I know that so far I have been choosing most of the songs. Side note: Some helpful suggestions would be appreciated here folks. This particular song was actually giving me problems. There are simply way too many ways to go. Should I tell one of the "old LA" stories about lala town or one of the childhood happenings and what it means to see those palm trees. Do I do Sunset Boulevard itself with all the lives from the sleaze of upper Sunset past the great mansions through the billboard valley and on to the Sea? How about a cute story about the maid served "coffee break" delivered on a sterling silver tray? Then there are the lyrics that could be either personal or a comic view of studio life. Those stories will have to wait because one of the entertainment gossip sites gave me a place to go for this week's Take This Tune.
There is a rumor going around that shortly (And they really mean it this time honest they do), filming will start on the musical, Sunset Boulevard in 2010. To say that the musical based on the movie has had a rocky road on its way to becoming a classic is more than a little bit of an understatement. Read all about it in the Wikipedia entry. Given all the potential writers, directors, librettists, composers, lawsuits and dueling divas, it's a wonder it ever saw the stage at all. Now keep your fingers crossed, it may actually find its way to film and (shhhh whisper quietly, I don't want a jinx), but my choice for the Norma Desmond sweepstakes, Glenn Close (who won the Tony after all fergudnessakes!!!) may be cast for the film. Now if they give me Hugh Jackman as Joe Gillis ..... Sighhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
Dreams are not enough to win a war
Out here they're always keeping score
Beneath the tan the battle rages
Smile a rented smile, fill someone's glass
Kiss someone's wife, kiss someone's ass
We do whatever pays the wages
or second thought from the London cast (Damn Captain Jack aka John Barrowman is talented).
One of the attractions of Sunset Boulevard is that it is one in a long line of stories about the great world of acting on stage and screen. Shakespeare often used the "play within a play" as a device and many plays, motion pictures and musicals have done the same including the ones that stole from the Bard himself such as "Kiss Me Kate" with its tribute to going on the road: "We Open In Venice". Twilight Zone semi stole Sunset Boulevard for an episode, but their aging diva ended up inside the films she watched over and over. In "The Purple Rose of Cairo", the movie characters came down off the screen. The movie considered the greatest of all the film musicals, "Singing In The Rain" is set in the transition between silents and talkies which just happens to be the time period when Norma loses her fame and begins the slide into madness.
Then there is "Jumbo" where a paper moon sails over a cardboard sky. Jumbo is set in a circus and as coincidence would have it, a circus was featured in a major way when I first saw Glenn Close on stage and where she was nominated for her first Tony Award as Charity Barnum in the musical "Barnum". She didn't win that time, but her co-star Jim Dale did for his performance in the title role.
Barnum was so important to me for other reasons, that I had to have a permanent momento. Above is the window card from that 1980 show that hangs on my wall. Unfortunately, You Tube has failed me and none of the songs from the show are by the original performers which is a shame because Close was wonderful singing "One Brick At A Time" and even better with Charity's lyrics to "The Colors of My Life" when she is coping with way too much SHOW BUSINESS in the middle of real life and let's pretend has become very disturbing no matter how much you may love the showman.
THE COLORS OF MY LIFE
Are softer than a breeze.
The silver gray of eiderdown,
The dappled green of trees.
The amber of a wheat field,
The hazel of a seed,
The crystal of a raindrop,
Are all I'll ever need.
Your reds are much too bold,
In gold I find no worth.
I'll fill my days with sage and brown
The colors of the earth,
And if from by my side
My love should roam,
The colors of my life
Will shine a quiet light
To lead him home.
So if they actually do get around to filming Sunset Boulevard, I hope it will be Glenn Close as Norma Desmond for whom the thin line between real and reel has completely worn away.