Notes on the Theater

FILM stars lined up to see fictional film goddess Norma Desmond in the new musical "Sunset Boulevard," which opened in London last week. The glittery premiere was attended by Jeremy Irons, Twiggy, and Billy Wilder (who directed the original 1950 movie).

"Sunset Boulevard" is being closely watched because of plans to bring it to Broadway in the fall of 1994.

Andrew Lloyd Webber, the British hitmaker responsible for "Phantom of the Opera" and "Cats," recreates early Hollywood to tell the story of an aging silent-film actress and the young screenwriter she hopes will revive her career.

Mr. Webber chose American Patti LuPone to head the cast; she starred as Eva Peron in his musical "Evita" 10 years ago on Broadway and is familiar to television viewers from the show "Life Goes On."

London critics have been fairly charitable, despite some reservations, about "Sunset Boulevard." Some have said the story has no soul at its core and that Webber's commercial ambitions have made him lean more toward stage glitz than passionate storytelling. (The musical will be reviewed in the Monitor, along with other current London theater attractions, in the next few weeks.) Advance box-office sales have been brisk. Reprieve for two shows

Last-minute ticket buyers saved "The Will Rogers Follies" from closing on Broadway. The musical revue's stay of execution will be evaluated week to week. In London, "City of Angels" posted a closing notice on the same day "Sunset Boulevard" opened, but renewed interest caused the producers to extend its run to October. Oddest camping trip

The Berkshire Theatre Festival in Stockbridge, Mass. is staging the world premiere of a play about the actual 1921 wilderness excursion of Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, and President Warren G. Harding.

"Camping With Henry & Tom" stars Robert Prosky and Ralph Waite and runs through July 31.

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