"Take that look off your face..."

Andrew Lloyd Webber and Don Black’s classic Tell Me on a Sunday is a one-woman show that charts the course of a young English girl newly arrived in New York.

Brimming with optimism, she sets out to seek success, companionship and, of course, love. But as she weaves her way through the maze of the city and her own anxieties, frustrations and heartaches she begins to wonder whether – in fact – she’s been looking for love in all the wrong places.

Tell Me on a Sunday was expanded from its original Marti Webb TV special to become a whole evening’s entertainment and also featured five brand new songs written especially for the production.

Making a Song and Dance...

Tell Me On A Sunday was composed in its first versions in New York whilst I was in rehearsal for Evita in 1979. Don Black and I wanted to write a one-woman show that would be a tour de force for the performer, but yet which was about a British girl in New York who has, perhaps, a little of various girls who Don and I had met in the Big Apple. Tell Me was first performed at the Sydmonton Festival in the summer of 1979 and subsequently recorded. It was given once in concert in January 1980 and also in concert on BBC TV that month.

Perhaps because Jesus Christ Superstar and Evita had both appeared first on records, it was assumed that there was some master strategy for the future of Tell Me when in fact there wasn’t.

Numerous scripts and suggestions for expansion have been given to Don and I, but finally we came to the inescapable conclusion that Tell Me is a one-woman show. Thus we set about revising and expanding Tell Me with the hope that we might have a basis for a one-woman film.

Variations was composed for my cellist brother Julian and it is, of course, a set of variations on the famous A Minor Caprice No 24 by Paganini which most composers seem to have had a go at varying over the years. It was issued on record in 1978 and the opening sequence was adapted as the theme music for London Weekend Television’s South Bank Show. Before Cats, Wayne Sleep had discussed with me the possibility that it could become the last half of his successful dance show with his company Dash, but plans went into abeyance when Wayne joined the Cats company. Thus it was at the same time as Don and I were wrestling with Tell Me that Wayne suggested the idea once more. Both discussions were overheard by Cameron Mackintosh who leapt into the arena with the suggestion that both be combined to form a complete evening – Song and Dance.

One problem was what to call the evening. Clearly Tell Me could be considered a one-woman musical, particularly if staged, but Variations was now a ballet, but a ballet with a score that demands great virtuosity from the musicians who perform it. We decided to call it Song and Dance: A Concert for the Theatre, in the hope that we would acknowledge the contribution of these musicians, yet also stage an evening that is both various and truly theatrical.

- Andrew Lloyd Webber

Creative Team

Andrew Lloyd Webber
Don Black
Andrew Lloyd Webber

ALW Lucy Sewill portrait 1 2015 (2)

Andrew Lloyd Webber is the composer of some of the world’s best known musicals including Cats, Evita, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Jesus Christ Superstar, The Phantom of the Opera and Sunset Boulevard. His latest musical, a stage version of the movie “School of Rock”, opened on Broadway in December 2015.

As theatre producer he has presented not only his own shows but others including the Olivier award-winning La Bete and Daisy Pulls It Off.

As composer he has received many awards including seven Tonys, , seven Oliviers, a Golden Globe, an Oscar, two International Emmys, the Praemium Imperiale, the Richard Rodgers Award for Excellence in Musical Theatre, a BASCA Fellowship, the Kennedy Center Honor and a Grammy for Best Contemporary Classical Composition for Requiem, his setting of the Latin Requiem mass which contains one of his best known compositions, Pie Jesu.

He owns six London theatres including the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane and the London Palladium.

He was knighted by Her Majesty The Queen in 1992 and created an honorary member of the House of Lords in 1997.

The Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation has become one of Britain’s leading charities supporting the arts and music.

Don Black

Don Black Head ShotDon Black received two Tony Awards for best book and lyrics of a musical for his work (with Christopher Hampton) on Sunset Boulevard, which marked his third collaboration with Andrew Lloyd Webber. They first joined forces to write the song cycle Tell Me On A Sunday which developed to form the basis of the stage show Song and Dance, They were reunited again for Aspects of Love. He also wrote the lyrics for the Andrew Lloyd Webber produced Bombay Dreams.

Awards include an Oscar for his song Born Free, five Academy Award nominations, two Tony Awards and three Tony nominations, six Ivor Novello Awards, a Golden Globe and many platinum and gold discs. He has written a quintet of James Bond theme songs: Thunderball, Diamonds Are Forever, The Man With The Golden Gun, Surrender from Tomorrow Never Dies and The World Is Not Enough. Among his many popular songs are two U.S. number ones - Ben for Michael Jackson and To Sir With Love for Lulu. He was inducted in the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2008 and recently honoured in London with a BMI Icon award. Don also received the Order of the British Empire in the Queens honours list.

Don's latest musical is Mrs Henderson Presents currently on at The Noel Coward Theatre. Don is also a regular broadcaster and has his own show on Radio Two.


Really Useful Group Ltd | Andrew Lloyd Webber
© Really Useful Group Ltd 2015