Glenn Close Sunset Boulevard May Play New York

News   Glenn Close Sunset Boulevard May Play New York The stripped-down production now playing London's Coliseum may cross the Atlantic.
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Glenn Close Richard Hubert Smith

Glenn Close, who is currently reprising the leading role of Norma Desmond in the Andrew Lloyd Webber-Don Black-Christopher Hampton musical Sunset Boulevard through May 7 at the London Coliseum, may once again play the faded silent-screen star for New York audiences.

Close won the Tony Award as Best Actress in a Musical for her performance in the role over 20 years ago in the show's original Broadway transfer from London.

Lyricist Black told the New York Post, “But of course there is talk of doing it somewhere else. I think there is a very good chance of it going to New York.”

Black also addressed the semi-staged aspect of the current production, explaining, “People expected spectacle back then, but times have changed. We don’t have a staircase, and nobody misses it. We have a car, but it’s small one, sort of a car-lite. I’m please to say that people are moved by the story and the songs. They are hanging on every comma.”

Lonny Price, who also directed last year's semi-staged production of Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd at the London Coliseum, directs a cast that includes Michael Xavier as Joe Gillis, with Fred Johanson as Max Von Mayerling (a role he has previously played for Gothenburg Opera) and Siobhan Dillon as Betty Schaefer.

It was previously reported that co-librettist/co-lyricist Hampton is working on a film version of the musical, which he hopes will also star Close.

Hampton told London's Standard, "In fact we are looking down the line to make a movie of it later. When we first did Sunset Boulevard it was somehow still too close to the original. Now you have to ask yourself and find a director who would ask ‘What is there about this story that was made so perfectly in 1950 that justified me doing it again?’”

About Close starring in a film adaptation, Hampton said, “It is not my decision but as far as I’m concerned that is what I'm thinking. We've just had a series of talks with Paramount so everything is in place and hopefully we can get it done while Glenn is in London.”

Tony and Olivier Award winner Patti LuPone created the role of Norma Desmond for the musical's 1993 world-premiere production in London, earning an Olivier nomination for her performance. Glenn Close played the role in Los Angeles and later in New York, where she won a 1995 Tony Award for her work as the aging, deluded actress. Other musical Normas include Betty Buckley (London, Olivier nomination and New York), Elaine Paige (London and New York), Diahann Carroll (Canada), Petula Clark (London and U.S. tour), Rita Moreno (London), Debra Byrne (Australia), Helen Schneider (Germany) and Linda Balgord (U.S. tour). Florence Lacey, Loni Ackerman, Liz Callaway and Valerie Perri have played the role regionally.

Lloyd Webber's Sunset Boulevard is based on Billy Wilder's 1950 movie of the same name, which featured Gloria Swanson as the reclusive Norma Desmond who falls in love with an unlucky writer — Joe Gillis — who happens upon her home by accident. William Holden played Gillis in the film; Swanson, Holden and Wilder all received Academy Award nominations for their work.

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