Tell Me on a Sunday is one of those Andrew Lloyd Webber works that keeps being altered over time. Originally a one-woman television show with lyrics by Don Black in 1980, it was then used as the first act of a musical called Song and Dance in London in 1982. The American version of Song and Dance, which opened on Broadway two years later, was heavily revised by Richard Maltby Jr. Nineteen years on, the show has obvious descendents in other media; as the story of the loves of a contemporary British woman living in New York, you'd call it a cross between Bridget Jones's Diary and Sex and the City set to music if it hadn't predated those works by decades. Now, however, you can make those comparisons, because it's been heavily revised again (this time by Jackie Clune), expanded into a 75-minute stand-alone show, and updated for the 21st century. Our heroine now sports a vocabulary full of references to cell phones and email. At greater length, however, its structural and dramatic problems are exacerbated. The main character simply reels from one man -- who begins as a dream in her eyes and ends as a nightmare -- to another. That's all that happens in Sex and the City (the TV series, not the original book), of course, and to an extent to poor Bridget Jones, but in these cases the romantic mishaps are treated humorously. All that leaves Tell Me on a Sunday is Webber's music, which is in his earlier, more pop/rock style, and some of it is fine. There is, however, more recitative than ever in this version, which causes the show to drag. Denise Van Outen, front and center for the whole thing, is convincing in the part of the shallow heroine. The revival opened on April 15, 2003, in London, originally billed as a limited engagement, but then settled in for an extended run.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann
|Tell Me On A Sunday, musical play (2003) (revised & expanded version)|