

by Isotta-Fraschinireply 1105/25/2013

Do you think they'll ever make a movie (or a filmed stage version) of SB?

by Isotta-Fraschinireply 1205/25/2013

I hope so, but it would take a really visionary director to pull it off well and make it not seem like a filmed version of the stage show.

by Isotta-Fraschinireply 1305/25/2013

[quote] I understand she has a successful teaching career for NY Performers now.

Yes

by Isotta-Fraschinireply 1405/25/2013

Saw several time son Broadway

1. Elaine Paige (seriously) had some humor and reminded me of Swanson in the movie.

2. Betty Buckley- may be a ballbuster in real life but she sang the role beautifully and was like a brooken wounded sparrow.

3. Glenn Close - Fatal Attraction Part 3

4. Ann Morrison (original MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG) in a regional production Music Theatre of Wichita - not a recognizable name but gave a solid performance and sang the score well. Powerful voice.

5. Petula Clark in the revamped tour. Very rough, almost coarse characterization. Good vocals but didn't care for her in the role.

Not seen but wish I had--- I would have LOVED to have seen Diahann Carroll from the Toronto company. Her cast recording is my favorite. And I would have liked to have seen the last Norma in London- Rita Moreno. Just to see what she brought to the role.

by Isotta-Fraschinireply 1505/25/2013

R7, we think alike!

by Isotta-Fraschinireply 1605/25/2013

Find Petula's acting in SB on YT and you'll see some the campiest acting ever.

by Isotta-Fraschinireply 1705/25/2013

I saw it with Elaine Paige. This loathsome creature played Norma Desmond much like she plays every other character - as a cross between a Milton Keynes housewife and a drag queen. And when she started to "sing" in that ghastly, nasal voice of hers, I wanted her to fall down the staircase and break her neck.

None of the others could have been as bad as Paige was. Not Close, not Buckey, not even the dreadful Patti LuP.

by Isotta-Fraschinireply 1805/25/2013

[quote]Glenn Close - Fatal Attraction Part 3

What was part 2?

by Isotta-Fraschinireply 1905/25/2013

Lupone was a trainwreck, [18] hit the nail on the head for Paige (who I usually adore), and I thought Close was wonderful!

by Isotta-Fraschinireply 2005/25/2013

I saw Glenn in the Los Angeles production.

I'm loathe to admit it, but she was sensational.

by Isotta-Fraschinireply 2105/25/2013

Sorry, one doesn't do Lloyd Webber.

One has taste.

by Isotta-Fraschinireply 2205/25/2013

Stefanie Powers. Sang well and acted the heck out of it. As one of the last contract players, she KNEW the character. A true star!

by Isotta-Fraschinireply 2305/25/2013

Didn't see Close. Buckley was fantastic. Paige gave it everything she had vocally and a lot of it was impressive. Petula Clark was ghastly in every way. I also saw Helen Schneider in Germany and she was wonderful, even without anything close to Buckley's voice.

by Isotta-Fraschinireply 2405/25/2013

I almost cried the first time I saw/heard this. (I didn't know Glenn could sing and had never heard of Sunset Boulevard) Truly wonderful.

by Isotta-Fraschinireply 2505/25/2013

Audra McDonald. Hands down.

by Isotta-Fraschinireply 2605/25/2013

Why has no one made a joke about Faye Dunaway and this stupidity?

[quote]I saw it with Elaine Paige. This loathsome creature played Norma Desmond much like she plays every other character - as a cross between a Milton Keynes housewife and a drag queen. And when she started to "sing" in that ghastly, nasal voice of hers, I wanted her to fall down the staircase and break her neck.

Could someone explain Elaine Paige to me? I think I'm missing something?

by Isotta-Fraschinireply 2705/25/2013

Karen Mason copied Close very, well, closely. Every mannerism, every nuance belonged to Close. Only difference is Mason can belt and Close wasn't even, well, close.

by Isotta-Fraschinireply 2805/25/2013

Elaine Paige OBE. The First Lady of British Musical Theatre.

Evita. Cats. Chess. Piaf.

Mistres of Tim Rice and a raging alcoholic. Has an appalling reputation but is incredibly famous.

Her real name is Elaine Bickerstaff, but it's not got the same ring to it.

by Isotta-Fraschinireply 2905/25/2013

And after her good friend Liza Minnelli had a hit with Losing My Mind and her Results album, dear Elaine tried to get in on the act, with this upbeat dancy pop number, a world away from her standard musical recordings she'd been known for.

The video was banned from British TV on account of her nipples, and the cardigan hanging off the shoulder.

by Isotta-Fraschinireply 3005/25/2013

Coco Peru.

by Isotta-Fraschinireply 3105/25/2013

R30's link has only added to my confusion.

by Isotta-Fraschinireply 3205/25/2013

I know right! Would Patty le Pony have worn a bra if she was jigging about in a pop video?

by Isotta-Fraschinireply 3305/25/2013

R25, I cried the first time I heard Glenn Close sing, too.

by Isotta-Fraschinireply 3405/25/2013

r22, your joke bombed.

by Isotta-Fraschinireply 3505/25/2013

R30 your link cannot be played in the USA due to licensing restrictions.

by Isotta-Fraschinireply 3605/25/2013

Lloyd Webber is a festering ass boil, as is his dreadful music.

by Isotta-Fraschinireply 3705/25/2013

Is it true that Miley Cyrus is in talks to play Norma in a new film remake?

by Isotta-Fraschinireply 3805/25/2013

[quote]Is it true that Miley Cyrus is in talks to play Norma in a new film remake?

Yes, with Justin Bieber as Joe Gillis and Zac Efron as Max.

by Isotta-Fraschinireply 3905/25/2013

I'm seeing it in July at Musical Theatre West. I think it's the first time it's been done in the LA area since the original touring company.

by Isotta-Fraschinireply 4005/25/2013

Expensive! That set was glorious. I laughed when I heard the raves about the wondrous set for Next to Normal (unless they meant set of balls on Aaron Tveit or Kyle Dean Massey).

I've never seen a better set. But holy fuck - can you imagine how much that costs to build and maintain.

And yes, I've seen the set for Phantom.

by Isotta-Fraschinireply 4105/25/2013

Buckley.

by Isotta-Fraschinireply 4205/25/2013

I was second pianist in the orchestra for the Toronto production. Diahann Carroll was better than Glenn, gorgeous to behold and most nights sang and acted the raspy hell out of it, with very nice top notes. They tried hard to get Cher for Toronto. At that time she could have had a triumph, even if Norma sang a bit like Elvis.

This is ALW. It is about the set and two songs, but I still think that it was good theatre.

Betty Buckley was heads above the othes. No question.

This gig and my partner dancing in "Fosse" at the same time, bought us a very nice house.....

by Isotta-Fraschinireply 4305/25/2013

Glenn close on the LA cast album made me cry.

Saw Betty Buckley on broadway on closing night..... Glenn close was in the audience and got a shout out.

by Isotta-Fraschinireply 4405/25/2013

Sorry I meant I saw Elaine Paige on broadway on closing night.

by Isotta-Fraschinireply 4505/25/2013

R35, ALW isn't just Sir Andrew anymore; he's Lord Lloyd Webber now.

by Isotta-Fraschinireply 4605/26/2013

[quote]I saw it with Elaine Paige. This loathsome creature played Norma Desmond much like she plays every other character - as a cross between a Milton Keynes housewife and a drag queen. And when she started to "sing" in that ghastly, nasal voice of hers, I wanted her to fall down the staircase and break her neck.

Meowww! I didn't know Jane McIntosh (aka Lady Rice) posted on Datalounge.

by Isotta-Fraschinireply 4705/26/2013

The Elaine haters are one note.

I saw Glenn in the original LA production. She was creepy good acting wise. Not so impressive as a singer.

Elaine brought humor, joy and the crazy when I saw her in the Broadway production. I loved her. Wish she had recorded the show.

by Isotta-Fraschinireply 4805/26/2013

Taylor Swift brought out such subtle nuances to the character.

by Isotta-Fraschinireply 4905/26/2013

Buckley was clearly best.

by Isotta-Fraschinireply 5005/26/2013

[quote]The Elaine haters are one note

That's the Sondheimites. Elaine was in the recent "Follies" revival and had the gaul to not sound exactly like the 40 year old Original Cast Album, although she was a hit with the unwashed masses, the few that did show up.

by Isotta-Fraschinireply 5105/26/2013

[quote] I think it's the first time it's been done in the LA area since the original touring company.

That was the original production prior to Broadway. Not really a touring company.

by Isotta-Fraschinireply 5205/26/2013

Nathan lane.

by Isotta-Fraschinireply 5305/26/2013

When Glenn played the role in LA, was it the Broadway version of the show or was it a version of the original London production that LuPone was in?

by Isotta-Fraschinireply 5405/26/2013

[quote] When Glenn played the role in LA, was it the Broadway version of the show or was it a version of the original London production that LuPone was in?

The Broadway version, or close to it. Not the London show at all.

by Isotta-Fraschinireply 5505/26/2013

OK, what was the difference between London and NY?

by Isotta-Fraschinireply 5605/26/2013

I have seen all the major performers with the exception of Glenn Close and Diane Carol and I enjoyed Elaine Paige most.

by Isotta-Fraschinireply 5705/26/2013

I saw several Normas (London, New York, Los Angeles), and, though her voice may not be the best of the bunch, Glenn Close gave the best performance overalll

by Isotta-Fraschinireply 5805/26/2013

Who is set to star at MTW???????

Joyce DeWitt???

by Isotta-Fraschinireply 5905/26/2013

Cast hasn't been announced as yet, R39.

by Isotta-Fraschinireply 6005/26/2013

OOps..meant R59, not 30...

by Isotta-Fraschinireply 6105/26/2013

[quote]OK, what was the difference between London and NY?

I think they tinkered with the book, removed some songs and added a few new ones in, after the London show got bad reviews from American critics. I think that at one point they even closed the London production (after LuPone left) and reopened it with the Broadway changes added.

I only saw the original version with LuPone and liked her a lot in it. I'm not normally a fan but I thought she was a lot better than the American critics were giving her credit for.

by Isotta-Fraschinireply 6205/26/2013

Betty Buckley was by far the greatest singer of all the Norma's. She rarely ever sings full voice like she did in SB. It was a very aching performance, but her voice was bigger than the set of the mansion. Her 4 song highlights album is simply the greatest. You have to hear how long she holds the HOME in "I'll be home at last" in "As If We Never Said Goodbye."

I am a glutton for punishment and have seen the show too many times (Close, Paige, Buckley, Clark and Carroll). Everything that happens when Norma's offstage is terrible theatre. But what ALW gives Norma to do and sing is magical.

by Isotta-Fraschinireply 6405/26/2013

[quote]Who is set to star at MTW??????? Joyce DeWitt???

No, Joyce. Suzanne got the part.

by Isotta-Fraschinireply 6505/26/2013

No, it's her neighbor Barry Manilow in Suzanne Somers drag.

by Isotta-Fraschinireply 6605/26/2013

I concur Betty. By the way her whole first act is up on YouTUbe

by Isotta-Fraschinireply 6705/26/2013

And still the best sets ever on Broadway.

by Isotta-Fraschinireply 6805/26/2013

The show is a big bore. The first couple of times seeing the mansion set is thrilling then gets tired. I loathed Glenn with the faces she made and her over the top acting. Loved Elaine for her voice and for the humor she got out of Norma which the part needs. Patti sings the hell out of the score but only have seen youtube vids. She must have been amazing live. Did any production ever make it's money back? Heard from a friend in the cast that Faye was hopeless in rehearsals.

by Isotta-Fraschinireply 6905/26/2013

[quote]The show is a big bore. The first couple of times seeing the mansion set is thrilling then gets tired.

Normal people usually see a show only once or twice and if they find it a bore the first time, don't return.

by Isotta-Fraschinireply 7005/26/2013

I have seen Paige, Close, Clark, a few understudies, and Moreno. I love Moreno, but her Googie Gomez schtick didn't really work as Norma. Not even a case of " so bad it was good".

by Isotta-Fraschinireply 7105/26/2013

The "gaul"! Oh dear!!

by Isotta-Fraschinireply 7205/26/2013

JoAnn Worley was such a strange choice for the Sacramento production. But she acted the hell out of it, and no one can wear maribou boas quite like she can, you have to admit.

by Isotta-Fraschinireply 7305/26/2013

There was a rumor several years ago on Ann Miner's Talkin Broadway All That Chat site that when she was in the show, Betty Buckley gave blow jobs and hand jobs to one of the stage hands at the top of the staircase right before she went on. Her agent,or manager, saw that and demanded that the thread be removed. True story. This was probably 10 years ago.

That being said, Betty was the best Norma of the three I saw on Broadway and the second tour with Clark.

by Isotta-Fraschinireply 7405/26/2013

I would have loved to have seen Diahann Carroll. When I play the cast album, that's the one I reach for.

by Isotta-Fraschinireply 7505/26/2013

[quote] That tour was a great selling point for equity performances and a testament to the quality of some touring shows

That was the first national company and yes, it was the original stage desgn. However, it didn't last very long. Lost money. Because of the size of the set, it was produced for long sit down runs (several months) in larger markets. It may have only played a handful of cities. Linda Balgord was Norma.

The second tour that commenced after the Broadway production closed, was the redesigned, redirected one with Petula Clark. That one did retain the original costumes.

by Isotta-Fraschinireply 7605/26/2013

Can Barbra forget about "Gypsy", and do the film version of this ? She's already sung the songs, on her albums, and it wouldn't be as big a stretch to see her playing a 50 something actress, who's time has passed , than it would to see the 70 year old Bab's , running around with 12 and 15 year old daughters in tow.

by Isotta-Fraschinireply 7705/27/2013

Trying to imagine Streisand silent, let alone a silent film star, is to say the least, a challenge.

by Isotta-Fraschinireply 7805/27/2013

[quote]Trying to imagine Streisand silent, let alone a silent film star, is to say the least, a challenge.

Not to mention that Norma Desmond is supposed to have captivated men by her sex appeal, beauty and charm. With Streisand in the lead role that would only work if all those men were diva worshiping queens.

by Isotta-Fraschinireply 7905/27/2013

She probably would have been very good in silent pictures, especially with her best feature, her eyes. Please don't speculate on what a heterosexual man finds attractive. She has been with and dated some of the most beautiful men in the world.

by Isotta-Fraschinireply 8005/27/2013

r30

As Mrs Merton said to Debbie McGee: "What first attracted you to the millionaire Paul Daniels?"

by Isotta-Fraschinireply 8105/27/2013

Swanson, Close understood Norma. The rest didn't. Bette Davis would have been damn good in the role.

by Isotta-Fraschinireply 8205/30/2014

Betty was great in NY and stayed outside with her four little dogs signing autographs for about a half hour. Thought that was very nice since many stars just wave and get in the limo (Tyne Daly) or leave through a secret exit (Carol Burnett)

Betty's was better than Lupone although I do like Lupone. Loved her as Frasier's aunt in a one shot on TV.

by Isotta-Fraschinireply 8305/30/2014
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