BWW Review: SUNSET BOULEVARD at Vintage Theatre
Often when we think of the glamour that is Hollywood, we think of the money, fame, and perks that come with it currently. But I can remember being a young child and my great-grandmother telling me about how things were back in the old days. How glamour meant many other things and how Hollywood was a place that drew everyones attention; but unfortunately not hers. She was not into the glamorous lifestyle. "They all have two faces and live two lives," she would say. But unlike her, I found myself drawn into the glamour that was Hollywood while attending a performance of Sunset Boulevard at Vintage Theatre.
Having never seen Sunset Boulevard before (besides hearing the great Glenn Close perform the musical's most famous song, "With One Look"), I found the production a surprising little gem in the heart of Aurora. The show takes its audience back in time to the year 1949 and begins just as many Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals would, at the end of the story as the police wheel away a dead body with reporters in tow. The lead character, Joe Gillis (Drew Hirschboeck), a down-on-his-luck writer, tries desperately to get a job in the tough movie industry. He also serves as the shows narrator and begins to tell the audience what has happened within the past year of his life; how he came to live with Norma Desmond, a former silent screen actress, played by Marcia Ragonetti, on Sunset Boulevard. He believes that with his help , she could make a comeback to the big screen.
Throughout the show, Hirschboeck and Ragonetti did very well portraying the emotional toll of their characters, they also were amazing vocally. With this production, the cast did not need a mic due to the smallness of the theatre. This allowed the audience to hear the raw and purity of the actors voices. Among the cast vocally Ragonetti is stunning but there was also another that leant her voice perfectly. This being Miranda Byers, who plays the role of Better Schaefer, the writer who assists Joe in rewriting one of his old pieces into a better script. Byers's voice is truly captivating in this show, along with Ragonetti, and that alone is worth the price of admission.
Overall the entire cast were very enjoyable to watch, and the story itself is something I feel needs to be recognized more in the theatre world. While Andrew Lloyd Webber's show is beautiful done, I believe the directors of this production, Evgueni Mlidik and Craig A. Bond, brought the show to a very emotional and wonderful height.
If you want to take the night to be sent back to a darker, more glamorous side of Hollywood, then come see The Vintage Theatre's production of Sunset Blvd. The show plays now through May 29th. For tickets, call (303) 856-7830 or visit VintageTheatre.com