The National Theatre is mounting a star-studded tribute to American lyricist Alan Jay Lerner as part of its continuing late night cabaret season at the NT Terrace Café. Almost Like Being in Love begins tonight, 25 May, for a limited eight performances up to 16 June 2001.

Anita Dobson, Sian Phillips, John Standing and Anna Francolini will be joined by Clive Carter and Matt Rawle, making their debut appearances at the National, in the cabaret show directed by Hugh Wooldridge with musical direction by Stuart Barr.

Lerner is best known for his collaborations with composer Frederick Loewe. Together, the two produced such Broadway hit musicals as Brigadoon (1947), Paint Your Wagon (1951), Camelot (1960) and the Tony Award-winning My Fair Lady (1956), which is currently being revived in the National's Lyttelton Theatre prior to transferring to the West End's Theatre Royal Drury Lane.

In a career that spanned from the 1930s to the 1980s, Lerner's other well-known collaborations included An American in Paris (done with the Gershwins), On a Clear Day You Can See Forever (with Burton Lane) and Coco (Andre Previn).

Almost Like Being in Love aims to celebrate these as well as the music from Lerner's "lost" musicals and, in particular, his love lyrics.

Doors for the Terrace Café open from 9.45pm with performances beginning at 11.00pm and continuing until midnight. Almost Like Being in Love plays 25 and 26 May and 1, 2, 8, 9, 15 and 16 June.

- by Terri Paddock