Oh, how the audience responded to Glenn Close as she came on the stage! Enthusiastic at first, then escalating to wild applause with every scene, especially the beginning of the second act when “Norma” sings her “big number.”
This production of “Sunset Boulevard” was a riveting mix of Hollywood film and Broadway stage with all the glamour they can both portray. And Glenn kept up the magic, as she wrapped her “boy toy” in a web of need, greed and comfort. He hated himself all right, but not enough to leave. There was an amusing frisson of laughter when “Joe” gets out of the “pool” and the real Michael Xavier laughs with them and at himself and his role. (Not sure if this happens with every show, but on our night it did.)
The ending is of course, history, but the story is sadly truthful, as Norma Desmond tried to “make a comeback” with Cecil B. DeMille. Joe Gillis, her “writer,” her loyal chauffeur, indeed everyone humors her as she climbs her mountain of self-denial trying to relive her earlier stardom. It is pitiful, but never during the entire three hours can one feel sorry for Glenn Close. SHE is the consummate Star and obviously loving every minute of her adoring fans (including her ex-husband that evening).