Aspects of Love
|Aspects of Love|
|Music||Andrew Lloyd Webber|
|Book||Andrew Lloyd Webber|
|Basis||Aspects of Love 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. The musical features the song "Love Changes Everything".
The West End production, directed by Trevor Nunn and choreographed by Gillian Lynne, musical direction by Michael Reed, 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 Giulietta Trapani, Diana Morrison as Jenny Dillingham and Sally Smith as The Chanteuse. Sarah Brightman, Barrie Ingham, Susannah Fellows, Becky Norman and Michael Praed were among the replacements later in the run. Roger Moore was due to star as George in the production but left two weeks before opening night. He later stated in an interview he was unable to cope with the technical side of singing in Aspects of Love, and the production required someone with experience of orchestras. Following his departure, understudy Kevin Colson took over the role.
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 lacklustre and New York Times critic Frank Rich wrote in a negative review "Whether Aspects of Love is a musical for people is another matter." 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."
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.
In 1993, R.U.G and Apollo Leisure breathed life into a new production directed by Gail Edwards and choreographed by Jo Anne Robinson. The show opened at the Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham, toured the UK and then headed into the West End and re-opened at the shows original venue, The Prince of Wales theatre, London. There were many differences from the original, especially in the stage design, which used a revolve and beautiful butterfly gauzes to help the flow from scene to scene. Kathryn Evans played Rose, Alexander Hanson played Alex, Gary Bond played George, Lottie Mayor played Jenny and Karen Skinns played Giulieta. The cast also included Paul Bentley, Helen Viner-Slater, Alisdair Harvey, Nicola Dawn, Martin Callaghan, Russell Wilcox, Heather Davies, Nathan Harmer, Leslie Meadows, Gail-Marie Shapter, Myles Faraday, Kate Marsden, Natalie Holton, Angela Lloyd and Peter King.
A new UK tour began on 31 August 2007, the first production in 15 years. It starred David Essex as George Dillingham, along with Matt Rawle, Shona Lindsay, and Poppy Tierney. The production was directed by Nikolai Foster, with musical direction by Andrew J.Smith. It opened at the Theatre Royal, Newcastle upon Tyne, and toured for 36 weeks through 8 December 2007. Rawle was later replaced by Tim Rogers.
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.
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 Giulietta, Katherine Kingsley as Rose, and Michael Arden as Alex.
The new Definitive script was staged at The Playhouse, Whitley Bay from 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 pulled together various aspects of productions and tours over the years and created the show as he wishes to see it staged.
In July 2018, a new revival opened at the Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester.
At a train station in Pau, France in 1964, 34-year-old Alex Dillingham reflects on his love life over the past 17 years ("Love Changes Everything"). A woman (Giulietta Trapani) replies to him that "it's all in the past."
Flashing to 1947, Rose Vibert, a 20-year-old actress, complains that their production of The Master Builder is a flop. The producer, Marcel, tries to placate Rose by introducing her to a fan, 17-year-old Alex ("A Small Theatre in Montpellier"). Alex and Rose have a brief tryst at his uncle George's villa in Pau ("Seeing is Believing", "The House in Pau"). George Dillingham, in Paris with his mistress, Giulietta Trapani, an Italian sculptor, returns to his villa to see for himself what Alex and Rose are doing ("An Art Exhibition in Paris", "A Memory of a Happy Moment"). Rose is attracted to George, who is overcome when he sees Rose dressed in a gown belonging to his beloved late wife, Delia, also an actress, and remarks how much Rose resembles Delia ("In Many Rooms in the House at Pau").
He advises Alex that all good things have to end, and that his interlude with Rose will be a memory. Alex insists that his relationship with Rose is real love ("On the Terrace"). George leaves, and Rose leaves to rejoin Marcel. Alex realizes that Rose had never taken him seriously ("At the House at Pau").
Two years later, Alex, now a soldier, visits his uncle in Paris, and 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 ("George's Flat in Paris").
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 ("First Orchestral Interlude"). After George arrives, he and Alex each try to convince the other that the other is the right man for Rose. George wins the debate, insisting that Alex should begin a new life with Rose, and Alex finally agrees ("She'd Be Far Better Off With You"). 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, 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 ("Stop. Wait. Please").
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 ("A Registry Office").
At "A Military Camp in Malaya", Alex receives a letter from Rose telling him that she married George, and they are expecting a child.
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 (A Month in the Country) ("Leading Lady"), 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 reintroduces her to the 32-year-old Alex ("At the Stage Door"). Rose is delighted and insists that he come with her to Pau. At the villa, Jenny is excited by the prospect of her mother's return. 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 ("Other Pleasures"). Meanwhile, in Venice, George's former mistress, Giulietta, ponders the meaning of stable, long-lasting love versus romantic infatuation ("There Is More to Love").
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 ("The Garden at Pau (Version 2)"). That evening Jenny appears wearing Delia's gown, much as Rose did ("On the Terrace (Version 2)"); George happily dances with his daughter. Jenny tries to draw Alex into the dance, but Alex politely refuses ("The First Man You Remember"). 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 ("The Vineyard at Pau"). Later, Jenny tells Alex that she loves him. She begs him to be honest, then kisses him ("Up in the Pyrenees").
George plans his wake, insisting that there should be dancing and fun. Rose tells him that he's bound to outlive them all ("George's Study at Pau"). At a circus in Paris, George, Rose, Alex, and Jenny are celebrating Jenny's fifteenth birthday ("Journey of a Lifetime"). George becomes agitated as he watches Jenny talking with Alex ("Falling"). 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. He collapses, and Alex comes out of Jenny's room to find him dead ("Jenny's Bedroom").
At George's wake, Giulietta gives a eulogy celebrating George's unconventionality and his belief in living life to the fullest ("Hand Me the Wine and Dice"). Giulietta and Alex join in the dancing and are attracted to each other, eventually trysting in a hayloft. Jenny spies on them, while Marcel tries to comfort the grieving Rose. Alex, alone with Giulietta, wonders how to end his relationship kindly with Jenny. He returns to the villa for one last confrontation. 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 ("On the Terrace (Version 3)").
Rose bids Alex farewell, but then breaks down and begs Alex not to leave her. Alex, unsure of how to reply, leaves ("Anything But Lonely"). At the train station at Pau, as Alex and Giulietta wait for the train, Giulietta wonders what will happen when Jenny reaches legal majority in three years. Alex, unable to reply, reflects once more on how love changes everything ("It Won't be Long till Jenny's a Woman").
Note: Although most of the musical is sung, not all the parts that are sung are titled songs; some are simply sung-through scenes with minor amounts of dialogue.
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 15 weeks, and has since become his signature song.
Awards and nominations
Original Broadway production
|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||Andrew Lloyd Webber||Nominated|
|Best Original Score||Andrew Lloyd Webber, Don Black and Charles Hart||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|
- 'Aspects of Love' background andrewlloydwebber.com, retrieved 16 January 2010
- Roger Moore
- Rich, Frank.ReviewThe New York Times, April 9, 1990
- Bernstein, Richard."'Aspects,' the Musical That Had Everything, And Lost Everything",The New York Times", March 7, 1991
- Lathan, Peter."Review"'Aspects of Love' britishtheatreguide.info, 2007, retrieved 16 January 2010
- South Africa listing Archived February 2, 2009, at the Wayback Machine reallyuseful.com, January 28, 2009
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- "Dutch Production". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2013-01-06.
- Theatre review: Aspects of Love britishtheatreguide.info, 2018, retrieved 12 February 2019
- Aspects of Love Southwark Playhouse, 2019, retrieved 12 February 2019
- "Michael Ball | Artist". Official Charts. Retrieved 2012-01-09.
- 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