Sunset Boulevard: It’s Close, Glenn Close, But Not a Bull’s-eye
Glenn Close has returned to Broadway. Triumphantly. To standing ovations after her big number in the middle of Act II. Starring once again in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Sunset Boulevard, the show that gave her a third Tony Award over twenty years ago, she is bathing in the adoration that is rightfully hers. It seems this show, that won a total of 7 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, was waiting just for her. Not a ‘come back’, just to be clear, as Norma Desmond hates that word, but a return to the spotlight. I remember seeing the show back in 1995 with Close and Alan Campbell. It was the hot ticket at the time (although I rue the fact that I didn’t also see Betty Buckley, Close’s replacement) just as it is now.
Back in 1995 though, the competition at the 49th Tony Awards was not very strong. It was a very different moment in Broadway history. There were few musicals nominated in any of the categories, with only one other musical nominated for Best New Musical, Smokey Joe’s Cafe, and only one other nomination for Best Actress in a Musical, Rebecca Luker in Show Boat. At the time, it took a little bit of the luster out of all Sunset Boulevard’s Tony wins, but time has been kind to the show. The public (and marketing teams) only remember the wins, and not the race. The show, based on the 1950 Billy Wilder movie, is considered one of Webber’s big musicals, but in reality, it is one of the great financial losers of its time, a ‘hit-flop’ as it is called by many in the industry. The ‘hit’ played 977 performances on Broadway and had the highest advance in the history of Broadway ticket sales selling a total of more than a million tickets in total on Broadway. But the ‘flop’ lost somewhere in the realm of $20 million dollars, taking into consideration all the lawsuits paid out (Patti LuPone and Faye Dunaway) and the huge weekly running costs of both the Broadway and the touring company. It never came close to breaking even. But regardless of all that history, it is still considered by many as one of Webber’s musical masterpieces.
With this production, I can see why….For the full review go to frontmezzjunkies.com or click here