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Sunset Boulevard (1993 Original London Cast) Cast Recording

71 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Cast Recording, June 10, 1996
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$16.19 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details Only 5 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Gift-wrap available.

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Now playing in London and headed for Broadway, Andrew Lloyd Webber's latest triumph is based on Billy Wilder's classic film.

Certain moments in Sunset Boulevard may convince you that it's Andrew Lloyd Webber's most satisfying score. The dark opening theme recalls Franz Waxman, while throughout the lush strings perfectly evoke old Hollywood, occasionally broken by wonderfully jazzy interludes. The melodies of the two big songs, "With One Look" and "As if We Never Said Goodbye," wind their way into your brain in the best Lloyd Webber way (even if the latter, Norma Desmond's ode to her fans, is a little too reminiscent of "Don't Cry for Me, Argentina"), "The Perfect Year" is a lovely, stately dance, and "Too Much in Love to Care" is a nice romantic duet between Kevin Anderson and Meredith Braun. On the other hand, the music seems repetitive even by Lloyd Webber standards, with fewer than a dozen themes recycled over the set's 96 minutes, and the lyrics by Don Black and Christopher Hampton are passable at best, predictable at worst. In the London cast of this adaptation of Billy Wilder's 1950 film, Patti LuPone gives a strong lead performance, coloring her big voice with supreme self-importance. She was under contract to fill the role in the subsequent U.S. premiere, but was dropped in favor of Glenn Close, reportedly at the insistence of the show's backers. The booklet includes photos, full lyrics, and an edited version of the dialogue. --David Horiuchi

Disc: 1
1. Act I: Prologue
2. Act I: Let's Have Lunch
3. Act I: Sheldrake's Office
4. Act I: On The Road/The House On Sunset
5. Act I: Surrender
6. Act I: With One Look
7. Act I: Salome
8. Act I: The Greatest Star Of All
9. Act I: Let's Have Lunch/Girl Meets Boy
10. Act I: The House On Sunset
See all 18 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Sunset Boulevard
2. Act II: The Perfect Year
3. Act II: Journey To Paramount
4. Act II: As If We Never Said Goodbye
5. Act II: Surrender
6. Act II: Girl Meets Boy
7. Act II: Eternal Youth Is Worth A Little Suffering
8. Act II: Too Much In Love To Care
9. Act II: New Ways To Dream
10. Act II: Sunset Boulevard
See all 11 tracks on this disc

Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 10, 1996)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Cast Recording
  • Label: Verve / BMG
  • ASIN: B000001E3D
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #87,648 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 39 people found the following review helpful By RJStuart on April 24, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Musically, 'Sunset Boulevard' is Andrew Lloyd Webber's best behind 'The Phantom of the Opera'. When I first heard this album last year, I had no idea of the story. The reason I bought it was because Lloyd Webber had composed it, so I knew that I may have been in for something good. As I found out later, I was in for something amazing! The first time I had heard of Patti Lupone was in 'Les Miserables' (The Original London Cast). She was good in that, but nothing too memorable. So the first time I heard her in 'Sunset Boulevard' I was shocked and surprised at her powerful voice, especially when she says; Norma: "You there, why are you so late." Lupone's portrayal of Norma Desmond is haunting and awe-inspiring. It is the power in her voice, and the fact that she actually sings the songs, instead of speak/sings or shouts which Glenn Close does at times, that makes her the best Norma I have heard yet. Patti's voice is deep, husky, and sounds like Gloria Swanson's in the film of 'Sunset Boulevard' due to the fact that she sounds as if she is singing from the back of her throat. Her voice, therefore, makes her realistic in the role of the "old time movie star". Glenn Close is a brilliant Norma, don't get me wrong, but I feel that she over acts and she speaks instead of sings. Patti has a very beautiful and powerful voice and due to the fact that she actually sings the role, I believe she is better than Close. I don't agree with other reviewers who say Patti is not emotional; she is extremely passionate in the role, it is just that Close is moreso. In a comparison to Swanson, I believe that Patti uses her serious side more, whereas Close employs the more frivolous side of her. Kevin Anderson's portrayal of Jo Gillis is extremely realistic.Read more ›
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Helluva Godtime on January 26, 2005
Format: Audio CD
I am no fan of Andrew Lloyd Webber. I've always found his work for the musical theatre to be bland, predictable, and based more on showmanship than substance. I've only really like two of his shows to this day: "The Woman in White", which is currently playing in London and will transfer to Broadway later this year, and "Sunset Blvd.".

I'd always known that Patti LuPone was the first actress to play Norma Desmond, the original star of the successful West End version. I am a die-hard fan of Ms. LuPone, but I had never heard her sing this role. I'm sure most of you are aware of the story behind the transfer of this show from London to America: Patti was under contract to play Norma on Broadway, opposite George Hearn and Alan Campbell. At the last minute, she was paid one million dollars to be released from her contract, to make way for Glenn Close, a more bankable actress, to assume the role. Ms. Close was excellent in the role (I saw her twice in NY), but Ms. LuPone really was the real deal!

From the moment she enters the show, with the gorgeous and eery ballad "Surrender", Patti owns the stage. She gives all of her considerable talent to Norma Desmond, which is not an easy thing to do. The songs on this album are simply beautiful, and are among Sir Andrew's best.

It's a shame that American audiences were not given the chance to see Patti LuPone in this role. I think she would have blown us away.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Mark D. Lincoff on February 6, 2004
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
It's no mystery to anyone familiar with this show that the American Premiere Recording bests this version on most levels. Nor is it surprising, considering the score needed a bit of work when this World Premiere Recording was made. Audiences knew it. Critics knew it. Even Andrew Lloyd Webber knew it, which may explain why -- to a greater extent than ever before -- he made some rather sweeping revisions before bringing the show to America, then later incorporated those changes into the London production.
All the tweaking and tightening paid off, it seems. Each change is a major improvement, and the score - and show - that premiered in Los Angeles in 1995 starring Glenn Close is far superior to the one seen by London audiences almost two years earlier. The American Premiere Recording benefits from those improvements, and boasts heightened production values that deliver all the necessary panache of a Broadway cast recording without ever descending to the silliness or slickness of pop opera. Sunset Boulevard remains musical theater in every sense of the word.
So, if the American recording is so vastly improved over this one, why even bother with it? Perhaps the answer lies in the freshness and naivety of a new score - the thrill of the gamble: will this show become the stuff of Broadway legend, or a soon-to-be-forgotten flop? There's only one chance at this kind of excitement; once the singers know they're recording a hit, the fragile bubble is burst. There may be subsequent recordings that far outshine the original, but there's still only ONE original. This World Premiere Recording of Sunset Boulevard suffers from a score that still needed work, a horrid supporting cast, muddled sound mixing in many places, and lack of completeness.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By E. Valero on January 7, 2006
Format: Audio CD
The film this Andrew Lloyd Webber musical is based on is considered by many as one of the greatest film's ever made. The character of Norma Desmond is as legendary as the woman who portrayed her, Gloria Swanson. Andrew Lloyd Webber took a big chance in taking this classic material and turning it into a musical. For many, it was a colossal failure but for others, it was an astounding success.

The story centres around the tragic figure of Joseph Gillis (Kevin Anderson). A starving Hollywood writer who accidently stumbles upon Norma Desmond (Patti Lupone), a forgotten silent screen star who for years has been planning a "come-back". Norma Desmond then falls madly in love with Joe and she convinces him to help her write an epic motion-picture that she is to star in to cement her super-stardom once again. She is completely oblivious to the fact that cinema has changed and there is no room for an aging silent screen "has-been" in the Hollywood the "talkies" gave birth to.

Other colourful characters are Norma Desmond's bleak but likable Butler Max, Joe's best buddy Artie and his gal-pal Betty Schaeffer. Anyone who has ever seen the film knows that it ends tragically.

This is a great story and I think Andrew Lloyd Webber did a fantastic job musically in capturing the essence of Hollywood in the 1950's. The music is glamorous, tragic and deeply moving and it spawned 2 huge musical theatre numbers- the haunting "With One Look" and "As If We Never Said Good-bye". But these two songs are far from being the only good songs in the bunch.

The musical opens with the clumsy "Let's Have Lunch". Despite the repetitive lyrics the song features energetic performances and an infectious melody. The mood is brought down to a depressing level when Norman Desmond is introduced.
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Sunset Boulevard (1993 Original London Cast)
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