Glenn Close is once again ready for her close-up.
The 69-year-old actress is returning to Broadway in the 16 week limited engagement revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Sunset Boulevard," stepping back into the shoes of Norma Desmond — a role she first played to critical acclaim (and her third Tony award) in the 1994 original production.
But for Close, playing "the greatest star of the silent screen" again might be a little dangerous. After all, it was a part that haunted the actress after she first played it, 22 years ago.
"I had a 6-year-old daughter and all of a sudden, I went from being every night this amazing, larger than life woman, I went back to making sandwiches for lunch and driving Annie to school," she told "Today" anchor Matt Laurer on Thursday. "It was as if Norma was sitting across from me in the easy chair saying, 'Children? Sandwiches? Where am I?' "
Don't worry, Desmond will be back where she belongs next month. The musical, which features a book and lyrics by Don Black and Christopher Hampton, was a hit when it first treaded the boards — winning 7 Tonys including Best Musical. The revival, which begins previews at the Palace Theater Feb. 2 ahead of a Feb. 9 opening date, comes from a 2016 sold-out engagement at London's English National Opera — which marketed Close's West End debut.
Returning to the musical all these years later is exciting for Close. She says the role is completely different. "That was the luxury of going back ao character as rich as Norma Desmond," she explained. "And to have 22 years of life and 22 years of learning my craft — I went to London and said, 'Let's just start from the beginning.' And I feel like a totally different person than I did 22 years ago in that role."
A notoriously vile diva, Desmond is a juicy, yet challenging role. "I think anyone who has attempted to play it will tell you: it's physically challenging and it's vocally challenging," Close revealed. But even though the character's a little wicked, Close still finds a lot to like about her. "You delve down and you try to understand the why of someone's behavior. And in that journey of discovery, I always find a place to love them."
She doesn't feel any pressure. In fact, if anything, Broadway feels familiar. "I did it here before," Close said. "When I went to London, I'd never done it there before. I've come home and it'll be a different take. Hopefully people will like it this much."
"I think the story of Norma Desmond is as relevant as ever," she added.
"Sunset Boulevard," at the Palace Theatre, 1564 Broadway. For tickets and information, visit sunsetboulevardthemusical.com