Twenty years on, Glen Close reprises her Tony Award-winning role as the deluded screen star Norma Desmond and makes her much-anticipated West End debut in Lonny Price’s ‘semi-staged’ production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s SUNSET BOULEVARD for it’s five week run at the London Coliseum. Based on the classic Academy Award-winning 1950 noir film, stylised on screen as SUNSET BLVD., written and directed by Billy Wilder, starring Gloria Swanson, the black comedy is cited as one of the greats of American cinema.
Lloyd Webber’s musical version with book and lyrics by Don Black and Christopher Hampton premiered at London’s Aldephi Theatre in 1993 with Patti Lupone in the lead role before making it’s Broadway debut a year later with Glenn Close playing the fading star of the silent era living in the past in her decaying mansion on the fabled Los Angeles street.
Norma Desmond’s immortal line at the end “And now, Mr DeMille I am ready for my close-up,” has that little bit more significance with Ms Close delivering it.
Fans packed the stage door barriers on Saturday evening and surrounded the car, waiting for her exit. I managed to squeeze into a spot over the bonnet and after she had signed for the barrier areas, stood on the vehicle’s runner board and graphed some items on the roof of the car, including my sketch, which I slide across, strategically stopping in front of the star’s skedaddling sharpie. It’s a bit scrawly but it’s Glenn’s and it’s in person and it captures the moment perfectly.