The Goose Visits Sunset Boulevard

Over the years, so many people have mistaken me for the great silent film actress Norma Desmond. And why wouldn’t they? With my large expressive eyes, my dramatic gestures and my haughty strut, we could actually be sisters! Only my downy feathers and large yellow beak belie my true identity as Mother Goose, and not the aging Miss Desmond.

And yet even at yesterday’s Drury Lane’s exquisite matinee production of Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Sunset Boulevard”, many people in the audience stage whispered behind their hands, “There she is! It’s the REAL Norma, right?” I smiled, nodded and waved majestically in their general direction as I took my fifth row center seat in the already-filled theatre. My guests and I were fashionably and dramatically late in arriving.

Mark, Marlene and John smiling for the paparazzi.

Mark, Marlene and John smiling for the paparazzi.

I snapped a couple of pictures before I was severely admonished by the young red-coated usher. More and more often, Mother Goose is coming under fire for capturing the moments in public…

Mark and his wife at the play, smiling unabashedly at the camera.

Mark and his wife at the play, smiling unabashedly at the camera.

The grand chandeliers in the theatre reminded me of another ALW production concerning a phantom in an opera house...

The grand chandeliers in the theatre reminded me of another ALW production concerning a phantom in an opera house…

The opening stage set very darkly -- ominous tidings of things to come.

The opening stage set very darkly — ominous tidings of things to come.

The house lights went down as the orchestra began the overture, and Mother Goose was swept away into the magic of the play. Onstage, the story played out, quite closely following Billy Wilder’s 1950 film. But, of course, it was the music that sent Mother Goose into fits of delight and tears and honking and flapping.

I must admit that when I looked at the Playbill and saw that Norma would be played by a VERY young actress, Miss Christine Sherrill, I wondered about the sensibility of the director. How could such a young and unwrinkled face become the face of an aging silent film star? As usual, Mother Goose was over-reacting, perhaps even over-acting, because Miss Sherrill was completely believable as Norma. And her voice is powerful and sweet and strangely sad all at the same time. Though Norma has been well-played on Broadway by the incredible likes of Glenn Close and Betty Buckley, Miss Sherrill was delightfully fresh and obviously perfectly cast.

I couldn’t have done better myself.

The musical was full of surprises so I cannot give you any more details about the story line or the sets or the props or the characters or the costumes or the make-up or the ending. I would like to suggest that you see the show yourself if you are in the Chicagoland area. The show runs through April 7th at Drury Lane in Oakbrook. And if by chance you live elsewhere, then my deepest and darkest sympathies to you for not being able to see Sunset Boulevard. Or if you live in Hollywood, please feel free to invite me to your home and we will visit the Boulevard together.

“All right, Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up…”

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7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Bunn
    Jan 28, 2013 @ 11:19:08

    Ohhhh what a beautiful place!!
    I wanna go see!! I wanna go see!!
    I’ve never been to anything like this. I know I would just love it!!
    To bad you won’t share more.

    Reply

    • Natalie
      Jan 28, 2013 @ 14:10:51

      I wish I could tell you EVERYTHING, but that would spoil so many of the surprises tucked away in this production! The only solution is for you to come down out of your northern Minnesota winter cave and visit me in sunny warm Chicago…

      Reply

  2. Dianna
    Jan 28, 2013 @ 13:39:13

    I always love to read about your outings….but you’re going to have to try to control your camera habits, Mother Goose…..

    Reply

  3. Beth Cerabona
    Feb 22, 2013 @ 15:48:17

    Mrs. Cramer! I have always enjoyed reading your stories on here πŸ™‚ I got really excited though when you mentioned Christine Sherrill! She was actually my second grade teacher and one of my childhood idols. She used to tell the class stories about her dreams of acting and about the shows she was in, all the time. She is the reason I got involved in theatre. At one point she gave my parents and I free tickets to see a show she was in (Singing in the Rain) and from then on, I was hooked! I decided I wanted to be just like her and become an actress so I signed up for CS park district theatre when I was about 7 or 8! Earlier in 2012, I went to the Marriott Theatre with my mom to see Legally Blonde: the Musical and was surprised to see Miss Sherrill playing Paulette. She was absolutely fantastic! But anyways, I love reading your stories on here πŸ™‚

    Reply

    • Natalie
      Feb 23, 2013 @ 06:45:45

      Dear Beth, that is an incredible connection! What a small world this is, right? Thanks so much for filling in the back story of this really talented actress! She made such great dramatic faces in the show and was really much better than my silly expectations! And she has a very powerful voice for these difficult songs. I look forward to seeing you on the stage someday SOON! Take care, dear. πŸ˜€

      Reply

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