A few years ago, producer Katy Lipson discovered an album on Spotify and found herself listening to it over and over again. The album ‘It’s Only Life’ is a musical revue featuring the songs of John Bucchino and his songs have been performed by Judy Collins, Patti LuPone, Audra MacDonald, Liza Minnelli and more.
Bringing that album to the stage in a beautiful theatrical production. I spoke to Noel Sullivan, who is performing in Katy Lipson’s show at The Union Theatre.
The production is a song cycle, so a series of musical theatre songs that tell their own individual stories. “Instead of having five singers at microphones performing concert style, we have dramatised each song and added choreography,” he said. “We explore the themes of love and relationships and offer the audience a unique perspective on the topics of each song.”
Playing numerous roles in each song, Noel takes on a series of emotions in his musical numbers. “They aren’t characters as such, we are reacting to the different situations the songs put us in,” he said. “In one song I am moving into a new flat with my partner as we both question if it is the right step to take, and in another, I’m a husband in a loveless marriage.”
It’s a production that will have moments that resonate with everyone, Noel explained how the rehearsal process has thrown huge emotion at all of them. “It really depends on the song you are singing and the story you have to tell. The thing with this show is that it catches you off guard when you find yourself connecting with a particular emotion. It has been a really collaborative process. All the cast throw personal experiences into the pot, which we have adapted to suit our director’s ideas.”
According to the New York Times, Bucchino’s ‘flowing, finely made piano ballads describe an urban life in which relationships come and go in cycles of yearning, fulfilment, heartbreak and healing’ – where romantic love is anticipated with ‘high expectations, high anxiety and open hearts.’ Noel explained: “As a composer, Bucchino has an amazing ability to tell intricate stories in great detail. The melodies are stunning and It’s a real gift to be able to share his wonderful music.”
Noel expressed his excitement to open the show and form that connection with the audience. “If you have felt love or loss of any kind then there will definitely be moments that will touch you,” he said. “Also, I think it’s rare in theatre nowadays to experience five voices and piano in such an intimate setting. I want people to leave the show feeling that they’re not alone and to not sweat the small stuff. It’s only life after all.”
It’s Only Life is on at The Union Theatre in London until the 7th of July, tickets and information can be found here.
Photo Credit – Pamela Raith