Sarah Porter- Cute, Cuddly And Looking For Love In “Tell Me On A Sunday” At New Line

tell-hat

Photo: Jill Ritter Lindberg

A true super girl, Sarah Porter has been featured in a host of New Line shows and costumed just as many or more. Now she steps to the forefront as Emma in a song cycle by Andrew Lloyd Webber, “Tell Me On A Sunday,” which is part of his “Song And Dance” experimental musical originally starring Bernadette Peters on Broadway. Sarah nails it, kills it and every other theatrical cliche you can think of with a stellar breakout performance.

tell-balcony

Photo: Jill Ritter Lindberg

Always a stand out in any show she’s done, she just jumps out at you on stage in both bizarre and demanding roles but usually as part of a larger cast. I really loved her zany antics in “Rent” a few years back. But now she gets to stand alone and bring joy, tears, heartbreak and resiliency  to a role that brings over twenty songs in just over an hour as a young British girl tries to find love in America. From New York and a brief stint in Hollywood, we root for Emma as she follows her instincts from one man to another in her search for true love. Unfortunately, her instincts aren’t holding up too well and, as she tells us through her correspondence to her mum in England, she kisses a lot of frogs but can’t seem to find her prince.

Of course the signature song in “Tell Me On A Sunday” is “Unexpected Song” but the score is filled with a delightful compendia of great Andrew Lloyd Webber music with lyrics supplied by both Don Black and Richard Maltby, Jr. “Take That Look Off Your Face” becomes an anthem for Emma and has, in real life, become an oft featured background tune for Lord Webber himself in his appearances. “Come Back With That Same Look In Your Eyes” is a plaintiff plea for a love affair that she knows will end soon and the title song is another plea- this time for breaking the news of a break up as gently as possible. “It’s Not The End Of The World” becomes a recurring theme as well as Emma’s spirit convinces her there’s always new hope around the corner.

tell-couchcurl

Photo: Jill Ritter Lindberg

This is an excellent one-act musical that really showcases a performer. Sarah Porter not only sings the role with perfection, her acting is superb and she maintains that British accent throughout in a show that’s completely sung. Facial expressions, body language and the range of disappointment, hope and joy in her voice make for a character and a show that you can’t help but fall in love with. What a stunning performance.

For the first time in New Line history, the show has not been directed by Scott Miller. His long time associate director and co-director in many productions, Mike Dowdy-Windsor has taken the reins and created a most likable and lovely show. He has guided Porter through the wonderful world of Emma with heart and soul.

tell-desk

Photo: Jill Ritter Lindberg

The lovely set and lights are provided by Rob Lippert. He has once again brought a workable and inspired design to the show- as he has for New Line and other companies around town. The New York skyline complete with a full moon dominate and he’s even managed to make the short California scene memorable with a classic piece of furniture and even convincing us Emma is dipping her toes into a Hollywood swimming pool.

Sarah Porter has once again double-dipped as performer and designer of her own costumes. She runs the gamut from trendy to super casual, lingerie and into sophistication. And a special note to her dialect coach, Laurie McConnell. She obviously taught her well and saw to it that she maintained the accent throughout.

Let’s face it, New Line surprised us with a Frank Wildhorn show recently and now, despite the obvious appeal of “Evita” and “Jesus Christ Superstar” (both shows they’ve done in the past), they have dipped into the Andrew Lloyd Webber collection to pull out this gem. But when you’ve got Sarah Porter lurking in all of those other featured roles, you’ve got the right lady at the right time and it’s the right time to showcase her talents.

tell-finale

Photo: Jill Ritter Lindberg

There aren’t as many performances as usual with this one-act musical, so plan on getting to New Line by August 27th to catch this talented and lovely lady, Sarah Porter as Emma in “Tell Me On A Sunday.” Tickets available at MetroTix, 314-534-1111 and go online at newlinetheatre.com for more information.

 

 

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