THE musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Don Black, Tell Me on a Sunday, has had various different forms and rather a chequered history on Broadway and in the West End since starting as a song cycle in 1981.
It has now been remodelled as a solo vehicle for former Brookside actress and singer Claire Sweeney who brings it to the Lyceum next week.
Tell Me On A Sunday charts the romantic misadventures of a young English girl in America. “She goes from New York and then to Los Angeles but looking for love in all the wrong places,” says Sweeney who leapt at the chance of following Marti Webb, Sarah Brightman, Lulu and Denise Van Outen in the role.
“The score is beautiful. I think it’s one of Lloyd Webber’s best. The lyrics are fantastic,” she says. “And then there’s the challenge to do a one-woman show singing 26 songs to hold an audience. It’s daunting but if you don’t challenge yourself you don’t go anywhere.
“You have to keep your concentration all the time and stay focused. There is nowhere to hide.”
She’s not entirely alone with a five-piece band on stage in an elevated position on a set representing New York with added props and lighting to show LA later on.
The story is told purely through song as our optimistic heroine reflects on her mistakes, updating her mother with emails home.
The score, which features the chart topping song Take That Look Off Your Face, has been revised especially for Claire Sweeney including an exclusive song, Dreams Never Run On Time.
She doesn’t have a particular favourite, however. “I enjoy singing the well known songs, but I love them all,” she says.
Claire Sweeney has not previously performed in Sheffield, although she took the show to the Pomegranate, Chesterfield, for a one-nighter last year during a try-out period for the show, but is looking forward to looking up some old friends in the city while she is here.
Tell Me on a Sunday finishes at Lyceum on Saturday.
Next week Sheffield Theatres embarks on a new partnership with the National Theatre as a host venue for the Connections Festival presenting a week of specially-commissioned new plays for actors aged 13-19. The festival showcases a variety of new writing, featuring playwrights including Helen Blakeman (Pleasureland), Noel Clarke (Adulthood), and Douglas Maxwell (Decky Does a Bronco).
Twelve theatre groups from around the region have worked on one playwright’s work to create a lively and an inspiring production, reflecting the ideas, concerns and views of young people today.
On Monday Sheffield based Easy Street Theatre Company will be performing Cloud Busting, adapted by Helen Blakeman from a novel by Malorie Blackman, and on Thursday Hope Valley College will present Bassett by James Graham, in which a supply teacher at Wootton Bassett School goes nuts when only yards away a repatriation of British soldiers is happening on the high street.
As part of the festival programme, Sheffield Theatres will showcase Platform Performances in the Crucible foyer when talented young Sheffielders will present short pieces of theatre, live music and performance poetry.
There will be two plays each evening from Monday to Saturday in the Crucible Theatre.