She went on at least once.
Posted by: DanielVincent 11:17 am EST 01/16/23
In reply to: Did Balgord ever go on? - IvyLeagueDropout 01:01 am EST 01/16/23

Balgord went on at least once--the weekend before Thanksgiving in 2008, although I can't remember if it was Saturday or Sunday or matinee or the evening.

It was a very interesting performance and, unlike your description of Maureen Moore, she seemed to have been given leeway to create her own Rose. (Side note: what you've said about Moore makes me curious about what she was like the one time when she went on for Cyndi Lauper in Threepenny Opera. It's hard for me to imagine that she could've channeled Lauper the way you describe her channeling Peters, to whom she is very similar in the first place.) Unsurprisingly, Balgord sang the music beautifully. Diehard fans of Sunset Blvd. may remember that she and LuPone were the only Normas to sing the score in the key in which it was originally written, so the two may share a "sweet spot" in their vocal ranges that served Balgord well as a standby singing in keys chosen for another performer.

From an acting standpoint, though, Balgord struck me as somewhat miscast. There is something inherently regal and sophisticated about her--a quality that worked very well for her Norma Desmond and Queen Elizabeth in The Pirate Queen, but generally seemed wrong for Rose. No one would ever mistake Balgord for a "pioneer woman without a frontier." In a few scenes, such as the one with Miss Cratchit after Dainty June and Her Farmboys, this quality highlighted how aspirational Rose is: it seemed that she was deliberately and aspirationally putting on airs, which was thought-provoking and brought out different elements in the text than were emphasized with LuPone. However, the writing in most of the libretto doesn't really support a patrician Rose, especially when Balgord was not really doing anything to delineate between a public and private persona for the character. She had great chemistry with Boyd Gaines, though, and in her most flirtatious moments, you saw her light up with a certain girlishness that was very endearing.

Overall, as I said, it was an interesting performance that didn't quite work, but was still fun to watch.

Incidentally, I saw Staunton do Gypsy on the West End and LOVED her, but I couldn't make it through more than 15 minutes of the broadcast. It was a totally different experience.

Previous: re: Did Balgord ever go on? - MikeP 01:01 am EST 01/27/23
Next: Imelda Staunton in Gypsy - mikem 11:53 am EST 01/16/23

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