Song And Dance
By Andrew Lloyd Webber
Song and Dance was an evening of musical theatre and dance cooked up by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Cameron Mackintosh and produced jointly by Cameron and the Really Useful Company, opening at the Palace Theatre in the West End on 7th April 1982.
The song part of the entertainment was a performance of Andrew’s one-woman song-cycle Tell Me On A Sunday that he wrote when rehearsing for Evita in New York in 1979. It was first performed at the Sydmonton Festival in the summer of 1979 and recorded as a concert by BBC TV in January 1980 with Marty Webb as the solo performer.
The dance part was a ballet, choreographed by Anthony Van Laast to Andrew’s Variations for solo cello and orchestra, originally written as a concert piece for his brother Julian and based on the theme of Paganini’s Caprice in A Minor for solo violin. It was released on record in 1978, the opening sequence becoming well known as the theme tune for LWT’s South Bank Show. The celebrated dancer, Wayne Sleep, had discussed with Andrew the idea of using Variations as a finale for his own dance show Dash, but his appearance as Mr McCavity in CATS had put that plan into abeyance.
While Andrew was wrestling on two fronts with plans for separate theatrical exploitation of these two pieces, Cameron suggested that both pieces could be combined in a single evening of theatre – with the title Song & Dance.
Andrew Lloyd Webber takes up the history in his own words: ‘Thus it was that we began work developing the material for the theatre with our director John Caird and choreographer Anthony Van Laast. One problem was what to call the evening. Clearly Tell Me could be considered a one woman musical…but Variations was a ballet, but a ballet with a score that demands great virtuosity from the musicians who perform it. We decided to call the evening SONG AND DANCE A Concert for the Theatre in order to acknowledge the contribution of these musicians, yet also stage an evening that is both various and truly theatrical’.
The show was a huge, and unexpected, success and ran at the Palace Theatre for two years. David Hersey’s set and lighting were spectacular with the band playing on stage as a fully integrated part of the action in the first half but trucking upstage to make way for a full-scale dance floor in the second.
Actress of the Year in a Musical – Marti Webb for Song and Dance at the Palace Theatre (Nomination)
Outstanding Achievement of the Year in a Musical – Song and Dance at the Palace Theatre. (Nomination)
Director - John Caird
Tell Me On A Sunday
Sung by Marty Webb
Danced by Wayne Sleep
Marty Webb’s role was played later in the run by Gemma Craven, Lulu and Liz Robertson.
Wayne Sleep’s role was played later in the run by Graham Fletcher.