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26 years ago: The mansion had landed

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26 years ago: The mansion had landed#51
Posted: 9/8/19 at 9:17pm

David10086 said: "I also kept the NY POST cover story 'Bullets Over Broadway' when there was the Glenn Close / ALW scandal of when she returned from vacation and sent him that scathing letter - threatening to leave the show after he praised her understudy."

I'm not familiar with that story! Anyone know any details?

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26 years ago: The mansion had landed#52
Posted: 9/8/19 at 9:21pm

david - here I thought I was the only one who had cut articles and stuff from when Sunset opened.  Only recently got rid of most of it (saved the Variety special edition and some articles)

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26 years ago: The mansion had landed#53
Posted: 9/8/19 at 9:32pm

wiggum2 said: "David10086 said: "I also kept the NY POST cover story 'Bullets Over Broadway' when there was the Glenn Close / ALW scandal of when she returned from vacation and sent him that scathing letter - threatening to leave the show after he praised her understudy."

I'm not familiar with that story! Anyone know any details?
"

It wasn't so much that he praised her understudy, but the claim was that her name was not having any effect on ticket sales and the strength of them was due to the show alone. I can't remember if they tried to pad the numbers while she was out on that vacation, but it became clear that, at least at that point, the show did need true star power in the role and she essentially demanded an apology for Lloyd Webber trying to diminish the effect her presence had on ticket sales.

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26 years ago: The mansion had landed#54
Posted: 9/8/19 at 10:05pm

AEA AGMA SM said: "It wasn't so much that he praised her understudy, but the claim was that her name was not having any effect on ticket sales and the strength of them was due to the show alone. I can't remember if they tried to pad the numbers while she was out on that vacation, but it became clear that, at least at that point, the show did need true star power in the role and she essentially demanded an apology for Lloyd Webber trying to diminish the effect her presence had on ticket sales."

Another stupid PR debacle ALW caused with Sunset.  They really hoped that Sunset would become another Phantom or Cats where  it didn't matter who played the lead role...

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26 years ago: The mansion had landed#55
Posted: 9/8/19 at 10:07pm

thanks... I remember the story about him maybe fudging the numbers when Glenn was on vacation

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26 years ago: The mansion had landed#56
Posted: 9/8/19 at 10:51pm
I think it’s quite an underrated score given all the drama surrounding it.
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26 years ago: The mansion had landed#57
Posted: 9/8/19 at 11:40pm

AEA AGMA SM said: "wiggum2 said: " I'm not familiar with that story! Anyone know any details?"

It wasn't so much that he praised her understudy, but the claim was that her name was not having any effect on ticket sales and the strength of them was due to the show alone. I can't remember if they tried to pad the numbers while she was out on that vacation, but it became clear that, at least at that point, the show did need true star power in the role and she essentially demanded an apology for Lloyd Webber trying to diminish the effect her presence had on ticket sales.
"

 

 

Yes, Close really ripped into ALW when she got back from vacation and wrote a scathing letter to him, which was leaked to the press. I believe it was picked up by everyone back then (April, 1995) but I kept the NY Post cover story. Afterwards, she said she was 'disappointed' that a 'private communication between two people' would find it's way into the media. And this was before we had the internet - imagine if this happened now? 

Anyhow, what had happened was that ALW reported false box office receipts while Close was on vacation, and understudy Karen Mason took over. (I think it was for three or four weeks in March, 1995). The show wasn't selling well without Close, but he lied and said it was doing just fine without Close - no difference in the box office. (He later said he had nothing to do with it, and that someone in his RUG Office was to blame - no one believed him). He also lavished much praise on Mason. 

Close wrote her letter to ALW (a letter which the NYP said 'would make Norma Desmond proud'26 years ago: The mansion had landed demanding an apology for diminishing her worth to the musical. She took full credit for making the show a hit on Broadway, and told ALW 'if I could leave Sunset tomorrow,  I would'.  However, she said she would honor her word, and stay an extra month to make up for the time she missed while on vacation. She told ALW she wasn't doing it for him, but for the fans who bought tickets to see her performance during her extension. 

ALW did publicly apologize, they kissed and made up. 

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26 years ago: The mansion had landed#58
Posted: 9/8/19 at 11:54pm

What was interesting about it was 
1 - ALW or RUG could've purchased those tickets and given them away to schools, students, etc and that would've kept the receipts at the same level
2 - the Karen Mason weekly grosses weren't that bad.  It was in the 500-600 K range (as opposed to 800K with Close) which wasn't bad for what was an announced vacation.  (People knew Glenn was out for those two weeks)

3 - Post- hissy fit - whatever few tickets remained for Close's run (April - May - June) were pretty much gone. a red hot ticket got even hotter.  
Honestly, I don't ever remember a Broadway show that inspired as much gossip, speculation and front-page news like Sunset did.  Hence it had the largest ticket advance of $37.5 million up until 2017 when Hello Dolly opened.  I know people bemoan all the drama, but honestly, it made an amazing show even more of an "event"

While 2017 revival with Glen was relatively drama free and didn't have as much attention like it did in its initial run - with that 40 piece orchestra, stripped down set you got to see and experience what a tremendous score Sunset truly is...

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26 years ago: The mansion had landed#59
Posted: 9/9/19 at 12:03am

I'm glad I got to see Close in the revival (saw Buckley in 1996). It's too bad that it was for a limited engagement - this was a revival which certainly could have run for at least two years or so, with the right actress in the lead. It would've built more momentum for the planned movie (which is to start filming next month - we'll see...)

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26 years ago: The mansion had landed#60
Posted: 9/9/19 at 2:03am
I have many articles and most of the NYT full page ads.

I write some of my personal sunset stories later....but a

why didn’t some of the other Norma’s never come to broadway? Diahann Carroll and Rita Moreno.
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26 years ago: The mansion had landed#61
Posted: 9/9/19 at 10:24am

JBradshaw said: "I have many articles and most of the NYT full page ads.

I write some of my personal sunset stories later....but a

why didn’t some of the other Norma’s never come to broadway? Diahann Carroll and Rita Moreno.
"

Was never a fan of Diahann - and I think she took the Canadian role as it was being run independent of ALW for the most part.  Livenet and RUG had some sort of agreement and by the Canadian premiere, the show was "frozen" so they didn't have to worry about extensive revisions anymore.  I remember reading that Diahann specifically didn't want to deal with ALW, especially post Patti; Faye; even Glenn drama

As for Rita Moreno - that's a big mystery to me.  Of all the Normas, she's the one I was the most interested to see and her brief run in London only adds more mystery.  I'd imagine she'd had been phenomenal in the role.  But perhaps it was too much for her

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26 years ago: The mansion had landed#62
Posted: 9/9/19 at 11:12am

I've seen more than my fair share of Normas. Rita was good, but honestly, she was a bit mousy and perhaps a bit too sentimental - didn't have that full-on diva that the others brought. Made it more human, but less thrilling and definitely not a diva performance. Now, Diahann... I wish everyone could see the last 30 seconds of her performance. She took "With One Look" to heart - her finale, with her final look out at the audience before the final blackout of the show as the score swells with that final Sunset melody was HEARTWRENCHING. That moment alone made her completely unique from all the other Normas I've seen and it was THRILLING. Honestly, I don't know if that was directed or not, but it was PURE GENIUS. Diahann also sang the role very well and nailed the pathos as well as the diva-ness.

IMHO, the best marriage of actor to role to production was Betty Buckley. Although she leaned in to the crazy and didn't shy away from the camp, she brought an earnestness and solid vocal prowess that, aside from Patti, hadn't really been there before and she was PERFECTION. I purposely avoided the revival to keep Betty's performance solid in my memory. Her "New Ways To Dream" EP is a consistent favorite.

Wish I could've seen Cher or, recently, Alice Ripley... I have a feeling Cher actually would've been an incredible fit, especially at that stage in her life & career. She was basically Norma during that time, although just a few short years later, she'd see her Salome ("Believe"26 years ago: The mansion had landed hitting top of the charts!

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26 years ago: The mansion had landed#63
Posted: 9/9/19 at 12:15pm

greensgreens said: "Now, Diahann... I wish everyone could see the last 30 seconds of her performance. She took "With One Look" to heart - her finale, with her final look out at the audience before the final blackout of the show as the score swells with that final Sunset melody was HEARTWRENCHING. That moment alone made her completely unique from all the other Normas I've seen and it was THRILLING. Honestly, I don't know if that was directed or not, but it was PURE GENIUS. Diahann also sang the role very well and nailed the pathos as well as the diva-ness."

This can be viewed on YouTube. It seems like she just screams and completely breaks down in that final moment. It’s definitely not the triumphant Norma we saw from other actresses in that final moment.

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26 years ago: The mansion had landed#64
Posted: 9/9/19 at 4:39pm

greensgreens said: "Wish I could've seen Cher or, recently, Alice Ripley... I have a feeling Cher actually would've been an incredible fit, especially at that stage in her life & career. She was basically Norma during that time, although just a few short years later, she'd seeher Salome ("Believe" hitting top of the charts!"

Alice Ripley is starring as Norma in a few weeks up in Massachusetts.  Had contemplated taking the trip to see her 

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26 years ago: The mansion had landed#65
Posted: 9/10/19 at 10:55pm
This thread inspired me to go back and give the London and LA cast recordings a listen, as well as skimming through my personal recordings of the revival. It’s really too bad that they didn’t record a new one for the 2017 production, that orchestra was just wonderful - and Glenn’s vocal performance was even better than her first run.

I hope someday we can see a recreation of that set. It would be an insanely cool museum piece.
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26 years ago: The mansion had landed#66
Posted: 9/10/19 at 11:32pm

Giants - not recording that 2017 revival infuriated me.  Close and the entire cast sounded so much fresher backed by that symphonic orchestra was a real shame.  Worse yet, they had initially planned on doing that when they were in London with the ENO - (pretty sure it was a video shoot) - but when Glenn was sick for three days and Ria Jones had to go on, that thwarted the recording.

As for the set being re-created - if I win the Mega Millions I might go crazy and make a true Sunset revival with that set AND orchestra 26 years ago: The mansion had landed

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26 years ago: The mansion had landed#67
Posted: 9/11/19 at 2:29pm

My love for this score is a little hesitant, because while it has some of ALW's best melodies, it also stretches the film's punchy dialogue into a more somber, gothic amble (with some thrilling exceptions). The balance of inevitable fate and escalating desperation is thrown off, so by the time things come to a head the potent irony has deflated.

On the other hand, almost every song connects beautifully, and the sonic world that's constructed is intoxicating. I love those weird bluesy-elegant Hollywood tones, and the fact that the entire show is successful in its pastiche of the genre while also feeling internally consistent and melodically intriguing is a pretty big coup. 

Also, the mansion "landing" is a fantastic bit of staging whether or not you think it makes the mansion look fake. If you do think it makes the mansion look fake, then that still works thematically - Norma is, after all, living in a false construction.

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26 years ago: The mansion had landed#68
Posted: 9/11/19 at 8:42pm

As I've said before, the 2017 revival was incredible (almost on par with "Hello Dolly"26 years ago: The mansion had landed and was definitely short-changed. Though I appreciate the simplified staging, I think it deserved more set decoration (maybe not as elaborate as 1994, but something more). It also deserved a cast recording, as we've pointed out. Most importantly, with or without a more elaborate set,  it deserved a longer run instead of a limited engagement. Just think of the names they could have had play Norma Desmond, and extend its run for at least a year. And of course, it begs the question - in it's last incarnation - why not a tour after it closed ? 

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26 years ago: The mansion had landed#69
Posted: 9/11/19 at 10:07pm

Is there any footage of the set entrance?

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26 years ago: The mansion had landed#70
Posted: 9/12/19 at 8:38am

David10086 said: "[the 2017 revival] deserved a longer run instead of a limited engagement. Just think of the names they could have had play Norma Desmond, and extend its run for at least a year. And of course, it begs the question - in it's last incarnation - why not a tour after it closed ?"

I was so hoping for an extension with Betty Buckley. I actually mentioned this hope on social media and Ms. Buckley thanked me directly, which I optimistically took to mean that she would be interested.

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Updated On: 9/12/19 at 08:38 AM
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26 years ago: The mansion had landed#71
Posted: 9/12/19 at 8:48am

OMG - can you imagine if Buckley took over after Close? WOW! I'm telling you - there was no need to close the revival after just a few months. I know the Palace was earmarked for 'Spongebob' but still - this could've easily transferred to another venue. 

2017 was one of my most memorable summers visiting B'way: "Sunset" in June, "Comet" in July, and "Dolly" in September.

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26 years ago: The mansion had landed#72
Posted: 9/12/19 at 8:54am

David10086 said: "OMG - can you imagine if Buckley took over after Close? WOW! "

Yes, that's exactly what I imagined! laugh

 

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26 years ago: The mansion had landed#73
Posted: 9/12/19 at 10:31am

I remember there was a rumor published in some Australian entertainment thing the day the revival closed on Broadway that they would be opening in Sydney or Melbourne I think early 2018.

As for extending the Broadway run with another leading lady - I think the investors for this really saw it as replicating the ENO experience with Glenn and the Symphonic orchestra on a Broadway stage.    I would've loved it extending and would definitely have continued going to see it, but I'm sure those costs would've quickly gotten out of hand - especially if you're talking transferring, rehearsals, advertisements.  As it was, the revival I don't believe recouped it's investment (there was never an announcement that it had, which considering Sunset's history I'm sure they would've made had it).   The fact that they were grossing a million plus a week for the entire 16-20 weeks it ran, they probably came close, but I remember when it opened an interview where at least some investors saw it as just being a part of something special and bringing that to NY rather than seeing it as a potential long run.

Had it been a Hamilton/mega-hit - selling out the entire 20 weeks, maybe they would've looked at things differently


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