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Broadway’s ‘Sunset Boulvard’ Opening: What The Show Says About Hollywood Today

Variety logo Variety 2/10/2017 Gordon Cox
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It may never snow on Sunset Boulevard, but it does on Broadway, where “Sunset Boulevard,” starring Glenn Close, opened Feb. 9 despite a winter storm that dumped a foot of snow on New York earlier that day.

It seemed a far cry from the weather in London, where the production originated with three co-stars who came Stateside with the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical. “There’s a little, slightly polite, snowstorm thing that happens in London, but you have proper storms here,” said U.K. actress Siobhan Dillon (appearing as Betty in the adaptation of Billy Wilder’s 1950 Hollywood noir) at the production’s opening night party at Cipriani. “We don’t get that.”

“I ordered some snow boots yesterday to be delivered today,” added Michael Xavier, who plays the male lead, Joe Gillis, opposite Close. “And of course, what happened? No one was delivering today.”

The storyline of “Sunset Boulevard,” in which silent movie star Norma Desmond finds herself consigned to obscurity at 50 years old, still seems to have something to say about the modern-day movie industry and its focus on youth, especially for women. Close thinks so, anyway.

“It’s a story that I don’t think will ever lose its relevance,” she said. “As an older woman, I work pretty steadily, but the quality of the parts for somebody my age is not streaming out of Hollywood. You look to cable. You look to independent films, which are scraping for money to tell stories that you really can believe in. As far as Hollywood studios, I don’t think it’s changed much. But I would love to be disabused of that.”

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