Aspects of Love

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Aspects of Love
Aspects of love logo.png
Original West End Logo
Music Andrew Lloyd Webber
Lyrics Don Black
Charles Hart
Book Andrew Lloyd Webber
Basis Aspects of Love by David Garnett
Productions 1989 West End
1990 Broadway
1991 Edmonton chamber version
2007 UK Tour
2010 London revival
2012-2013 Dutch Tour

Aspects of Love is a musical with a book and music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Don Black and Charles Hart. It is famous for the song "Love Changes Everything."

Based on the novella of the same name by David Garnett, the piece focuses on the romantic entanglements of actress Rose Vibert, her admiring fan Alex Dillingham, his underage cousin Jenny, his uncle George, and George's mistress, sculptor Giulietta Trapani, over a period of 17 years. The "aspects" of the title refers to the many forms that love takes in the show: love between couples, both as romantic infatuation and as married people; children and their parents; and hints of same-sex attraction (Giulietta and Rose).

Lloyd Webber was introduced to Aspects of Love in 1979, when he and Tim Rice were approached to write a few songs for a proposed film version. When nothing came of it, he suggested to Trevor Nunn that they collaborate on a stage adaptation. In 1983, they presented a cabaret of numbers they had written, but it was not until five years later that they tackled the project in earnest.[1] For the finished project, Lloyd Webber used at least five of the tunes he had written for the 1986 one-act musical Cricket, which he had written with Tim Rice.[2]

Productions[edit]

The West End production, directed by Trevor Nunn and choreographed by Gillian Lynne, opened on April 17, 1989 at the Prince of Wales Theatre, where it ran for 1,325 performances. The original cast included Ann Crumb as Rose Vibert, Michael Ball as Alex Dillingham, Kevin Colson as George Dillingham, Kathleen Rowe McAllen as Giuletta Trapani and Diana Morrison. Sarah Brightman, Barrie Ingham, and Michael Praed were among the replacements later in the run. Former James Bond actor Roger Moore was due to star as George in the production but left two weeks before opening night. He later stated in an interview that he was unable to cope with the technical side of singing in Aspects of Love, and that the production required someone with experience of orchestras. Following his departure, understudy Kevin Colson took over the role.[3]

The Broadway production, with the same creative team and many of the original London cast, opened on April 8, 1990 at the Broadhurst Theatre and closed on March 2, 1991 after 377 performances and 22 previews. Brightman and John Cullum joined the cast later in the run. The reviews were lackluster and New York Times critic Frank Rich wrote in a negative review "Whether Aspects of Love is a musical for people is another matter."[4] When the musical closed, the entire $8 million investment was lost, which, according to the New York Times, made it "perhaps the greatest flop in Broadway history."[5]

In 1991, a "chamber" version of the show with Keith Michell was mounted in Canada. It subsequently toured in America and a similar production was staged in Australia. Aspects of Love was produced in Japan, the Philippines, Hungary, Finland, and Denmark as well.

A new UK tour began on 31 August 2007, the first production in 15 years. Starring David Essex as George Dillingham along with Matt Rawle, Shona Lindsay and Poppy Tierney. The production was directed by Nikolai Foster, and musically directed by Andrew J.Smith. The tour opened at the Theatre Royal, Newcastle upon Tyne, and toured for 36 weeks through 8 December 2007. Rawle was later replaced by Tim Rogers. [6]

Following the UK tour, the musical played a limited engagement at The Joburg Theatre in Johannesburg, South Africa from May 22 to June 28, 2009. The touring production was re-directed by Nikolai Foster and starred Samantha Peo, Robert Finlayson, Angela Kilian and Keith Smith.[7]

A London revival ran at the Menier Chocolate Factory from July 15 to September 11, 2010, with new direction by Trevor Nunn. The cast featured Dave Willetts as George, Rosalie Craig as Guilieta, Katherine Kingsley as Rose,and Michael Arden as Alex. [8]

In 2012, a Dutch production toured the Netherlands. It was produced by Stage Entertainment.[9]

The new Definitive script was staged at The Playhouse, Whitley Bay during February to March 2014. Produced by Tynemouth Operatic Society, it was the first non professional staging in the UK with the new script and full orchestra. It was also the first staging in the world of the Definitive version worked on by Lord Lloyd Webber who has pulled together all the aspects of productions and tours over the years and created the show as he wishes to see it staged.

Plot[edit]

Act One[edit]

At a train station in Pau, France in 1964, a man (who will later be identified as the 34-year-old Alex) reflects on his love life over the past 17 years. A woman (who will later be identified as Giulietta Trapani) replies to him that "it's all in the past."

The action then moves back in time to 1947, where 25-year-old starving actress, Rose Vibert, rants at her producer, Marcel, because their show is a flop and is closing for two weeks. Marcel defends himself, then tries to placate Rose by introducing her to an avid young fan, 17-year-old Alex. Alex convinces her to come with him to a villa at Pau belonging to his uncle, George, where they have a brief tryst. George, in Paris with his mistress, Giulietta Trapani, hears that Rose and Alex have broken into his villa and returns to Pau. Rose is attracted to George despite his age. George is briefly overcome when he sees Rose dressed in a gown belonging to his much-adored but long-deceased wife, Delia, who was also an actress. George remarks how much Rose resembles Delia. He advises Alex that all good things have to end, and that his interlude with Rose will one day be just a memory. Alex insists that his relationship with Rose is not a schoolboy crush, but real love. George amuses Rose with tidbits about his life while Alex listens grumpily. George leaves, and the next day, Rose leaves under mysterious circumstances to rejoin Marcel. Alex realizes that Rose had never taken him seriously.

Two years later, Alex, now a soldier, goes to visit his uncle in Paris. George is fixing up the villa in the country, and Alex is shocked to find that Rose is now George's mistress. He accuses her of chasing his uncle's money, but Rose protests that she really loves George. She admits that she did love Alex once, and the two, drawn to each other again, fall into bed. The next morning, an agitated Rose tells Alex to leave before George returns. Alex, enraged, pulls out his gun. Rose throws a candlestick at Alex, and the gun goes off, shooting Rose in the arm, and she faints. George arrives but is surprisingly calm. George and Alex each try to convince the other that he is the right man for Rose. George wins the debate, insisting that Alex should begin a new life with Rose, and Alex finally agrees. George then heads to Venice to see his former mistress, Giulietta. However, Rose orders Alex to leave, having chosen to stay with George. Alex leaves, and Rose and Marcel follow George to Venice. Rose intends to confront Giulietta and reclaim George.

In Venice, Rose has run up bills everywhere. George is exasperated but admits that he'd be lost without her. Later, Giulietta and Rose bond while discussing George's foibles. They both express surprise that the other woman is not at all what they'd imagined. George returns and says that he has lost most of his money (some productions have him catching Rose and Giulietta in bed together). Rose then asks George to marry her and he agrees. At the wedding, Giulietta shocks everyone by claiming her best man's rights and kissing Rose on the mouth. George, however, is delighted. At a military encampment in Malaya some months later, Alex hears of the wedding, and that George will be a father soon.

Act Two[edit]

Twelve years later at a theatre in Paris, Rose has risen to stardom and has a young lover, Hugo. Marcel and the rest of the cast celebrate the latest hit, but Rose insists that she must return to the villa at Pau and to her husband George and their 12-year-old daughter, Jenny. Marcel praises her, calling her the perfect leading lady, before reintroducing her to the 32-year-old Alex. Rose is delighted and insists that he come with her to Pau. At the villa at Pau, Jenny is excited by the prospect of her mother's return. George says that he would trade all the other pleasures of the world for his little girl. George is happy to see Alex, returning with Rose, and Jenny, who has heard much about him, meets him for the first time. Rose and George insist that Alex should stay with them. Meanwhile, in Venice, George's former mistress, Giulietta, ponders the meaning of stable, long-lasting love versus romantic infatuation.

Two years later, Alex suggests that Jenny needs a Paris education, which upsets Rose, who suspects that her daughter has developed an unhealthy crush on Alex. That evening at dinner, Jenny appears wearing the gown of George's first wife, and George happily dances with his daughter. Jenny tries to draw Alex into the dance, but Alex politely refuses. Later, Jenny and Alex are left alone, and Jenny finally convinces Alex to give her the last dance. Rose catches Jenny clasping Alex in a very adult fashion, and Alex leaves. Jenny tells her mother that Alex is the first to make her feel like a woman. Rose confronts Alex, who admits to having feelings for Jenny, but insists that he would never harm her. Later, Jenny tells Alex that she loves him. She begs him to be honest, then kisses him on the mouth.

George plans his wake, insisting that there should be dancing and fun. Rose tells him that he's bound to outlive them all. At a circus in Paris, George, Rose, Alex, and Jenny are celebrating Jenny's fifteenth birthday. George becomes agitated as he watches Jenny talking with Alex. Later, Alex puts Jenny to bed. Jenny tries to convince him that she's really in love with him, but Alex insists that they're just cousins. Jenny falls asleep, and Alex reflects that he knows he must not love her, but cannot help loving her. George overhears Alex and is enraged, suspecting the worst. However, he collapses before he can burst in on them, and Alex comes out of Jenny's room to find him dead on the floor.

At George's wake, Giulietta gives a eulogy celebrating George's unconventionality and his belief in living life to the fullest. Giulietta and Alex join in the dancing. The two are immediately attracted to each other as they wander away from the party. Jenny spies on them, while Marcel tries to comfort the grieving Rose. Giulietta and Alex awaken in a hayloft, and Alex wonders how to end his relationship kindly with Jenny. Later, Alex tries to explain to Jenny that their relationship was unnatural. She reminds him that he was only seventeen when he met Rose, and that she is no younger than Shakespeare's Juliet. Rose bids Alex farewell, but then she breaks down and begs Alex not to leave her. Alex, unsure of how to reply, leaves.

At the train station at Pau, as Alex and Giulietta wait for the train, Giulietta wonders what will happen in a few years, when Jenny becomes a woman. Alex, unable to reply, reflects once more on how love changes everything.

Song list[edit]

Note: most of the musical is sung, however not all the parts that are sung are titled songs some are simply sung-through scenes with minor amounts of dialogue.

Recording[edit]

The two-disc original cast recording of the London production preserved the bulk of the score with some edits made for reasons of length. A 2005 remastered edition restored all the material cut from the original release.

When the musical opened, the song "The First Man You Remember" was often performed on TV, the impression being that it was between a couple of romantic lovers. However, in the show itself it is actually a father and daughter duet between George and Jenny. It was sung by Michael Ball and Diana Morrison in the CD single version.

The first single released from the musical was "Love Changes Everything", also sung by Ball. It was a success, peaking at #2 and staying in the UK singles chart for 14 weeks, and has since become his signature song.[10]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Original Broadway production[edit]

Year Award Ceremony Category Nominee Result
1990 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Musical Nominated
Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical Danielle DuClos Nominated
Outstanding Orchestrations David Cullen and Andrew Lloyd Webber Nominated
Outstanding Music Andrew Lloyd Webber Nominated
Outstanding Lighting Design Andrew Bridge Nominated
Theatre World Award Kathleen Rowe McAllen Won
Tony Award Best Musical Nominated
Best Book of a Musical David Garnett Nominated
Best Original Score Andrew Lloyd Webber Nominated
Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical Kevin Colson Nominated
Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical Kathleen Rowe McAllen Nominated
Best Direction of a Musical Trevor Nunn Nominated

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ 'Aspects of Love' background andrewlloydwebber.com, retrieved 16 January 2010
  2. ^ Citron, Stephen. Sondheim and Lloyd-Webber: The New Musical. Oxford University Press, 2001. p. 355.
  3. ^ Roger Moore
  4. ^ Rich, Frank.ReviewThe New York Times, April 9, 1990
  5. ^ Bernstein, Richard."'Aspects,' the Musical That Had Everything, And Lost Everything",The New York Times", March 7, 1991
  6. ^ Lathan, Peter."Review"'Aspects of Love' britishtheatreguide.info, 2007, retrieved 16 January 2010
  7. ^ South Africa listing reallyuseful.com, January 28, 2009
  8. ^ Bosanquet, Theo.Nunn Revives Aspects of Love at Menier, 15 Jul whatsonstage.com, 18 February 2010
  9. ^ Dutch Production
  10. ^ "Michael Ball | Artist". Official Charts. Retrieved 2012-01-09. 

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Andrew Lloyd Webber – Snelson, John (2004), Yale University Press, New Haven CT. ISBN 0-300-10459-6
  • Andrew Lloyd Webber: His Life and Works – Walsh, Michael (1989, revised and expanded, 1997), Abrams: New York

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Cuts Both Ways by Gloria Estefan
UK number one album
September 16, 1989 – September 22, 1989
Succeeded by
We Too Are One by Eurythmics