Northwest NEWS

August 9, 1999


'Sunset Boulevard' is a lavish walk down Memory Lane

by Deborah Stone

   Andrew Lloyd Webber's music and the singing and acting talent of stage veteran Petula Clark combine to make Sunset Boulevard a blockbuster production.

   The show, now playing at the Paramount Theatre, is on a nationwide tour of forty-seven cities, and has been receiving rave reviews at each of its destinations.

   Sunset Boulevard is a spectacular musical detailing the desperate love story between a struggling young screenwriter and a legendary silent film star who dreams of returning to the big screen. Based on Billy Wilder's classic 1950 film, the show brings the magic of movie-making to the theatre, complete with lavish sets and opulent costumes, memorable music, and a cast of fascinating characters, all involved in a tale of murder, lust, and greed.

   Clark, as Norma Desmond, the famed star of yesteryear, belts out her songs with passion and emotion, giving the right amount of desperation, melancholy, and madness to her role. She never lets the audience forget who she is and virtually dominates her scenes with her powerful voice and stage presence. Clark is compelling to watch, as she is completely believable as a faded rose reliving her days of glory.

   Lewis Cleale, as the young opportunistic screenwriter Joe Gillis, also does a commendable job in his role and is a good match for Clark. He easily conveys his character's own sense of desperation, along with his jaded view of the cutthroat world of Hollywood.

   A talented ensemble of dancers, singers, and actors complete the production's cast, along with special mention to Allen Fitzpatrick as Desmond's fiercely protective servant/caretaker, Max von Mayerling, and Sarah Uriarte Berry as the sweet, spunky Betty Schaefer.

   Sunset Boulevard runs through August 15th. For ticket information, call Ticketmaster at 206-292-ARTS.