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The problems with Tell Me on a sunday

Theatrefanboy1
Featured Actor
joined:8/2/15
Featured Actor
joined:
8/2/15
The problems with Tell Me on a sunday#1
Posted: 1/10/19 at 6:26pm

Just wondering what people feel are the overall issues with Tell Me On A Sunday. What people like or dont like about the show. I find it strange that it never really transferred over to New York. (Other than As Song and Dance).  So what are the struggles with the show?

Updated On: 1/10/19 at 06:26 PM
JSquared2
Broadway Star
joined:3/23/17
Broadway Star
joined:
3/23/17
The problems with Tell Me on a sunday#2
Posted: 1/10/19 at 6:37pm

Seems like without the "Dance" act, it's pretty slight for a Broadway evening --- and the song part alone, while it has some great music, is extremely dated, particularly now in this #MeToo "age of enlightenment".

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chewy5000
Broadway Legend
joined:12/1/09
Broadway Legend
joined:
12/1/09
The problems with Tell Me on a sunday#3
Posted: 1/11/19 at 3:37am

It's not dated at all, (ok, the letters would probably be snapchats or whatever), but because of the episodic nature of the 'plot', and the fact that the audience only gets her side of the story, the audience is left feeling empty. There's no resolution to her problems, there's no growth, there's no real dramatic or emotional arc. It's hard to feel for her after the third bad relationship. She doesn't even have a name!

IMHO I see Queenie as being more of a brunette...
Loopin’theloop
Stand-by
joined:1/9/18
Stand-by
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1/9/18
The problems with Tell Me on a sunday#4
Posted: 1/11/19 at 6:13am

chewy5000 said: "It's not dated at all, (ok, the letters would probably be snapchats or whatever), but because of the episodic nature of the 'plot', and the fact that the audience only gets her side of the story, the audience is left feeling empty. There's no resolution to her problems, there's no growth, there's no real dramatic or emotional arc. It's hard to feel for her after the third bad relationship. She doesn't even have a name!"

Exactly.

It was written as a TV special and then expanded. It never really had the development time needed to create a solid piece of musical theatre. What Mr L Webber does very well is has the gumption to just seize opportunity but what he does badly is work in detail, especially in a short turn around. The notion of putting the show on stage came up and he was all for it but rather than working through the show to make sure it was entirely satisfying on stage, he threw some extra music in and tagged on a dance act.

It’s similar to the revival of Cats on broadway. He desperately wanted to have several musicals running at the same time, like his heyday. He jumped at the opportunity to do it but didn’t put much time into its remounting because he was too busy doing School of Rock. He’d backed himself into a corner by saying it would be a ‘fresh look’ and that was a stipulation of the theatre owners also. However he didn’t have time to actually do anything so they threw in a hip hop choreographer.

The man has talent. He had written some beautiful, beautiful melodies and with care and thought his character music and recit stuff can be good also. However he is more interested in legacy than quality.

Tell Me On A Sunday is slight because of all the issues mentioned above. If it was ever to be revived then now would make sense commercially, if it was to be retooled. Even if he wrote a completely separate story line about a woman of today and highlighted the social and cultural changes since the original. You could weave the two together so you have the 80s story interweaving with the 2018 story. Either have one actress play both roles in a Sliding Doors fashion or have two actors, which would obviously then create opportunity for dueting. 

The above might not be the right idea, who knows but he’s obsessed with up dating his old shows and yet does nothing more than cosmetic changes. If he thought in the above sort of terms and actually put some thought into his reimaginings he could turn out some really interesting stuff. 

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g.d.e.l.g.i.
Broadway Legend
joined:6/13/12
Broadway Legend
joined:
6/13/12
The problems with Tell Me on a sunday#5
Posted: 1/11/19 at 10:42am

I once proposed a solution where Tell Me On a Sunday would be revised to contain pretty much every song and sequence ever written for the piece to expand it into a full-length evening, shore up the book a little bit, and make the lead a young gay male. I still think that idea for a revisal has promise.

Formerly gvendo2005
Broadway Legend
joined: 5/1/05

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Jarethan
Broadway Legend
joined:2/10/11
Broadway Legend
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The problems with Tell Me on a sunday#6
Posted: 1/11/19 at 11:45am

Funny, I listened to the score for this about week ago -- the original with Marti Webb -- the first time in years.  I thoroughly  enjoyed it, particularly the Dance portion.

I was traveling regularly to London on business when the London production was open.  Since it was in the theatre at which Les Mis opened in 1986, I saw it at least 32 years ago, four times; which is amazing, because I generally preferred to spread the wealth among as many productions as possible.  

I so loved the original production -- particularly the Dance portion -- that I kept returning.  There was a grittiness to the entire production, no sets other than a platform that reminded me of the set piece for the staging of The Girls Upstairs in Follies, just some stairs on a platform as I recall.

Even though I have always loved BP, i pretty much hated the New York production.  The sets (backdrops?) in Song were horrible, and the stage just seemed too small for Dance (plus the choreography was inferior (seemed too 'sleek' instead of the grittiness of the London staging).  To me, the two parts always belonged together, and they just didn't seem part of a whole in NYC.

That said, while I think the score is very good, I just don't think Tell Me On A Sunday is interesting enough to be presented on its own in a theatre.  Re the suggestion of extending it to full-length (I assume at  least 90 minutes), IMO it is just not substantial enough to begin with...and that padding would only serve to highlight that fact; further, how many people are going to be able to sing a 90 minute production 8 times a week, etc.?

Maybe as a performance piece at a cabaret -- where the tickets are reasonable and you have a drink in your hand -- but the singer would need to have a lot of presence for it to work.