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Highlights From Andrew Lloyd Webber's Sunset Boulevard (1994 Los Angeles Cast)
Andrew Lloyd Webber
Highlights From Andrew Lloyd Webber's Sunset Boulevard (1994 Los Angeles Cast)
Genres: Pop, Soundtracks, Broadway & Vocalists
  •  Track Listings (19) - Disc #1


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CD Details

All Artists: Andrew Lloyd Webber
Title: Highlights From Andrew Lloyd Webber's Sunset Boulevard (1994 Los Angeles Cast)
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 2
Label: Decca Broadway
Original Release Date: 5/23/1995
Release Date: 5/23/1995
Album Type: Cast Recording
Genres: Pop, Soundtracks, Broadway & Vocalists
Styles: Musicals, Traditional Vocal Pop
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 731452724120

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Reviewed on 2/24/2008...
American Premiere Recording Highlights. Starring Glenn Close, Alan Campbell, Judy Kuhn and George Hearn; Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber. Book and lyrics by Don Black & Christopher Hampton. Based on the Billy Wilder film. Directed by Trevor Nunn. American premiere: December 9, 1993, Shubert theatre, Los Angeles. Broadway premiere: November 17, 1994, Minskoff Theatre, New York.

CD Reviews

Glenn Close forever!
Rebecca M. Deaver | Memphis, TN, USA | 11/06/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Lloyd Webber's cynical, witty, tragic masterpiece has never been so well performed.Glenn Close has conquered the chief problem with playing Norma Desmond. Norma cannot be portrayed as sane, or her ego, her attitude and her eventual murder seem inexcusable. However, in making her insane, most performer, including Gloria Swanson in the movie, rob her of her sympathy in another way. Glenn Close, with her over-the-top triumphant pride and the desperate longing that permeates her voice, has discovered a method of making Norma seem completely insane, while also stunningly charismatic, desperately sympathetic, and insanely lovable. In addition, her Norma does not come off as weak or pathetic, despite her pity appeal. She is towering, majestic, and truly glorious, drawing open worship from her audience and truly seeming to be "The greatest star of all".As for Alan Campbell as Joe Gillis--unlike most other Joes, he doesn't waste his time pretending to be sympathetic or lovable. He is cocky, callow, and obnoxiously sure of himself, while clearly riddled with doubt below the surface. And it is clear in the finale that he is _not_ trying to drive Betty away to avoid hurting her; he means every word he says, displaying a vehement, heartless greed. However, with his hilariously witty comments and his general I'm-in-over-my-head attitude to his situation, he actually manages to be moderately likeable. Many actors, especially when playing a lead character, feel the need to make their character likeable just to make the audience like _them_, and I am very proud of Mr. Campbell for not falling into that trap.And then, of course, there is Judy Kuhn. In Les Mis, she actually gave charm to a character I loathe, and her Betty Schaefer is even better than her Cossette. In her intelligent-sounding tone, she perfectly balances Betty's mingled cynicism and innocent idealism, swinging constantly back and forth between juvenile brightness and weary pessimism, and always knowing which scenes call for each. And in "Too much in love to care", she genuinely makes clear how frightened and confused Betty is, something I've never heard anyone else do. She managed to take the resident airhead of the movie cast, and turn her into a character fully as likeable as Norma herself.I will say here that I do not cry easily because of music; there are about half-a-dozen songs in all the world that have moved me to tears, but Max's final solo, and most of all George Hearn's gentle yet chilling delivery of "So I play this game/keeper of the flame" had tears streaming down my cheeks. Also, much as I love the acting and yes, the singing of the rest of the cast, George Hearn is by far and away the best singer in the entire cast.As for the songs, I will always love the showstopping duet between Joe and Betty, the volcanic "Too much in love to care". Both are uncertain, hanging back in fear, yet hardly half-hearted, bringing the show down in a stunning vocal duet that displays singing talent expressed nowhere else in the musical by these two. The retrained, almost threatening tone of the lukewarm "Perfect Year" may seem less beautiful than the rest of the songs, but it is perfect as pointing out just how utterly doomed Norma and Joe's relationship is, with Joe trying to squirm out while Norma plows blindly ahead. And then there's the warm, friendly "Girl meets boy", in which we see Joe and Betty, the true romantic couple in the show, slowly, gradually and believably fall in love.Then there is "The greatest star of all", in which George Hearn blew me away with his perfect expression of Max's loving devotion to Norma. As much adoration a Glenn Close draws, perhaps the ultimate force that draws us toward her is Max's desperate love, which permeates his voice at all times during his two great solos.But of all the songs in this musical, none can match Norma's four great solos; the whispery, wistfully reminiscent "New ways to dream", the triumphant, majestic "With one look", the joyous, heartfelt euphoria that is "As if we never said good-bye" (a song that if spoken would sound pathetic, thus further proving that song was the only medium by which Norma could become sympathetic)......and "Surrender". The musical's greatest masterpiece and recurring trademark theme. First sung as a creepy, heart-rending solo by Norma to her dead chimp, it is repeated by Max, Cecil B. DeMille, and finally by Norma herself at the finally. Its haunting melody seemed to become a dumping-ground for the most brilliant lyrics ever written by Lloyd Webber. Such ghostly, sobbing masterpieces are kept from being truly downbeat by being shot through by songs with a fast-paced, upbeat sound quality and a style of smiling, what-the-hell cynicism to them, such as "Let's have lunch" or "Every movie's a circus" or "This time next year".And while many have claimed that Glenn Close does not have the voice for the part, I disagree. While she has a less powerful voice than others who have played the role, her voice is certainly strong enough for the score, which, after all, is far from Phantom, and does not sell itself on powerful vocalization. She actually sings with two voices; a lilting, young-sounding, whisper-thin flute of a voice, and a deep, powerful-sounding, courageous vocal roar, full of imperious command and echoey beauty.Also, remember that this CD contains not only beautiful music and (in my humble opinion) the best lyrical job in musical history, but also the unsung dialogue of an extremely witty, clever and emotional play that would make Wilde proud and Shaw jealous. The entire musical is on this CD, making it a true bargain to buy in one package. And on top of all that, the pocket libretto that comes with this is as interesting to read as a good novel.Three cheers for Andrew Lloyd Webber; three more for Don Black and Chris Hampton, for creating the truly stunning lyrics of this work of beauty and love. Get this CD; if you have any semblance of good taste at all, you'll surely feel you got your money's worth."
While Close's voice disappoints, the score is breathtaking.
Clements Odom | Greenwood, ms United States | 08/03/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)

"While I'm sure Glenn Close's acting abilities in the much anticipated Lloyd Webber musical, "Sunset Boulevard" were memorable, you can't help being disappointed by her vocal abilities. Her voice seemed average at best. I purchased the CD after seeing the touring production starring Petula Clark, whose impeccable voice electrified the entire theatre. All I can say is that Close wasn't Clark. Ms. Clark or Patti LuPone, who was originally cast for the part, would be a much better CD purchase. Although I enjoyed the music and the memories it stirred of seeing the production, I give this CD a very average rating. There are better versions out there."