Glenn Farr?

ComingUpRoses2
Leading Actor
joined:3/14/11
Glenn Close?
Posted: 7/17/12 at 02:49am
So, I've heard a lot of people diss Glenn Close and her singing voice, but after hearing her sing a few songs, I can't understand what's so terrible about it. Can someone please enlighten me?

I know she stole Norma away from Patti LuPone, but she did quite well with the show. Sure, Patti, Betty, and Elaine all sang it better, but Glenn never struck me as a bad singer at all. In fact, I think she sounds quite lovely most of the time.

I just don't understand the hatred for her as a musical theatre actress.
CATSNYrevival
Broadway Legend
joined:3/1/04
Glenn Close?
Posted: 7/17/12 at 03:06am
She didn't steal Norma away from Patti. I think Patti even says in her book that Glenn may not have known what went down between Patti and the Really Useful Group. She was likely not made aware.

I do agree, though. Glenn isn't the best singer, but she acted the hell out of that role and really made the show look a lot better than it was.



That's right! Underscore mother-fu@#ers!
Updated On: 7/17/12 at 03:06 AM
jimmycurry01
Broadway Legend
joined:5/28/05
Glenn Close?
Posted: 7/17/12 at 03:27am
She isn't a bad singer, she just isn't a great singer when compared to a number of other women who took on the role. Glenn Close did act the sh1t out of that role though. She just seemed to get it.
Will42
Broadway Star
joined:5/27/10
Glenn Close?
Posted: 7/17/12 at 03:38am
I donĚt get in either. Barbara Cook she ainĚt, but still her voice is beautiful and more importantly she can act the role like nobody else can and that is what any great musical performer must be able to do. Glenn Close is a phenomenal actress, probably the greatest of her generation.
ComingUpRoses2
Leading Actor
joined:3/14/11
Glenn Close?
Posted: 7/17/12 at 03:41am
I'm so glad to know I'm not alone here. I usually only hear blind hatred for her every time she sings. Acting always comes first for me. Sure, a great voice helps, but if a pretty voice can't sell the song and make me feel something, why should I care?

From the clips I've seen of her as Norma, she was terrific and heartbreaking.
The Scorpion
Featured Actor
joined:1/3/07
Glenn Close?
Posted: 7/17/12 at 04:33am
Glenn was a fantastic Norma and probably the best of all of them on Broadway, although I was very partial to Elaine Paige, who was wonderful.

The ones who say she can't sing are -- surprise, surprise -- the LuPone obsessives who can't get over what happened and hate anyone who dares to take on a role that Patti has done previously (cf. comments about Elena Roger in Evita). One particular fanatic I knew of online wanted every show Patti had done to be permanently shut down and never open again unless Patti was in it. No joke.
ComingUpRoses2
Leading Actor
joined:3/14/11
Glenn Close?
Posted: 7/17/12 at 05:55am
Good Lord! The idea of no one else ever being able to touch a role that someone else has played is ridiculous. I always love different interpretations, whether they work or not. It's always nice to see a fresh take on something.
Auggie27
Broadway Legend
joined:10/13/03
Glenn Close?
Posted: 7/17/12 at 07:58am
I agree with Scorpion. The Close Norma (and the Paige) had a twinkle in her eye. She didn't play the end all evening, as some did. She made Norma comic, buoyant, a good time. And she gave the character what Swanson gave her -- an inherent "size" and theatricality. She was always on, her life was presentational. That made her 2nd act descent a much steeper fall, and heartbreaking. People sometimes forget that the role is demanding, yet doesn't have a lot of long scenes. It requires strong choices, nailing the point of every scene. Buckley certainly sang it well, but started as a victim (the dead monkey she made almost too much of). That absence of 'twinkle' is a pitfall. If the actress feels sorry for Norma, look out.

Close's vocals were small, but having seen her in LA and NYC, I noticed her growth and and they were spot-on, in character, and musically very pleasing. She sang everything -- no speaking -- and genuinely stopped the show. And her performance of the defining "New Ways to Dream" is by far the best. She got inside the song in a way no one else did. And when she played the silent movie moments, she was mesmerizing. A fearless performance.



"I'm a comedian, but in my spare time, things bother me." Gary Shandling
Updated On: 7/17/12 at 07:58 AM
Patti LuPone FANatic
Broadway Legend
joined:3/4/06
Glenn Close?
Posted: 7/17/12 at 08:05am
I was able to see Miss Pet(ula) Clark as Norma Desmond three times, including the final stop of the 2nd American tour here in Austin. She had a lovely voice, though I didn't agree with her overly comedic interpretation of the role. The ladies who have taken on the role, obviously place their own stamp on it. Naturally, the Normas who had years and years of professional singing experience in show roles and concert work, undoubtedly were superior singers, as opposed to those who did not have that level of professional vocal experience. from RC in Austin, Texas
dramamama611
Broadway Legend
joined:12/4/07
Glenn Close?
Posted: 7/17/12 at 08:13am
I saw her twice on stage: Barnum and Sunset Blvd. I was entranced each time.


I miss the days when shows would cast folks like Close - maybe not a singer I'd ever want and album of, but an actor that made you believe because they sang the part as the CHARACTER. I'd rather have that, then a beautiful voice without character. ANY DAY.

(I admit, that I was always an actor that sang vs a singer that acts, myself.)
If we're not having fun, then why are we doing it? These are DISCUSSION boards, not mutual admiration boards. Discussion only occurs when we are willing to hear what others are thinking, regardless of whether it is alignment to our own thoughts.
GatorNY
Broadway Legend
joined:6/19/08
Glenn Close?
Posted: 7/17/12 at 08:25am
Me too Mama....i can sing, but not like the big boys/girls.

It wasn't a big hit, but Allisn Janney was from the same "actor who sings" mold in 9 to 5. I'm sure you remember people actually thought she might snag the TONY Award from Alice that year.
"The price of love is loss, but still we pay; We love anyway."
GatorNY
Broadway Legend
joined:6/19/08
Glenn Close?
Posted: 7/17/12 at 08:25am
Me too Mama....i can sing, but not like the big boys/girls.

It wasn't a big hit, but Allisn Janney was from the same "actor who sings" mold in 9 to 5. I'm sure you remember people actually thought she might snag the TONY Award from Alice that year.
"The price of love is loss, but still we pay; We love anyway."
ComingUpRoses2
Leading Actor
joined:3/14/11
Glenn Close?
Posted: 7/17/12 at 08:49am
Words can't describe how thrilled I am to hear all of this.

P.S. I thought Allison Janney was wonderful in 9 to 5. Not the most polished voice, but I think we can all admit we've heard much worse. She had star quality up on that stage.

I think people put far too much of an importance on perfect American Idol style vocals these days instead of real acting. These performers are a dime a dozen, but not one of them has ever made me feel a thing after they finish a song/performance.
henrikegerman
Broadway Legend
joined:4/29/05
Glenn Close?
Posted: 7/17/12 at 09:08am
You don't have to be Patti-obsessed to want a great actress with an amazing voice who's right for the role in your Norma. I'm not Patti-obsessed, in fact from what I can tell Glenn's Norma was a lot better than hers, because Close did act it so well and was right for the role. But I can separate all of that from an objective critique of Close's voice. Which I'm not a fan of.

Now Buckley! That's a Norma!

Updated On: 7/17/12 at 09:08 AM
Auggie27
Broadway Legend
joined:10/13/03
Glenn Close?
Posted: 7/17/12 at 09:25am
I disagree about Buckley. She was a humorless Norma, who played the end from the start. She was so overwhelmed by the dead monkey in the first scene, she seemed to use that grief to define her. (The monkey is of course the child Norma never had, but Buckley made it so central, she was dabbing her eyes forever.) She lacked the critical element of self-dramatization that spring innately from this woman. She played Norma as a victim of her own circumstances, a walking tragedy, and it made the evening very much one note. Her neediness was of the wrong flavor. I saw her 1 1/2 times, once when she was ill and didn't do the 2nd act. So I thought it an unfair appraisal. I returned 2 months later, and she was even more morose at the top. It made "With One Look" therapeutic rather than self-aggrandizing. Her vocals were thrilling, to be sure; but Buckley's refusal to find the twinkle in Norma's eye made the ending less harrowing, not more. When Close and Paige crashed and burned, they fell from a high place. Buckley was waiting to fall all evening.
"I'm a comedian, but in my spare time, things bother me." Gary Shandling
D2
Broadway Legend
joined:12/3/06
Glenn Close?
Posted: 7/17/12 at 10:47am
I've seen 3 Normas: LuPone, Buckley and Clark.

Auggie is absolutely right about Buckley's performance -- thrilling vocals but not much else. It made for a dreary evening.

I saw LuPone in London the week that the whole Glenn Close thing went down. I don't know what was going on backstage ( I haven't read LuPone's book ) but LuPone's performance that night was one of the most touching, vulnerable performances I've ever seen her give, hitting all the right notes from beginning to end -- and I don't mean just vocally.

I saw Clark on tour in San Francisco, and she was my favorite -- funny, touching, sad, very much in the Swanson mold of Normas. And she sang the hell out of it.

For whatever that's all worth.
Cheyenne Jackson tickled me. AFTER ordering SoMMS a drink but NOT tickling him, and hanging out with Girly in his dressing room (where he DIDN'T tickle her) but BEFORE we got married. To others. And then he tweeted Boobs. He also tweeted he's good friends with some chick on "The Voice" who just happens to be good friends with Tink's ex. And I'm still married. Oh, and this just in: "Pettiness, spite, malice ....Such ugly emotions... So sad." - After Eight, talking about MEEEEEEEE!!! I'm so honored! :-)
castlestreet
Broadway Star
joined:7/2/10
Glenn Close?
Posted: 7/17/12 at 10:53am
I too long for the days when it was "okay" to cast someone who was an actor first, vocalist second- but when you do- you get crucified by the likes of people who post on boards such as these.

Close's Norma comes at the role with the unique experience of being a movie star- something that none of the other Norma's have- that combined with her acting chops I believe made for the perfect storm on stage and found her vocals to be in fine shape for the role of Norma Desmond.

I saw Clark on tour in Rochester and found her Norma to be an absolute mess- way too over the top pretty much from the words "you there!".

The debate on Close will rage on forever though, because of LuPone's firing- and I agree that even Patti herself says in the book that she probably had no clue how things were being handled, and they were handled terribly- but that's showbiz folks! Glenn got the rave reviews in a better overall production of the show and Patti ended up as collateral damage which is unfortunate.
Auggie27
Broadway Legend
joined:10/13/03
Glenn Close?
Posted: 7/17/12 at 11:43am
Castle raises an excellent point: Close was at the top of her career in films (this was on the heels of FATAL ATTRACTION and DANGEROUS LIAISIONS). She was a true star, and that component absolutely informed her Norma. This was movie folk playing movie folk, Close's stage roots notwithstanding. I remember her entrance (I saw it first in LA). Her presence provided an electric sense of the occasion, of a star at a personal peak, and the her casting exemplified the impact of star on role and story. It's a mysterious alchemy, star and role, but it's palpable and it contributed. Lloyd Webber is no fool (!) and clearly made the right call. People shout "unfair!" should remember that it's a business, not a sporting event. Close's entire run was sold out, except for her absences. She won the Tony. I don't think in hindsight anyone regrets the casting decision(s).

"I'm a comedian, but in my spare time, things bother me." Gary Shandling
Updated On: 7/17/12 at 11:43 AM
ComingUpRoses2
Leading Actor
joined:3/14/11
Glenn Close?
Posted: 7/17/12 at 11:44am
I'll always feel bad for Patti for what went down. It was a truly rotten thing for someone to do to her. No one should have to go through that.

castlestreet, I think you're right. People are too scared to hire actor/singers for musical roles these days because of a few angry theatre queens who'd tear genuinely wonderful actors apart just for their vocals. People still rant about how horrible Tyne Daly's voice was in Gypsy, but what they don't understand was how damn good she was in the role. Acting wise, she might have been the best Rose I've ever seen.

Look, as long as the singing doesn't hurt my ears (a la Pierce Brosnan), I'm just fine.
Auggie27
Broadway Legend
joined:10/13/03
Glenn Close?
Posted: 7/17/12 at 11:59am
"No one should have to go through that."

I suppose, but they do if they're in show business. I remain fascinated by the widespread belief that Lupone being disinvited to continue on Broadway after almost a year in London is a catastrophe. She's a Juilliard trained actor, she'd been in the business, won a Tony, Olivier, been a star in London. And so a bigger movie star was chosen for Broadway. Disappointment? Sure. Something to piss you off royally? Absolutely. But tragedy? I simply don't see it. Why didn't she suffer in private and rise above? Sue Lloyd Webber, fine. She was paid off, handsomely. But get back to work and get over a sense of entitlement and above all else victimization.

I'm in the minority -- and I'm a Lupone fan -- but I've always thought Lupone's nervous breakdown was a bigger comment on Lupone's fragile sense of self than Lloyd Webber's treachery. (Gee, a theatrical mogul is out for himself; devastating realization!) And her memoir only proves a striking lack of perspective on the very business she's chosen for herself. Twenty-some years later, oh, how she still wants us to understand how she suffered. I find all of her kvetching about this revealing, but about Lupone's discomfort with the realities of her profession, not the duplicity on SUNSET.



"I'm a comedian, but in my spare time, things bother me." Gary Shandling
Updated On: 7/17/12 at 11:59 AM
themysteriousgrowl
Broadway Legend
joined:11/10/10
Glenn Farr?
Posted: 7/17/12 at 12:03pm

What if Glenn Close had married Jamie Farr?

She'd always be so Close, and yet so Farr.

I wish Glenn Close and Jamie Farr were married
CHURCH DOOR TOUCAN GAY MARKETING PUPPIES MUSICAL THEATER STAPLES PERIOD CUM OIL
Reginald Tresilian
Broadway Legend
joined:6/12/08
Glenn Farr?
Posted: 7/17/12 at 12:26pm
I'm always reminded of Paxton Whitehead's quip when Glenn Close was first gaining lots of recognition:

"Glenn Close? That's not a name; it's an address."
MrMidwest
Broadway Legend
joined:2/8/05
Glenn Farr?
Posted: 7/17/12 at 12:34pm
"The gods who nurse this universe think little of mortals' cares. They sit in crowds on exclusive clouds and laugh at our love affairs. I might have had a real romance if they'd given me a chance. I loved him, but he didn't love me. I wanted him, but he didn't want me. Then the gods had a spree and indulged in another whim. Now he loves me, but I don't love him." - Cole Porter
themysteriousgrowl
Broadway Legend
joined:11/10/10
Glenn Farr?
Posted: 7/17/12 at 12:51pm

Ooh. Somebody post the one of her and the cigar!
CHURCH DOOR TOUCAN GAY MARKETING PUPPIES MUSICAL THEATER STAPLES PERIOD CUM OIL
Phyllis Rogers Stone
Broadway Legend
joined:9/16/07
Glenn Farr?
Posted: 7/17/12 at 12:55pm
I'm not a Patti-anything, I just can't stand the sound of Glenn Close's voice.

Glenn Close is a phenomenal actress, probably the greatest of her generation.

As those notions aren't scientific, one can believe whatever one wants, but I'm pretty sure that almost across the board people would consider Meryl Streep the greatest actress of her generation.
Wynbish
Broadway Legend
joined:4/27/12
Glenn Farr?
Posted: 7/17/12 at 01:00pm


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