ON STAGE

An occasional update of New York theater openings

* Sunset Boulevard (Minskoff Theatre): After all the hoopla regarding the departure of Glenn Close, veteran Broadway actress Betty Buckley has stepped into the role of Norma Desmond in Andrew Lloyd Webber's big-budget musical, adapted from the Billy Wilder film. Buckley's estimable pipes do the score (one of Webber's strongest) much more justice than Close, so ''Sunset'' now sounds better than ever. But the actress, who has chosen a more psychologically oriented, realistic take on the part, robs the show of the entertaining, melodramatic flourishes provided by Close's Grand Guignol approach. Norma Desmond, like the title character in ''Phantom,'' is the mysterious center around which this musical revolves, and the show's orbit is now just a little bit smaller.

* One Woman Shoe (La MaMa): This Obie-winning show is a frequently funny spoof depicting a world in which welfare recipients have to qualify for the dole by developing and performing one-person shows (a prospect that feels uncomfortably close to reality). It is written by the Talent Family, actually the brother-sister team of David and Amy Sedaris; David is well known for his satirical commentaries on National Public Radio's ''Morning Edition,'' while Amy (who also appears on the show) is a creator, star, and writer for Comedy Central's ''Exit 57.'' The nonstop craziness of the show is a hit-or-miss affair, but there are enough hilarious jabs to keep the evening afloat.

* Family Guide to Broadway

Published by the League of American Theatres and Producers, this is a parents' directory to plays and musicals currently running on Broadway, with information provided as to the shows' content and suitability for children. (A typical entry describes ''Miss Saigon'' as having ''adult themes appropriate for mature teens.'') Also included are local and toll-free numbers to purchase tickets. For a free copy of the brochure, call 800-832-8440.

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