How hard is it to write and compose a one-act, one woman musical? To most, this may seem like a relatively simple feat.
But when you consider that the composer in question is the same man who composed legendary musicals such as Jesus Christ Superstar, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Phantom of the Opera, you can see that the task of a one woman show is far from simple.
For Third Degree Theatre, the decision to undertake producing Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 1979 production of Tell Me on a Sunday was, in contrast, a no-brainer.
Webber wanted to challenge himself. He wanted to see if he could write a small scale piece and continue creating success with a lyricist other than Tim Rice. He teamed up with Don Black and the result was a charming short about the adventures of a 27-year-old English girl from Muswell Hill, who journeys to the New York City in search of love.
Emma’s story is told through introspective musical monologues and letters she writes home to England. A tour de force for the performer, the Broadway Production opened in 1985 winning Bernadette Peters a Tony Award for her portrayal of Emma. Following the successful run, Tell Me on a Sunday toured nationally starring Melissa Manchester.
Directed by John Stuart, the Third Degree production of Tell Me on a Sunday stars Robyn Van Luven as Emma. The duo perfectly combines the years of experience and bottomless talent that are absolutely necessary to shape the magic of this rare Andrew Lloyd Webber musical.
“This show is classic Andrew Lloyd Webber: the music, the fun, the passion is all there. And Robyn performs it beautifully,” said Stewart.
On the character of Emma, Van Luven confesses: “The main thing I’ve realized during the rehearsal process is how emotionally complex Emma is, going through the whole spectrum of highs to lows.”
Tell Me on a Sunday is the second production for Third Degree Theatre, a young theatre company that exploded out of the gate in 2010 with a production of Addicted: A Comedy of Substance which played to sold out audiences across Metro Vancouver.
“We love the combination of intimate venues and theatre that touches those in the audience,” said Aaron S. Davis, co-artistic director of the company. “Our hope is to bring folks to the theatre that have not necessarily given it the chance before. We want to show people that theatre is a unique form of entertainment that is incredibly entertaining and has an ability to connect to the audience like film and TV rarely, if ever, could.”
• Tell Me on a Sunday plays Friday, Feb. 11 and Saturday, Feb. 12 at the St. Andrew’s Heritage Hall, 22279 116th Avenue in Maple Ridge. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. with the show starting at 8 p.m. All tickets are $15.To buy tickets, visit www.thirddegreetheatre.ca or call 604-612-9713.