Sunset Boulevard, Twisting Boulevard. Bet you that Glenn Close’s a Tony Winner! Sunset Remoulade, Tempting Remoulade. Waiting to be swallowed for your dinner!
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Based on Billy Wilder’s Oscar-winning 1950 film, Sunset Boulevard was a rare misfire for Andrew Lloyd Webber when it originally opened in London in 1993 to a critical mauling, starring Patti Lupone. A rethink was required and an improved production including new songs and set opened in LA in 1993 starring Glenn Close and the show became a hit. The LA production and Glenn Close transferred to Broadway. Meanwhile, the troubled original London version was closed down and revamped to mirror the successful US version, with the role of Norma Desmond now being played by Betty Buckley. Lloyd-Webber was taken to court by two of his leading ladies: Patti Lupone, whose London version was shut down, had been promised the US premiere that went to Glenn Close – and Faye Dunaway, who was due to replace Close in LA, sued when the LA production was closed down rather than let her go on stage with a “substandard” voice. At least he wasn’t shot and ended up floating in a swimming pool!
Glenn Close reprised her role in the 2016 West End revival of Sunset Boulevard and has been nominated for an Olivier Award. The success of this production has led to the recently opened Broadway revival starring, once again, Glenn Close.
Sunset Boulevard, as well as being the show’s title, is the Act II opening number sung, poolside, by Joe Gillis, who has embraced his status as a kept man in Norma Desmond’s mansion. Interestingly, in the doomed original London version, one of the possibly made-up stage directions states that Max, the butler, interprets Joe’s repeated chanting of “Sunset Boulevard” as a misheard food order and appears, stage left, with a tray of remoulade before realising his mistake and shuffling quietly off-stage looking embarrassed.
Celeriac remoulade is a french bistro classic and is the perfect accompaniment to cured meats or paté. It is, very simply, grated celeriac (or celery root, as I understand certain colonials will know it) in a mustardy cream sauce. I have added a carrot for a hint of sunset colours to justify the title, but the dish is usually just celeriac. Grate a peeled celeriac (ideally into 10086 pieces) and carrot (I used the grating disk on my food processor to make life easy) and toss through the lemon juice to stop the celeriac from discolouring.
Mix the mayonnaise (and check out On Mayown if you want to make it fresh), Dijon mustard and creme fraiche (other kinds of cream or plain yoghurt would work fine) and add some seasoning. Mix the sauce and celeriac together… et voila!
The remoulade will keep in the fridge quite happily for a couple of days.