New version of Tell Me on a Sunday switches to gay man’s story

Lyricist Don Black is working on a gender-switched version of Tell Me on a Sunday, the musical he wrote with Andrew Lloyd Webber, changing the main character to a gay man.

Tell Me On A Sunday

In an interview with BBC News online, he revealed he has already started work on adapting the 1979 solo show which originally followed the turbulent love life of a young British woman in New York.

He has gone as far as workshopping the idea in a rehearsal studio with leading theatre director Rebecca Frecknall whose credits include the award-winning London revival of Tennessee Williams’ Summer and Smoke.

According to the BBC interview, the new version keeps the same basic era but makes the central character male and gay. “We knew immediately it could open up resonant new areas of the story,” Black said. “I’ll be so delighted if we can put it together.”

It would follow the successful gender-switched version of Stephen Sondheim’s 1970 musical Company, which converted the main character of Bobby to a woman and created a gay couple.

Tell Me on a Sunday features hit tunes including Take That Look Off Your Face and Unexpected Song as well as Tell Me on a Sunday. The solo show has been performed by many leading female performers including Marti Webb, Bernadette Peters, Lulu, Sarah Brightman, Liz Robertson, Gemma Craven, Denise Van Outen and Claire Sweeney.

The BBC interview, tying in with the release of Black’s memoirs, The Sanest Guy in the Room: A Life in Lyrics, on 23 July, also revealed he was making progress with a musical version of the classic film, The Third Man, based on a novel by Graham Greene.

Black said he was also reworking a show called Feather Boy, based on Nicky Singer’s award-winning children’s book of the same name, after it was commissioned by the National Theatre in 2006 for its Shell Connections series of new writing for young people.

Alongside Black’s lyrics and Debbie Wiseman’s music, the stage version of Feather Boy was written by Nicky Singer and Peter Tabern who were also behind the 2004 TV adaptation starring Thomas Brodie-Sangster.

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