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Feel the early morning madness

Glenn Close‘s Norma Desmond is back. The actress will reprise her Tony-winning role as a faded silent movie star in London next year in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Sunset Boulevard, the second musical theatre production in the English National Opera’s partnership with the GradeLinnit Company.” [Hollywood Reporter]

  • Only time I’ve heard Glen Close sing is when she sang “Losing my mind” at Kennedy Centre Awards for the Barbara Cook tribute. People in the audience were standing on their feet and wiping away tears. I just kept thinking how my ears hurt.

      • OK, this isn’t as painful as I remember but it’s still not good. I get tired of actors who can’t really sing beyond good karaoke level doing high-profile musical assignments and “acting” their way through the singing requirements.

        • armerjacquino

          I don’t think she’s as hopeless a singer as you say. For me what she’s doing there is acting- your inverted commas are a little unfair. Her ‘Send in the Clowns’ at the 91 Sondheim Gala is one of my favourite versions of the song.

          • The inverted commas come from my general frustration with how musical values are viewed by some actors. Some actors feel like as long as you have a decent voice and carry a tune, you can sing. And that’s insulting to singers. One would think that actors, with all the training that they have had, would recognise that singers have gone through an equal amount of training to get where they are.

            It’s a bit of sensitive spot with me (I’mi not a singer) and I’m probably unfairly projecting onto Close.

            • armerjacquino

              That’s interesting. It’s genuinely not an attitude I’ve come across in twenty years as an actor- in fact quite the opposite, I know several actors who have turned down big West End musical assignments because they didn’t feel they were good enough singers.

              What does annoy me is the way critics can sometimes dismiss singing ability as an optional extra. The reviews for the recent London premiere all said variations on a theme of ‘Although (actor) can’t really sing, hers is a magnificent performance’.

            • armerjacquino

              Missed a title there- I was talking about the London premiere of ‘WOMEN ON THE VERGE…’

            • Well, you Brits have higher standards than N. American actors. LOL

              (Pace, Kruno)

              Seriously, there was a production of Sweeney Todd here a number of years ago. And I recall the well-known actress playing Mrs. Lovett saying that she knew that she couldn’t fulfill the musical requirements, so she just had to act her way through it. And my thought was “Then why did you accept the assignment?”

  • Nero Wolfe

    Close couldn’t sing 20 years ago. Does anyone think her singing has improved since then? I heard the recording of her and waited until Betty Buckley replaced her and Buckley was great. I haven’t heard Buckley in years but maybe she will replace Close in a NY production again so I can go see it again.

    Or maybe Streisand should have done a movie version 15 years ago like all the rumors that were floated. That would have been a great Norma Desmond.

    • Given how Norma Desmond was pushed out of talkies because of her voice, I think Close is a great choice for the role, an actress who is not that great of a singer would in my opinion be closer to the ideal than one who sings well.

  • DerLeiermann

    Will they lower the keys even more?

  • oscar

    I saw her in A Delicate Balance on Broadway last year. If nothing else, she looks amazing.

  • David

    I don’t admire much about Andrew Lloyd Webber, but I have to admire any man with sufficient self-belief who can watch Wilder’s sublime film and think ‘I know what will make this better’ before heading to the piano to knock out banality after banality

    • JohninSeattle

      David, Well said. Take a bow, sir.

    • Tubsinger

      On September 14, 1980, in between Angela Lansbury’s stint as Mrs. Lovett on B’way and the tour, the NY Times ran an article about her that mentioned “Sunset Boulevard” as the next project for her, Sondheim and Prince. She reported that Hugh Wheeler had already written the outline and that the show should be coming in 1982. In my mind, this is one of the greatest “what ifs…” of musical history. I don’t like Lloyd Webber enough to have seen any of his shows, but in that “Sweeney Todd” is so great a work (and collaboration), I have to think the team would have done a more memorable job with “Sunset Boulevard”--even if it might not have dragged in the bustour crowds. I can’t imagine Angela not being fantastic in that role, especially then…

  • Quanto Painy Fakor

    I wonder if Judith Light can sing.

    • JohninSeattle

      Only LIGHTly.

  • stignanispawn

    Early this summer the rumor was that Roundabout was looking at a revival of Sunset Boulevard for Donna Murphy, who would be terrific, as would Victoria Clark.
    I saw Sunset Boulevard in London early on with Patti Lupone who was a great Norma Desmond. I then went with bad attitude to see Glen Close on Broadway; the voice was what it was, but her performance was magnificent.
    Off topic, but about crazy ladies, am going to Turandot tonight with high hopes for Christine Goerke’s debut in the role. My buddy, Hyung Yun, is covering Dwayne Croft as Ping. He is an enormously talented baritone who I hope he gets a shot at the role during the run.

    • Sempre liberal

      Re. Norma -- I endorse Victoria Clark (“Fable” from The Light in the Piazza is superb). My secret Norma wish is Christine Ebersole. (No longer a secret.)

      Re. Turandot -- not my favorite opera, BUT as a teenager in Scranton PA in the 1980s, I sent in a question to the opera quiz about Ping, Pang, and Pong, and it was chosen and I got ~7 CDs and a one year subscription to Opera News. I was in heaven.