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June 12, 2016:

Tell Me On A Sunday reviewed by Rob Stevens

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Tell Me On A Sunday is a one-woman, one-act song cycle with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Don Black and Richard Maltby Jr. The work premiered in England in 1979 with Marti Webb. It was reworked for its 1985 Broadway debut which starred Bernadette Peters. It was retitled Song and Dance and the second act was a ballet choreographed by Peter Martins to classical music themes by Lloyd Webber. The simple story follows young British hat maker Emma through her romantic tangles in Manhattan and Hollywood. Her British boyfriend paid her airfare to NYC but on her first night, Emma discovers the musician has a string of other girlfriends. She leaves and soon winds up as the trophy girlfriend of movie producer Sheldon Bloom whose career takes precedence over Emma. Back in New York, Emma falls in love with traveling salesman Joe only to discover he travels less and has more girlfriends. She finally ends up as the 12 to 2 mistress of a married man with children. When the man leaves his family for her she realizes she never loved him, was only using him, and vows to start over.

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The story is all told through the 18 songs, which contain some of Lloyd Webber’s most varied melodies and some clever lyrics by Black and Maltby Jr. Calvin Remsberg’s direction keeps the various locales and moods tightly focused. Richard Berent’s musical direction/piano accompaniment gives a full bodied feel to the score. Shannon Nelson may be the hardest working performer in the Fringe Festival, constantly changing costumes and setting up the props for her next scene as well as embodying the emotions of Emma. Nelson’s voice isn’t a perfect fit for all the songs in the rangy score, but she puts her heart and soul into her performance and captivates her audience. It’s a rare chance to see this little gem from the Lloyd Webber oeuvre.

3stars

Sacred Fools Theatre Black Box, 6322 Santa Monica Blvd. in Hollywood. July 10. http://www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/3432

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