Sunset Boulevard – Review by Bonnie Goldberg

The iconic silent film star Norma Desmond stands at the top of a staircase contemplating her incredible movie career and remembering her prior glories. Now she worries how she will capture those intoxicating times again. Can she reign as queen once more and, if so, how will she accomplish that marvel?

To follow her disillusionment and story of fame, come to Music Theatre of Connecticut in Norwalk for an up close and personal meeting with the former star herself Norma Desmond in “Sunset Boulevard” based on the Billy Wilder film, with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and book and lyrics by Don Black and Christopher Hampton until Sunday, October 2. .

Elizabeth Ward Land is regal as Norma Desmond as she tries to recapture her famed youth, earning our admiration and pity, as she pens a play about Salome, picturing herself as the adventurous lead, a role she is sure will catapult her back to the top of her game. Norma Desmond refuses to fade into the shadows and when she meets an attractive young writer, Trevor Martin’s Joe Gilis, she seizes upon him as her last best chance to fulfill her wishes of stardom. All she has to do is wait for the call from the famed director Cecil B. DeMille, a disinterested Jeff Gurner, and her dreams will reach fruition.

Joe Gillis is firmly trapped in her unrealistic scheme, whether he is her ghost writer or lover. When a film company employee, Sandra Marante’s Betty, reaches out with a real chance for Joe to get his career on track, it results in unfortunate and tragic results. Not even Norma’s faithful servant and protector, James Patterson’s Max, can save the ailing queen and restore her to glory. Others in the cast include Paul Aguirre, Philip Callen, Helen Clare, Matt Grasso, Leigh Martha Klinger, Emily Solo and Jacob Sundlie. Songs like “New Ways to Dream,” “Too Much in Love.” and “The Perfect Year” propel the action. Kevin Connors directs this intriguing tale of theater where the past tries to eclipse and change the present.

For tickets ($45-65), call Music Theatre of Connecticut, 509 Westport Avenue, Route 1, Norwalk, at 203-454-3883 or online at www.musictheatreofct.com. Performances are Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Masks are required.

Follow the former star as she dramatically emerges from behind the red velvet curtain to retake her well earned place center stage.

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