One of my favorite scenes took place after curtain call. With the entire cast still gathered on stage, the house announcer appeared and began an auction to benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. Up for bids: a long white robe in the vein of Norman Desmond. It was autographed by everyone in the company. Bids launched at $500 and jumped quickly to $1,000. To entice more enthusiasm from the audience, Glenn Close threw it over her shoulders and modeled it at center stage. Someone yelled:
Sensing the momentum, she grinned “I’ll even throw in my gloves” and gradually removed them.
I was thinking the wagers were done when this gentleman two rows above and beside me shouted:
A deep gasp ricocheted across the theater. But the house announcer didn’t miss a beat.
“How ’bout we put up two signed robes then? We have an extra one, don’t we? Yeah?” He looked off stage.
“Okay, right. If I get two people to bid $4,000 each, you both get a robe!”
There was silence. No one could speak.
“All right,” Close said, “You can even come backstage and take a picture with me.”
There were widespread mutterings, yet the house went still. Then Close, suddenly adopting the tone she used to portray Alex Forrest in the film Fatal Attraction, warned:
“Oh, c’mon. Don’t make me go pull a bunny out of a boiling pot or anything.”
I leapt out of my seat clapping. Two people screamed “Four thousand! Four thousand!” and the robes were deployed.
The evening adjourned.
Photos by Rick Stachura. The Broadway revival of “Sunset Boulevard” at the Palace Theatre. March 24, 2017.
(1) Glenn Close takes a bow.
(2) Ms. Close and company take bids on her robe from the audience.
Author’s Note: This story was originally posted to my old Tumblr account on March 30, 2017.