Sunset Boulevard – Review by Marlene S. Gaylinn

Music Theatre of CT (MTC) is kicking off it’s Theatre Season with “Sunset Blvd.” This is an excellent, staged production of a black and white Billy Wilder film featuring Gloria Swanson as the fading actress, “Nora Desmond.” The story takes place during a 1949/1950 period of transition in the movie industry. With music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and book and lyrics by Don Black and Christopher Hampton, the show’s version had a successful run on Broadway and won 7 Tony Awards.

At MTC, “Nora Desmond” is played and sung by sexy, seasoned, Elizabeth Ward Land. It is assumed that her character is based upon several, very famous film stars. With her German features, accent, and flamboyant mannerisms, former Hollywood star Marlene Dietrich comes to mind. In fact, it was hard to believe that in real life Ms. Land is not German. She is an American, award-winning concert singer and Broadway actress.

Nora Desmond’s boy-toy “Joe,” is handsome, sensitive, Trevor Martin. His wide variety of acting and award-winning singing credits are quite impressive. Joe’s girlfriend and confidant is pleasant, “Betty” (Sandra Maranti). James Patterson delightfully play’s Ms. Desmond’s German servant and protector “Max Von Mayerling,” with heel-clicking sharpness.

The cast is under the capable direction of Kevin Connors. The hidden live ensemble is directed by David John Madore.
Nora Desmond’s elegant, period costumes are by Jimm Halliday. The clever lighting and scenery are by RJ Romeo and Lindsay Fuori. The lighting/design of Ms. Desmond’s swimming pool deserves special mention.

All told, one doesn’t need to go to Broadway to enjoy professional entertainment. It’s right here in Norwalk!