SOME OF THE BEST
7 October, 1999
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A Thought for Today
A friend is forever.
EVENING AT THE THEATRE
Today I'm feeling as sunny as
our still summer-like skies. It's mostly the afterglow of Petula Clark's
performance last night as Norma Desmond in "Sunset Blvd." As different as
Glenn Close origination of the role and every bit as valid. Glenn played
Norma as eccentric and enigmatic, building the eccentricity till she goes
quite mad at the end.
Petula makes Miss Desmond more vulnerable. Eccentric all right, but
totally practical and savvy, she oozes sex appeal to lure the much younger
and out of work writer to her bed instead of commanding him. She is at
once sly, sweet and manipulating. Where Close is frightening and demanding
in her madness and makes broke Joe Gillis in effect "An offer he can't
refuse." What man, young or old, broke or in the chips, would give up a
chance to bed the demented but delightfully so Norma as played by Clark.
Incidentally the chemistry between Miss Clark and Joe played with the
right amount of bravado and self-loathing by Lewis Cleale is very
Clark plays the role with both pathos and humor. Close was scary and
relentlessly imperial to the end. Clark's final decent down the great
staircase, suddenly reveals for the first time in the evening, a defeated,
heartbreaking older woman, who only returns to her mad belief that she is
indeed 'The Greatest Star' when she is told the cameras are rolling.
Proudly she extols the famous "I'm ready for my close, Mr. DeMille," line.
She is back in her make believe world again believing it. Last night it
brought a tough Los Angeles audience to its feet the moment she uttered
it. No easy task since Glenn Close originated the role in this very city
and became the toast of the town by doing so. And now, Petula Clark as
Norma Desmond? You bet! And last night a packed Pantages Theatre was
raising their glasses high again.
Two Normas, both quite different and both making the star of yesteryear
with only her memories very memorable. I couldn't possibly choose which
performer I prefer, because both Norma's are perfectly valid.
I'm seeing it again Sunday night. Next week I'd like to review the singing
actress as opposed to the actress singer.
- RM 10/6/99 Previously
Year Ago This Week: from 7/10/98 Flight Plan
Getting To Know Ourselves
The more we get to know ourselves the harder it is to justify our quirks
and habits. Fortunately the older we grow the more at ease we become with
who and what we are. That's how it should be, anyway, some kind of
balance. Boy is balance tricky. I could never be a high wire walker; I'd
fall to ground the first day up. But, God, how hard I try to balance what
should be done and what has to be done. How do others do it? That's a book
I'd pay to read.
Such books exist on miles and miles of self-help shelves, but none have
ever worked for me. Do you continue to ignore a couple dozen letters that
should have had an answer three months ago in favor of work deadlined
tomorrow? Beats me. Making earlier deadlines on how and when a project can
and should be done is not the answer. I'm already sixty odd years late on
- RM first Published 10/98
Details of Rod's next
appearance can be obtained by following the link below.
Your Troubles Away" - the music of Jerry Herman