Sunset Boulevard: The Musical

Today in "Things that Shouldn't Exist."

Comments

1
I've seen the show twice and Linda Mugleston is AMAZING! I haven't heard a single bad thing from anyone who has seen the show and Linda playing Norma. They all LOVED her! I think your comments are a little harsh. Of course it's no New York Broadway show with millions of dollars put into the set, but what PCS did with the budget they had was fantastic. Context people. Context.
2
Basically it boils down to a bad book: it can't make up its mind what it wants to be. And it can't decide if everyone curses a blue streak in 1950 Hollywood, or never utters a single bit of profanity at all. The same is true of smoking. Apparently only two people smoked back then.

Then you got the male lead. I think Linda does the best she can with Norma, but the Joe is just awful. He recites lines as if he's reading them. He cues others by sounding exactly like he's giving cues. He has the (Canadian?) habit of leaning way too hard on his consonants, leading to pronunciations like "writTer" and "parTy." He's supposed to be a lovable heel, not an asshole who also has no discernible personality.

I actually kind of like some of the songs. But there too is part of the problem: are you trying to provide us with good, campy fun or pathos and soul-searching? It's not impossible to write a musical that is both an exploration of aging and delusion while also being bitterly funny, but this ain't it. And yeah, the Joe and Betty love story is complete bullshit.
3
@hami

I thought she was perfectly fine. She didn't singlehandedly justify the production's existence, is all. And @rich bachelor, well put.
4
I'm reminded of a line from EVITA: "As a mere observer of this tasteless phenomenon. You have to admire the stage management."

I watched Wilder's SUNSET BOULEVARD about a week before PCS announced its season. I enjoyed the Gothic campiness and Gloria Swanson's over-the-top performance as much as ever. Out of curiosity, I decided to check out the score to see how Andrew Lloyd Webber had handled it. I thought his songs for Norma showed a combination of bravado and vulnerability, that Max's song was unsingable, and that they found a very conventional musical theatre way to depict the movie's very conventional romantic subplot.

I had some friends in from out of town, who also knew the film, and, thanks to MercPerks, we all sat down after exploring the Armory expecting some kind of interesting train wreck.

But Kevin Reed's performance aside (he is, after all, playing an untalented writer) I liked Chris Coleman's staging. I liked the use of projection. I liked the minimalist sets. I liked Linda Mugleston's voice and Larry Daggett's gutsy handling of the ridiculous vocal range of "The Greatest Star of All." I liked the fun they had with SAMSON AND DELILAH, the DeMille film within the film.

I didn't quite get the "close-up image of a woman's face" serving as a backdrop at first but that's Gloria Swanson up there (appropriately enough from the film STAGE STRUCK) and I think it's both an homage and the face Norma Desmond thinks she's showing the camera when everyone around her is looking on in shock and disbelief.
5
You don't have to love this particular musical to love Linda Mugleston in it. She is awesome.
6
Saw the 10/14 evening performance. It was a thoroughly entertaining production (I go to the theater to be entertained...I am looking to find my new inner self - call me a hillbilly). I've seen worse on Broadway and in the West End. Just curious...Ms. Hallett, have you ever attended musical theater outside of the Portland area? Why would you compare Linda Mugleston to Glen Close when you haven't seen her in the the role? Reportedly, Glen Close's vocal performance was considered weak by some. I don't think anyone would suggest that Linda Mugleston has weak voice. If you want to see a company of very gifted performers, go see Sunset Boulevard at PCS. I don't agree with Ms. Hallett...this is not a failed production in any sense. As hami said, it was fantastic! Chris Coleman really knows how to bring big Broadway to the small stage (with a small budget).