The semi-autobiographical story is based on the often turbulent relationship between composer Marvin Hamlisch and lyricist Carole Bayer Sager, who provide the music and lyrics for the piece. Vernon Gersch, a neurotic and successful composer with a host of awards, is paired up with the lovably eccentric Sonia Walsk, a young lyricist who’s a hopeless time-keeper and dresses in cast-off theatre costumes. The unlikely pairing seems destined to falter off key, but as their working relationship grows, so do their feelings for each other.
They\'re Playing Our Song is directed by Fiona Laird and designed by Matthew Wright. After shooting to fame on the first BBC musical casting programme How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria? two years ago, Connie Fisher subsequently won best newcomer prizes at both the Whatsonstage.com and Critics’ Circle Awards for The Sound of Music. Over the past two years, TV impressionist Alistair McGowan has also accumulated a number of musical credits including Merry Wives – The Musical, The Mikado, the West End transfer of the Menier revival of Little Shop of Horrors, for which he was Olivier-nominated, and, most recently, Cabaret.
They\'re Playing Our Song had its Broadway premiere in 1979, starring Robert Klein and Luci Arnaz. The West End premiere a year later starred Tom Conti and Gemma Craven. The score includes “Workin’ It Out”, “If He Really Knew Me”, “Just for Tonight”, “I Still Believe in Love” and the title song.
Overnight critics found little common ground with regards to They\'re Playing Our Song, some hailing the “charming production” and others disappointed by this revival of a “miserably untalented tuner”. As for the performances, most agreed that Connie Fisher has successfully shed “the spectre of Maria” with the role, though some detected a lack of “sexual chemistry” between her and Alistair McGowan and noted that both actors fought against bad hairdos that contribute to a feeling that the piece has dated badly.
- by Kate Jackson
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THEY’RE PLAYING OUR SONG - including a FREE
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