Five-minute ovation for Glenn Close Sunset stand-in

Five-minute ovation for Glenn Close Sunset stand-in


norman lebrecht

April 22, 2016

Before the curtain rose last night at English National Opera, some members of the audience shouted and demanded their money back after it was announced that the star of Sunset Boulevard, Glenn Close, was unable to appear.

People had paid a lot of money and come a long way to see the Hollywood legend. No refunds were offered. Glenn Close is 69 and was described by ENO as ‘indisposed’. Her future appearances have yet to be confirmed.

At the final curtain, however, the audience cheered her stand-in, Ria Jones, for fully five minutes.

ria jones

Good show.


  • Adam says:

    Before the curtain rose, during the announcement, the overwhelming sound that came from lots of members of the audience was positive, supportive – practically joyous. Ria Jones no doubt benefitted from this warmth and generosity (she originated the role for the musical during its original ‘workshop’ at Sydmonton Festival in 1991).

  • I hate greedy theatres says:

    Another case where they sell a lot of tickets because a celebrity is in then astonishingly celebrity is ill and a stand in is singing.
    Not that celebrities are that good, Timothy Spall in The Caretaker was rubbish.
    Glad people booed, greedy ENO, £150 to see a stand in, RSC charge £10.
    Theatres are greedy, complaining about not having any money and making £250000 pet performance, vote with your feet, greedy theatres.

  • Theodore McGuiver says:

    This was not unknown when we were doing Sunset in the West End. Some punters were understandably disappointed when either Petula Clark or Rita Moreno weren’t able to perform but quickly recovered when the show started.

  • Jim says:

    It’s unbelievable that people actually boo at these announcements, I was at Friday’s performance when Ria Jones performed again, we actually booked that pm so we could see her and yes again there were boos, followed by lots of clapping and cheering! We have heard Ria do some smaller things at St James’ so this was a great chance to see her, where she was meant to be (:-), and yes she DID originate the roll at ALW’s festival.
    Back to the idiotic booers, a sigh of disappointment is fine but booing, who are they booing, GC, RJ, ENO, the guy making the speech?? If it were not for understudies theatre could not survive; a recent Donmar perf of City of Angels was cancelled as the leading lady was ill & Donmar cannot afford understudies. Opera houses fly deputy singers in all the time.
    So let’s be grateful for the understudy and in this case the amazing Ms Ria Jones – nerves of steel!!
    The show is fab! Great production, cast amazing esp ALL the principals AND the wonderful orchestra of ENO, so lovely to hear this score again(ALW’s best in my op) back in the West End, I’ve missed it.

  • tony powles says:

    sorry but I bought tickets to see glenn close however good the understudy is refunds should be made because the product is not what I paid for ps I would never boo

  • Sue P says:

    I booked because Glenn Close was in the show. I was disappointed, but these things happen. Ria was amazing, as were the rest of the cast and orchestra. Shows are about more than one person. We enjoyed it thoroughly and will look out for Ria in the future.

  • Francesco Moretti says:

    I was there in ENO, thursday night, 21th aprile. I came from Italy, a trip of less than 24 hours to see the Phantom of the Opera matinee and Glenn Close in Sunset Boulevard. I bought a 150£ ticket to see GLENN CLOSE in Sunset Boulevard. The “theatrical event of the year” was GLENN CLOSE in Sunset Boulevard. Ok, she was ill. I was disappointed, because I made thousands of kilometers and spent a lot of money to see a dream come true, my first time in London, my first time to see Sunset Boulevard on stage with my favourite Norma, GLENN CLOSE. But she was ill. Amen.
    In any case, I saw a great performance, an amazing show, a wonderful orchestra, and a lovely rising star, the beautiful Ria Jones, that now I love so much beacuse her Norma has been simply marvellous. Brava, Ria!