Closed 2h 40m
Sunset Boulevard
Midtown W
84

Sunset Boulevard NYC Reviews and Tickets

84%
(1047 Reviews)
Positive
91%
Mixed
7%
Negative
2%
Members say
Great acting, Entertaining, Great singing, Absorbing, Must see

About the Show

Three-time Tony Award-winner Glenn Close returns to Broadway in her most iconic role, Norma Desmond, in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Tony-winning musical. 

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Member Reviews (1047)

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95
Great music, Must see, Riveting, Profound

See it if Close is Norma. Flawless. Great music, moving story. Fascinating, enthralling. Must see.

Don't see it if The bare stage is a let down for those who saw the original lavish production. A MUST see. Read more

97
Moving, Entertaining, Beautiful score, Incredible acting, Exquisite

See it if Theater at its best! Close is spellbinding & emotionally powerful!Mesmerizing start to finish. Days later it still resonates strong.

Don't see it if The vocals are not the best on broadway, but Close's acting more than makes up for it! A must see for first timers & fans of the original!

Critic Reviews (74)

February 9th, 2017

"It is a show that exists almost entirely to let its star blaze to her heart’s content. The light she casts is so dazzling, this seems an entirely sufficient reason to be...What was one of the great stage performances of the 20th century has been reinvented, in terms both larger and more intimate, that may well guarantee its status as one the great stage performances of this century, too...The musical, on the other hand, seems and sounds thin, despite the velveteen lushness of its orchestra."
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February 9th, 2017

"Those who go to see Close reprise her celebrated turn in the musical’s 1994 Broadway production will not be disappointed...Close holds the stage with a feverish intensity that transcends camp...If only she could be in every scene! For the rest of 'Sunset Boulevard,' adapted from Billy Wilder’s timeless 1950 film, is mostly a languorous slog...This is second-rate Lloyd Webber: filler songs that loop and repeat exhaustingly, set to lyrics that often clunk."
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February 9th, 2017

"A train wreck of a revival starring a woeful Close...At every opportunity Hampton and Black take material that kept its balance at the edge of camp and shoves its way over the line...The current revival, in attempting to emphasize the show’s musical strengths, only exposes the nonmusical elements to further criticism...It pains me to say that Close's second outing as Norma is no triumph...Her new interpretation of Norma—a mite more playful and less otherworldly—actually makes things worse."
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February 20th, 2017

"Webber doesn’t write music that one can sing without 'soaring'...I never really warmed to the movie that the musical is based on, just as I haven’t warmed to the musical: its atmosphere is at once messy and banal; its relentless pop façade and the constant drama of its music preclude intimacy and distance us from feeling, while encouraging a kind of aggressive contempt. None of the characters are truly big, let alone human, even as they play big."
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February 9th, 2017

"Close delivers a more subtle, nuanced performance well suited to a production dramatically scaled down from the original...The lush orchestrations do ample justice to the beauty of Lloyd Webber’s score...The book by Christopher Hampton and Don Black is largely faithful to the film, although its lack of nuance sometimes gives the musical an excessively campy feel that thankfully is now lessened...Ultimately, it’s Close’s return that is this revival’s reason for being."
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February 9th, 2017

"Close acknowledges the decades of high camp baked into Desmond’s glittery delusions. But even as she plays them for laughs, she digs for the pathos too. Whether mourning her dead pet chimpanzee, begging her recalcitrant lover not to leave, or drawing out the money notes from Lloyd Weber’s lavish score, she takes care to keep her hands cupped around the tender flame of humanity that still flickers somewhere beneath all the brittle melodrama."
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February 9th, 2017

"Glenn Close makes a triumphant return to the star role of Norma Desmond...Some roles you really have to grow into, and Close claims diva status this time around...Lloyd Webber’s luscious music (burdened by clunky lyrics by Don Black and Christopher Hampton) is performed by a huge on-stage orchestra that lives by its strings...Close delivers a genuine show-stopper in 'As If We Never Said Goodbye'...If you want to see grown men weeping in the aisles, this is your moment."
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February 9th, 2017

"Ms. Close’s performance, by turns adamantine and childishly needy, is as memorable in its own way as was that of Gloria Swanson in the movie. No, the fundamental problem with turning 'Sunset Boulevard' into a musical is that it is perfect...The truth is that 'Sunset Boulevard' doesn’t need songs, or anything else that it doesn’t already have in abundance. Saving Ms. Close’s presence, to change anything at all is necessarily to diminish the film’s overwhelming effect."
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February 14th, 2017

"Trimmed, scaled down and economically revitalized by director Lonny Price, the old opulence stripped of its glamour...It is clear from her first entrance down that treacherous staircase looking like a drag queen who owns the stage...The magic Close conjures of the brevity of fame is as rare on the proscenium stage today as that 40-piece orchestra. Her experience, knowledge and craft prove that 'Sunset Boulevard' is an old warhorse that can still finish the race in first place."
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February 9th, 2017

"Close brings an added vulnerability that would be maudlin if it weren’t so fragile-seeming...This company is spectacularly well cast...There are a couple of good songs and one great number in the show...The book and lyrics by Christopher Hampton and Don Black pay homage to the film’s celebrated lines and have their smart-ish moments. There are some deeply silly passages...Still, the show holds together and Close is every ounce the star she is playing."
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February 9th, 2017

"A performance that’s gutsier and more gripping than ever. Her mesmerizingly spooky, clinging Norma, dissolving bit by bit into a dementia of faded silver-screen glory, blots out everything else in this eternally second-tier musical—except for the gorgeous crescendos of the 40-member orchestra...One wishes there was a more compelling rationale to dissect other aspects of the show, but 'Sunset' doesn’t reveal many new colors in this revival."
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February 9th, 2017

"You could argue that 'Sunset' is a commentary on women in Hollywood — but Hampton and Lloyd Webber never really followed Wilder there. And Price is not about to take that on here either, any more than he is about to cast anybody who might pull too much focus from the star...What makes this performance work is Close's palpable vulnerability...It's a very tart and terrifying performance at the core of one of the more lush, sentimental and absurd musicals of the 20th century."
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February 9th, 2017

"If a few vocals are strained, Close commands the stage in this concert production from the English National Opera. That goes double during 'As If We Never Said Goodbye'...The song is beautiful. The visual is stirring. The 40-piece on-stage orchestra soars, as does Close. The moment is as good as musical theater gets. Otherwise the musical is a mixed bag with choppy tonal shifts. Director Lonny Price can’t fix that. But he has assembled a fine cast."
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February 9th, 2017

"The revival makes a strong case for Lloyd Webber’s music (an uneven but bold mix of sweeping romantic melodies, jazz and underscoring) and Don Black and Christopher Hampton’s book, if not their prosaic lyrics...Despite some obvious vocal difficulties, Close once again gives a fully invested, psychologically revealing performance...Michael Xavier has a strapping presence and a pleasing rock tenor voice, but he gives a shallow performance that downplays Gillis’ self-loathing."
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February 10th, 2017

"It’s been a while since Broadway has had a bona fide, pull-out-the-stops star performance, but Glenn Close’s return as Norma Desmond is all that and more…It’s a leaner production, musically enhanced and guaranteed to make you surrender! The voice is huskier now, but every bit as powerful…The minimalist staging allows for a sharper focus…Her co-stars are equally winning…Close is delivering one of those ‘must-see’ performances that come around every decade or so."
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February 9th, 2017

"Close delivers as if no time has gone by at all. Joined by a 40-piece orchestra, we're privileged to witness theater history in the making...Price's discombobulating staging, which often features his actors running up and down the Escher stairs to nowhere, doesn't really achieve a feeling of intimacy...All bets are off when Close hits the stage...It's not cliché to say that we can hear a pin drop during each number as she commands the spotlight in triumph."
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February 9th, 2017

“Watching Glenn Close completely enthrall and mesmerize an audience with her two dramatic solos is a reminder that musical theatre is at its most thrilling when musical moments are enhanced by incisive acting…Her expertise helps overcome the flawed material…Webber's music effectively imitates the splendor of classic film soundtracks…Black and Hampton's lyrics, however, rarely rise above perfunctory imagery and rhyming…Close is the reason to rush to the Palace these days."
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February 22nd, 2017

"Close's singing has deteriorated significantly...In a way, this works to her advantage, making all the more poignant Norma's stab at regaining her youthful glory, but I wished for more...Lonny Price hasn't been able to rein in certain of his star's occasional excesses...The songs are a random series of hits and misses...'Sunset Boulevard' isn't a great musical, but it's a pretty good vehicle, at least if the right star is on hand. Close's performance is sufficiently titanic to justify this limited-run return."
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February 9th, 2017

"Glenn Close makes it look effortless...The songs work together flawlessly, setting up the thesis and then proving it, all the while Close bewitching you as surely as Norma does her cherished 'people in the dark'...Whether 'Sunset Boulevard' is everything a musical is supposed to be is another matter. It plays very well, though in most part because it follows Wilder's prescriptions (and dialogue) closely...Price's attempts at taming this beast are valiant and largely successful."
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February 17th, 2017

"Glenn Close triumphs again in this inventively scaled down and hugely entertaining revival...Ms. Close is still sleek, fearless and riveting...Embracing the role’s campiness, yet being totally realistic, Close gives one of those monumental performances of musical theater history. This is no mere star showcase, as the rest of the cast is of comparable caliber...Besides being a victory for Ms. Close and Mr. Price, this revival is also one for Mr. Lloyd Webber"
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February 22nd, 2017

"There are two reasons to see 'Sunset Boulevard': Glenn Close and Glenn Close’s costumes...Close plays Norma to the rafters, but at the same time makes her frighteningly real...Xavier is credible but he doesn’t stand a chance next to Close’s outsized Norma...The score is not Lloyd Webber’s best...Close is what makes this 'Sunset Boulevard' tick. Her singing voice may flatten occasionally, very occasionally, on a high note, but her presence, and oh what a presence, never fails to mesmerize."
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February 17th, 2017

“Glenn Close is better than ever…This revival may be more Encores style concert than the ornately staged original, but it's big in all the right ways…This is Andrew Lloyd Webber's best and richest score. Instead of one much reprised ear-clinger, he's written several show-stoppers…All this is not to say that Close's Norma, though touchingly vulnerable and doesn't make for a story that's overly melodramatic, incredible and old-fashioned."
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February 16th, 2017

"Glenn Close is this generation’s Shirley Jones...She has mastered the art of bringing controlled madness to her method. Of all the big names attached to this production, the most important is Billy Wilder. The 1950 film which he co-wrote and directed is so chock full of bullet-proof source material, it is impossible not to be entertained by any decent adaptation...Mr. Johanson is fabulous as Max, with his deep voice miraculously ranging into falsetto territory."
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February 17th, 2017

"The production cuts back on the gargantuan sets, but in doing so it restores the essence of the story which is that everything should rely on Norma’s face. And what a face! Close easily morphs into whatever the situation calls for...What’s truly remarkable about her work here is she is able to communicate a myriad of emotions without the aid of closeups, her singing, her body language, and the larger than life expressions force us to zoom into her, as if we almost didn’t have a choice."
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February 9th, 2017

"The score, by Andrew Lloyd Webber is lush and gorgeous for the most part...The orchestra’s work is both glorious and rich, like an old-fashioned musical should sound. The downside is that at times the orchestra placement distracts from the very personal story that is being told on stage...When the show is attached to Close and her Norma, 'Sunset Boulevard' works, but without that star power, it shrivels down to a very pedestrian tale that doesn’t have the power to intoxicate."
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February 17th, 2017

"'Sunset Boulevard' is ersatz opera of the outsized and mostly overwrought kind that Broadway audiences have been eating up, on and off, since the 1980s. It’s noteworthy, then, that this production cast Glenn Close, whose voice is, to put it politely, far from operatic. Her power resides in her acting; her Norma manages, at its best, to be both steely and vulnerable, sinking into herself and dominating everything and everyone. Most of the other cast members hardly register by comparison."
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February 17th, 2017

"Price's staging, in a fatal mistake, fails to capture the darkness, being surprisingly upbeat, and with only scattered moments of the needed gothic anxiety demanded by the story...Close's...pitchy singing voice is not Broadway's best, but her acting is strong enough, even within the deliberately broad, almost grotesque, theatricality she adopts to jerk tears when she launches into 'With One Look.' But the emphasis on her exaggerations takes the show too far from its deeper implications."
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February 12th, 2017

"Frequently Close’s unsure of her pitch...As this 'Sunset Boulevard' marches along, it’s clear that Close is on hand for the acting and for striding effectively about in the flowing robes and turbans...The whole script is credulity strained....What this 'Sunset Boulevard' does have in its favor is what it always had: the score. It’s enhanced immeasurably by one of the largest Broadway orchestras in years...The supporting players all possess musical and acting ability beyond the call of duty."
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February 23rd, 2017

"Vocal challenges notwithstanding, there is not a moment Close is on stage that is not pure gold. And when she's off, all you can do is await her return. It's a good thing, too, because as a musical, 'Sunset Boulevard' has little reason to exist. This is not one of Mr. Lloyd Webber's stronger scores, lacking the cohesiveness of 'Evita,' say...Lonny Price directs the enterprise the way Norma would want to be directed by Cecil B. DeMille, with her at the center of the universe."
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B
February 9th, 2017

"Although her voice sounded a bit pinched at times, her Norma Desmond is one for the ages. She is joined by a fine supporting cast...Instead of lavish sets, we get a 40-piece orchestra onstage. Unfortunately, the larger orchestra does not improve the quality of the music...If you love the film and are a fan of Glenn Close, you will have a good time. If you do not appreciate Andrew Lloyd Webber’s music, you might not."
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February 9th, 2017

"Close gives a bravura performance: funny, over-the-top, ridiculous. The only vulnerability Close brings to the role, however, is her singing voice...Unfortunately, Price’s direction doesn’t solve the show’s many problems...Lloyd Webber’s opening four songs emerge as tuneless recitative with flat lyrics by book writers Don Black and Christopher Hampton, who completely muddle the story."
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February 19th, 2017

"Close is sensational in the role on many counts and deserves every bit of the prolonged ovations she is getting...Lonny Price as director knows exactly how to showcase her...The strong, pulsating score adds intensity, but I have to say that I find the sing-song rhythm and tonality of dialogue in various recitative passages annoying. But that is a quibble. This is a hugely entertaining musical and a chance to enjoy the artistry of Glenn Close at the height of her stage power."
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W
February 20th, 2017

"Both music and lyrics here are pedestrian...A good singer and actor (not to mention eye candy), Xavier is made to sympathize with Gillis’s benefactor to such a degree, we lose the repulsion and self loathing, mercenary attitude prevalent in the original...The role of proud, desperate, unbalanced Norma is less camp than frequent embodiment in Glenn Close’s well practiced hands...Though vocals can be thin or off key, the performer never loses focus or verisimilitude."
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T
February 26th, 2017

"Not only has Close deepened her interpretation, but Lonny Price’s new staging is an imaginative stripped-down retake of Trevor Nunn’s gargantuan 1994 edition. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s synthetic score and the simplistic book and lyrics by Don Black and Christopher Hampton still fail to approach the noir nightmare vision of Hollywood created in Billy Wilder’s legendary 1950 film. But with Price’s more intimate staging, Close’s magnificent performance is even more striking."
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February 21st, 2017

"The staging by Lonny Price is sensational...Price and his team insured that the brilliant orchestra was a centerpiece of this production...Close gives a master class in performance as the maddened fading star. Mystifying is an understatement...It's easy to get lost with everything that this production brings but Michael Xavier was an incredible leading man...Between Glenn Close and the breathtaking orchestra, you'll never want to say goodbye to this perfect production."
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February 22nd, 2017

"Its sound is certainly robust. Maybe too much so. It could be that my ears just aren't used to such a full sound. Or it could be that Lloyd-Webber's score isn't weighty enough to support an orchestra of that size...Close certainly throws herself into the role...Her singing isn't always on key but that lends an extra poignancy to the character...But, like Norma, Close eats up nearly all the oxygen in the room...It can be hard to resist viewing 'Sunset Boulevard' as high camp."
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February 9th, 2017

"There is something fitting, even satisfying about this less elaborate, modest incarnation...Close is just as daring but less campy and even more touching as the aging movie queen...Almost as important is the casting of Xavier, the first Joe I’ve seen to capture William Holden’s attractive, increasingly corrupted nonchalance of Norma’s boy toy...The show is a limited edition selling paste and glitter as treasures. As long as we know what we’re getting, however, costume jewelry can be fun."
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February 17th, 2017

"Close’s performance is, of course, goosebump-enducing and electric...All the surrounding ballast of singing and dancing in the show—the songs about Hollywood and its venal, sanity-shredding ways—is a slickly executed pleasure to watch...But these moments do not feature Glenn Close, and therefore, brutally, feel a little redundant. Any moment without Close on stage starts to feel like a frothy musical about those ye-gads crazy kids trying to make it in Hollywood."
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February 10th, 2017

"There are a few times when Close skirts the edge of parody...But, taken as a whole, it’s an assured, commanding performance by an actress who knows how to deliver the theatrical goods...A dynamic, imaginatively rethought presentation by director Lonny Price...The show’s main problem, although not a disqualifying one, is the pedestrian book...However, Close’s panache and Lloyd Webber’s music are more than enough to carry the evening."
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February 9th, 2017

"Aside from the enormous orchestra—and perhaps a bulbous chandelier that makes the one from 'Phantom' seem like a toddler’s night light—there’s little here to distract from Close’s mesmerizing Norma, or Lloyd Webber’s pop friendly score...Michael Xavier stands out as writer Joe Gillis...The musical is over the top, and we remain head over heels for Close’s so-very-delicate Norma Desmond."
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T
February 20th, 2017

“While it’s lovely to hear and see such a grand orchestra, the audience is constantly looking around to find where the actors are, and the orchestrations and arrangements are so mundane that a smaller band might have sufficed…Close is fine as Norma but sometimes gets caught between playing it serious and camping it up…The ghost of the classic film hovers over the proceedings onstage, hoping the musical will get better, but except for too few shining moments, it never does.”
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M
February 18th, 2017

"In her latest incarnation, Norma Desmond is totally heart-breaking...Glenn Close is delivering a complex portrait that is as tender as it is thrilling...This, along with the scaled-down grandeur and melodramatic fervour of director Lonny Price’s imaginative production, makes this revival an event of the first magnitude...Furthermore, Lloyd Webber’s score soars to formidable heights with a 40-piece orchestra prominently placed on stage, heightening both the show’s shifting moods and musicality."
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February 18th, 2017

"Director Lonny Price has come up with a daring new production concept...Andrew Lloyd Webber has given her lush melodies, and Don Black’s and Christopher Hampton’s lyrics rise to the occasion whenever she bursts into song...Close gives an epic performance from start to finish, and reminds us just how powerful such great work can be...The story of 'Sunset Boulevard' is solid, but its supporting characters are not written with the same perception and depth of its leading lady."
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March 5th, 2017

"Ms. Close fails to achieve Swanson's gravitas; the latter's pencil-thin eyebrows and Svengali stare create a profoundly haunting effect that is absent here...[and the writers] devote far too much time to Joe and his other love interest, Betty Schaeffer (Siobhan Dillon). Betty is a tug on Joe's sleeve, a reminder of the outside world, but her presence in this musical draws too much attention away from its central and far more interesting plot."
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February 19th, 2017

"The material, it turns out, is pretty sturdy. And with a more seasoned Glenn Close bringing new nuance to her interpretation of Norma, it offers ample spectacle of a different kind: the spectacle of unhinged megalomania and vanity. Better yet, it offers the biggest orchestra on Broadway...Lloyd Webber really did himself proud with this one...Close plays these big moments, and all of Norma’s many others, with an intelligence and imagination rare among divas."
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February 13th, 2017

"The musical is based on the brilliantly witty 1950 Billy Wilder movie...The musical softens things a bit, so Norma isn’t quite as grotesque and Joe isn’t nearly as hard boiled...Fortunately, despite some so-so passages of recitative, it still retains power as it explores dark territory involving disappearing stardom and escalating illusion...Close breaks your heart, especially with her two showstoppers."
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February 9th, 2017

"Director Lonny Price and his lead actress seem determined to force you out of the moment, overloading the production with so many 'Major Theatrical Event' moments and signposts that it all starts to sag beneath the weight of its own self-importance...Lloyd Webber's score is less brash, more elegantly poignant than his other work -- but it's hardly at the level of, say, Bernstein's 'West Side Story,' in terms of demanding this near-symphonic treatment."
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February 9th, 2017

"Those clamoring for Glenn Close’s musical return to Broadway won’t be disappointed. She gives a suitably grandiose performance...Close more than matches the fiery energy of the 40-piece orchestra...Despite the scenery chewing (which may likely be the draw), the production lacks an acerbic bite. It plays the would-be tragedy as bright and sunny...Xavier’s natural effulgence (surely a boon in other roles) can sometimes work against this beleaguered character’s inner darkness."
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W
February 11th, 2017

“‘Sunset Boulevard’ always brought out the crowds, but its high production costs meant it cost a lot of money. The current revival tries to solve that problem with a bare-bones set, a bare stage girded with ramps and stairs. Unfortunately, that only emphasizes the repetitive music and the leaden book and lyrics. The bright spot? Glenn Close…She captures both the wily manipulations of the aging film star and her anxious fragility."
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February 23rd, 2017

"From the confusing direction by Lonny Price to the most utilitarian set of scaffoldings by James Noone, this production lacks the majesty and grandeur of the original...The quality of the performances varies indeed. Of course the people have come to see Close recreate her magical performance, but in this instance it is more of a caricature...She still brings a haunting sincerity to the role...As for the other three leads, it is anyone’s guess of why they have transferred to Broadway."
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April 10th, 2017

"Despite the grand tragedy and the grand Andrew Lloyd Webber score, this revived 'Sunset Boulevard' seems a tad reduced in general, and, by contrast, Close’s performance overblown. In the end, it’s out of balance...If Close’s Norma delivers perverse amusement, the rest of the cast provides traditional melodramatic ballast...Andrew Lloyd Webber’s score holds up pretty well, presented richly by a 36 piece orchestra."
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March 28th, 2017

“Glenn Close's performance is extraordinary. Perhaps even priceless. But worth $299?...The show just isn't that good. Most of the sections that focus on Norma, Joe (Michael Xavier), Max (Fred Johanson), and Betty (Siobhan Dillon) are strong, particularly as played by this excellent cast. But the parties and other filler scenes are tedious. Many of the songs are indistinguishable from each other and dozens of other Lloyd Webber creations. The choreography is lame.”
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February 9th, 2017

"The production has its quirks—it's the play, if anything, that got small—but Close is spectacular...It almost seems that Price has pushed so much of the show—the set, the other actors, the other storylines—into the background, to allow two things to take center stage: Close's performance, and Lloyd Webber's score. At the moments when they come together, they are breathtaking."
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February 21st, 2017

"Despite Close's tour-de-force performance, director Lonny Price's skilled direction keeps the other performances from being lost in the sweep of one of Norma's many flowing, glittering outfits...The score sounds fabulous thanks to the huge 40-piece orchestra which takes up the rear of the stage...While Close's performance is stunning, her singing voice is less than optimal, especially in the higher ranges."
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February 20th, 2017

"Close is totally centered and zeroed-in on the script and score…She is even better now that she was in 1994…Close was 47 when she debuted the show on Broadway, which means that 70 is now not far away. And yet, that makes Norma’s need that much greater…The Greatest Orchestra on Broadway embellished with symphony-level sound ‘The Greatest Star of All’ and all the other potent Lloyd Webber-Black-Hampton songs."
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February 21st, 2017

"The score isn’t Webber’s absolute best...The best moments, however, are among the best things Webber ever wrote, and hearing those lushly rendered by that enormous ensemble really is a treat...As pleasurable as the lush arrangements and Close’s grand opera scale emoting are, it still feels like they add up to a bit less than the sum of their parts. Director Lonny Price’s minimalist staging doesn’t make any convincing arguments for it either."
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T
March 12th, 2017

"As Close portrays her, she is a universal character, embittered by her faded glory to the point of being delusional...Deftly directed by Lonny Price...This is one of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s more beautiful scores, in my opinion...Xavier is a dashing tenor, and here he definitely wins the bathing suit contest. Siobhan Dillon, making her Broadway debut as the young woman who catches Joe’s eye, comes as a welcome relief to the vamps of old. But, Glenn Close is in a class of her own."
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February 28th, 2017

“An overwhelming bravura performance…Extraordinary Glenn Close found the award-winning role of a lifetime twenty years ago as a great, mad silent film star, Norma Desmond, and has brought it back to Broadway, greater, madder, more wonderful than ever, richer in every detail. If you love theatre, you owe it to yourself to experience this once-in-a-lifetime triumph. You’ll talk about it forever…Webber's music only comes to greatness when its star sings and acts to the fullest."
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February 13th, 2017

"Even though the show was (and still is) filled with the sweeping melodies...I found the show itself less-than-satisfying. I assumed that a decent musical lurked under all of that messy production nonsense. Well, I was wrong...Most of the current critics have raved about Close’s performance...And I agree, she was good. But the thin book and mundane lyrics gave her very little to work with...The rest of the production is more than adequate."
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February 13th, 2017

"Glenn Close blew us away some 23 years ago in the role of Norma Desmond and she wows us once again in one of my favorite Andrew Lloyd Webber shows...This pared-down revival...doesn’t have the monstrous sets and the big sweeping stairway which, frankly, I was hoping to see once again, but it does have a fabulous concert-style big orchestra behind an excellent cast...You must make sure you see 'Sunset Boulevard' if only to see a sensational Glenn Close."
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March 2nd, 2017

"Close certainly has a commanding presence as the tragic Norma Desmond. Her voice is not first rate, though the vocal impurities add to the sadness of the aging diva who is cracking before our very eyes. That being said, I don't see anything singular about Close's performance that wouldn't have been conveyed by any other film actress of a certain age...The Patti fan in me loves to hate Close's singing, but you cannot deny her extraordinary range as an actress."
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February 22nd, 2017

"Close, though overly mannered, is captivating whenever and wherever she is onstage — to the detriment of co-star Xavier, who sings well but lacks any degree of Close's presence. Not their chemistry but the competition between her charisma and Price's restrictive production drives the evening. The result is at times suffocating, but there are also moments that scorch like film caught in a projector."
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Z
February 9th, 2017

"The chance to see this beautiful work is rare. So please, go see it...'Sunset' plays strongly to Webber’s strengths, a composer who succeeds in broad strokes. And there are many musical moments in 'Sunset' that are absolutely stunning...This cast, lead by a sixty-nine year old Ms. Close, is excellent. Webber’s lush score soars with an orchestra of 40...But the night comes with pitfalls. Price’s production borrows from a (now somewhat tired) trend toward minimalism."
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February 26th, 2017

"Close as Norma milks the moment for all it’s worth...She fills it with grand gestures, appropriate for a delusional diva, but her voice is surprisingly thin. She commits herself completely to the role, unafraid to appear grotesque, but it all seems stylized, like Japanese Noh theater. In the end, I admired her craft yet left unmoved...Despite my reservations, there are other redeeming features to this production. Xavier is a real hunk as Joe...And Dillon is very appealing as Betty."
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April 4th, 2016
For a previous production

"Close gives great diva…There is tragic desperation behind her brittle bravado…However, ‘Sunset Boulevard’ also features too many of Lloyd Webber’s more workmanlike tunes…This show feels weighed down with syrupy bombast and flat-footed motifs…Oddly, all of this actually feels more dated than Wilder’s film, which was written 50 years before, but contained far more nuance and irony. A more adventurous creative team might have found a way to tease out a little more moral ambiguity."
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April 5th, 2016
For a previous production

"The extra years change Desmond, and make Webber’s musical less credible, but more creepy and more poignant…The bare-stage simplicity lets your imagination do the work…It’s Webber’s score that really benefits, sumptuously arranged for a full orchestra and sung with real expression…Freed of the need to cohere onstage, with a nimble staging to match the darts of the book, you get to hear ‘Sunset Boulevard’ for what it is—not for what usually gets in its way."
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April 5th, 2016
For a previous production

"A breathtaking performance from Glenn Close…The book and lyrics, which remain commendably faithful to the movie, make their mark...But the chief pleasure lies in watching Close. Her big achievement is to treat the character not as a grotesque harpy but as a real woman…It may not be a perfect musical, but a show that in 1993 seemed too big and spectacular to catch the ironic tone of the Wilder movie has been given a new lease of life."
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April 5th, 2016
For a previous production

"Webber’s most under-valued musical is confirmed in Lonny Price’s semi-staged revival as a glorious, creepy (if resolutely technicolor) thrill a minute–bristling with lush, brooding songs apt to nestle inside your head and keep you awake at night in tormented ecstasy. While Price hasn’t stinted on stripped-back razzmatazz, central to the evening’s tingle-factor is Close’s performance…From the smithy of her undoubted vocal talent she draws forth one molten number after another."
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April 5th, 2016
For a previous production

"Close is so good that it almost feels rude to point out that, like many later Webber musicals, ‘Sunset’ is not brilliant...The quality of the performances are top-drawer...The full orchestra sounds absolutely wonderful on one of Webber’s loveliest scores. And director Price’s dimly lit, film noir-ish semi-staging works fantastically well...It’s a classy show all round, but Webberphobes may wistfully wonder what this once-in-a-lifetime assemblage of talent could have done with a better musical."
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April 5th, 2016
For a previous production

"Glenn Close's West End debut is a triumph…She’s majestic, tormented and teasingly seductive. Close played the role on Broadway more than 20 years ago, and at 69 she remains completely persuasive as this manipulative, demonstrative and sometimes ridiculous diva…The book is rarely subtle and the lyrics are often pedestrian. But while the score is occasionally ponderous, it contains passages of opulent romanticism…In the end, though, this is a mighty vehicle for a mesmerizing star."
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April 8th, 2016
For a previous production

"With a set of metal ramps and stairs resembling a railway station rather than a Hollywood mansion, the spotlight is on the performers. Close is terrific, veering from the perfumed petulance of a hyperventilating child to the uncomfortable vulnerability of an ageing seductress. If her upper register is abrasively sharp and some of her notes a tad errant, she makes up for it by diving deep into the character. Xavier is a little too smooth at the start but adds color and shade as he progresses."
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April 5th, 2016
For a previous production

"Close gives a performance that shades and shimmers like one of sequined gowns: grandly majestic...But while there's a wild-eyed creepiness here, it would also be impossible to remain unmoved by the tragedy of her grand delusions. Close is unafraid to be vulnerable; that carries, even in such a large venue..The big number, ‘With One Look,’ which winds through Lloyd Webber's persuasive, evocative score, is as insistent and irresistible as ever."
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April 5th, 2016
For a previous production

"Close can go from tender to psychotic in a second…The problem with the musical as opposed to screen Norma Desmond is that she has to sing, a lot. That's not to suggest that Close has lost any of the powerful chest voice needed for the role. It's just that her first two signature numbers are simple-banal…It's an efficient evening rather than an involving one; but Lloyd Webber enthusiasts should be well satisfied."
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April 5th, 2016
For a previous production

"This production boasts two major factors that should put it on everyone’s must-see list. Firstly, the performance of Glenn Close and secondly the 48-piece orchestra…Close is mesmerizing...This is 1000-watt star power and it makes for an intoxicating evening of theatre...If anything the nature of this staging only brings out the performances and shows the considerable talents of Close, Xavier and the cast...Wilder’s film noir transfers perfectly."
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